Morning CheckUp: February 21, 2012

Court action could prolong health care fight: “Next month’s challenge to the Obama-sponsored health care law could affect the care available to most Americans, alter the balance of power between Washington and the states and remain a flash point through this presidential campaign. Yet there is a path the Supreme Court could take when it hears the case that could delay for years any resolution of a main point of contention.” [USA Today]

Insurance coverage might stir beneficiaries towards costlier contraception: “In the heated debate over to what extent religiously affiliated employers should be required to provide free contraception for workers, no one has talked much about what methods are available to women who want to prevent pregnancy and how their choices might change if cost were removed from the equation.” [Kaiser Health News]

Catholic hospitals expand: “As Roman Catholic leaders and government officials clash over the proper role of religion and reproductive health, shifts in health care economics are magnifying the tension. Financially stronger Catholic-sponsored medical centers are increasingly joining with smaller secular hospitals, in some cases limiting access to treatments like contraception, abortion and sterilization.” [NYT]

12 AGs back Medicaid increase: “Twelve state attorneys general have filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of the constitutionality of the health reform law to significantly enlarge the Medicaid program and urged the high court to support the landmark Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).” [Government Health IT]

Quinn to call for major Medicaid cuts: “Gov. Pat Quinn plans to call for major Medicaid cuts during his annual budget address Wednesday and issue a warning that immediate changes must be made or the state’s health care system for the poor could collapse…. Aides say Quinn will suggest trimming projected Medicaid spending by $2.7 billion in the budget year that starts July 1.” [Chicago Tribune]

Virginia women stand up to anti-abortion bills: “Hundreds of women locked arms and stood mute outside the Virginia State Capitol on Monday to protest a wave of anti-abortion legislation coursing through the General Assembly. Capitol and state police officers, there to ensure order, estimated the crowd to be more than 1,000 people — mostly women. The crowd formed a human cordon through which legislators walked before Monday’s floor sessions of the Republican-controlled legislature.” [AP]

Abortion coverage bill advances in Washington: “Lawmakers are moving forward with a bill that would link requiring abortion coverage to maternity care. The measure was approved Monday by the Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee.” [Seattle Times]

British minister heckled over health care privatization: “Britain’s health minister was angrily heckled Monday over health care reforms that the government says will improve efficiency but opponents claim threaten the foundation of the country’s state-funded health care service. Protesters jostled Health Secretary Andrew Lansley as he arrived for the 10 Downing Street meeting on the reforms. Demonstrator June Hautot, 75, accused Lansley of trying to privatize the National Health Service.” [AP]