Morning CheckUp: February 22, 2012

Romney to broaden Medicare reform plan on Friday: “Mitt Romney, facing a tough fight before Michigan’s Feb. 28 primary, said he’ll further outline his plan to lower taxes, reduce spending and protect Medicare and Social Security in Detroit this week. Speaking before more than 400 people at a snowy campaign stop in Shelby Township, Romney said he’ll offer more specifics on his vision in the coming days, including at his scheduled address to the Detroit Economic Club at Ford Field Friday.” [Detroit News]

Administration releases co-op loans: “Seven organizations will receive a total of $639 million in federal low-interest loans to launch new, consumer-governed health insurance plans in eight states, the federal government announced Tuesday.” [Kaiser Health News]

Feds ease drug shortage: “Federal regulators said Tuesday that they’ve approved new suppliers for two crucial cancer drugs, easing critical shortages — at least for the time being — that have left patients and parents frightened about missing life-saving treatments. The news brings a light at the end of the tunnel for some patients, but not for thousands of others, given that there are currently 283 separate drugs in short supply or totally unavailable in this country.” [AP]

Democrats to hold their own birth control hearing: “Democrats will hold their own hearing this week on contraception, with only one witness — the woman who wasn’t allowed to testify before the House Oversight committee last week. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced the event, her party’s latest effort to capitalize on the controversy surrounding last week’s hearing. Images of its all-male witness panel spread quickly online, helping Democrats frame the issue on their terms.” [The Hill]

Illinois advances anti-abortion measure: ” Illinois women who want to get abortions might be required to either view an ultrasound before the procedure or decline to do so in writing, under proposals that passed an Illinois House committee Tuesday. The two measures call for more regulations on centers that perform abortions — including requiring doctors to ask if the patient wants to see an ultrasound and additional building regulations on the actual clinics — were passed overwhelmingly in the Agricultural Committee.” [AP]

New Hampshire bill allows providers to object: “The House Judiciary Committee is backing legislation that would let New Hampshire health care providers refuse to provide certain services if they have religious, moral, ethical or philosophical objections to them.” [AP]

Virginia delays ultrasound vote: “Lawmakers in Virginia put off a final vote Tuesday on a highly contested bill that would require women in the eastern US state to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound prior to an abortion….But a day after 1,000 protesters descended on the state capitol in Richmond, the House of Delegates held off on third and final reading of the legislation, leaving open the possibility it might yet be amended or dropped altogether.” [AFP]