Morning CheckUp: September 1, 2011

Kansas will restore Planned Parenthood funds: Kansas officials announced yesterday that they will immediately comply with the order of U.S. District Judge Thomas Marten to restore Planned Parenthood’s funding while their legal case to strip the organization of much of its funding is appealed in court. [AP]

Florida shutting “pill mill” clinics: Florida officials have taken aggressive action against “pill mills” that illegally sell and distribute prescription drugs throughout the country. In the past year 400 clinics were closed, dozens of pill mill operators have been indicted by prosecutors, and 80 doctors have had their licenses suspended. Florida has long been the nation’s center of illegal prescription drug sales. [New York Times]

California bill to regulate health insurance rates is shelved: Insurers and hospitals effectively killed a bill that would have allowed California officials to regulate health insurance rates for millions of consumers. The months-long fight to assert greater control over increasing health insurance premiums was defeated “after [a] forceful lobbying campaign” compelled Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D) to pull his bill. [Los Angeles Times]

FTC: consumers benefit from name-brand, generic competition: Yesterday the Federal Trade Commission released its final report on “authorized generics,” or generic drugs sold by the brand-name manufacturer during their six-month grace period without patent challenges from other generics. The FTC concluded that despite complaints from generic companies, consumers ultimately benefit from the competition, which lowers prices for the two competing drugs and for future generics. [Healthwatch]

Texas nursing homes brace for sicker patients, higher costs: Nursing home providers in Texas are preparing for more acute patients and rising medical costs as they receive less support at the state and federal level. The last state budget imposed a $20.4 million cut in general revenue for nursing homes, and they will likely be hit again in October with an over 10 percent — or $233.8 million — reduction in funding from the federal government. [Texas Tribune]

HHS awards $40 million for public health workforce: On Wednesday the Department of Health and Human Services awarded $40 million in grants to health departments and schools of public health to help train and educate public health workers. Most of the money came from a provision in President Obama’s health care reform law that Republicans derided as a “slush fund.” [Healthwatch]

Group trying to add abortion, contraception ban to Ohio constitution: A radical anti-abortion group, Personhood Ohio, is collecting signatures in an effort to amend the state’s constitution to redefine life as beginning at the moment of fertilization. The group hopes to put the issue on the ballot in 2012, which would ban abortion completely and effectively outlaw many common forms of contraception. [AP]