Morning CheckUp: February 7, 2012

House panel to go after abortion rights: “Abortion politics will remain front and center on Capitol Hill this week as the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday marks up legislation that would prohibit abortions based on sex and race. Republicans will argue that “abortion is the leading cause of death in the black community” to defend the bill from Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), according to a memo obtained by Mother Jones.” [The Hill]

Dems concerned about essential health benefits rule: “A small group of House Democrats expressed concern about HHS allowing states to determine the definition of essential health benefit packages…The lawmakers contend that when they wrote the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the essential health benefits package was intended as a federal decision, and that one of the primary goals of the healthcare reform law was to create a consistent and comprehensive level of coverage for Americans nationwide.” [Modern Healthcare]

Obama might compromise on contraception rule: “White House spokesman Jay Carney today hinted that the Obama administration might compromise on its Jan. 20 directive requiring religious groups to comply with federal sex-related health insurance mandates….We will continue to have discussions about ways that the implementation can be done that might address some of these [constitutional and religious] concerns,” Carney said when questioned by several skeptical journalists, including Eleanor Clift, a liberal columnist. [Daily Caller]

Administration blocks California’s Medicaid reform: ” The Obama administration blocked an effort by California to charge Medicaid patients for emergency room visits and hospital stays and allow health-care providers to turn away those who couldn’t pay.” [Business Week]

Violence as a health problem: “The current paradigm in city after city in the United States is we wait for spikes to happen of disease – be it murder rates, or assault rates – and retroactively throw more resources at it,” Dr. Selwyn O. Rogers Jr. of Harvard Medical School explains. “But we don’t treat it as disease where we will constantly provide resources to address poverty, hopelessness, lack of educational attainment to prevent these outbreaks of violence. I think fundamentally that that is a glaring weakness of our public policy.” [Boston Globe]

Kansan abortion bill would impose sweeping restrictions: “Kansas lawmakers have been given six days to consider one of the most sweeping state anti-abortion bills to be introduced. A Kansas House committee is scheduled to take up a bill Wednesday that would exempt doctors from malpractice suits if they withheld medical information to prevent an abortion.” [Huffington Post]