Morning CheckUp: March 6, 2012

Medicaid waivers pave way for reform: “Millions and millions of dollars in Affordable Care Act grants aren’t the only way the Obama administration is helping states prepare for health care reform. Some states are also bringing in billions through Medicaid waivers.” [Politico]

Republicans and conservatives clash over ACA repeal: “Senate Republicans are clashing with conservative groups over whether to hold votes this year to repeal all of President Obama’s healthcare reform law. One group, the Restore America’s Voice Foundation, plans to spend $50,000 to $100,000 per week on television ads pressing Senate Republicans to force a vote on repeal.” [The Hill]

Docs with e-access order more tests: “Physicians who have computerized access to patients’ test results are actually more likely to order additional lab and imaging tests, according to a study published in Health Affairs. The study’s findings, which point to a 40% to 70% increase in testing among doctors with computerized access to test results, could shed doubt on long-held beliefs about health information technology’s potential to reduce healthcare spending and inefficiency, the authors said. [Modern Healthcare]

Republican governors raise concerns about Medicaid block grants: “Several Republican governors are raising concerns with a House GOP Medicaid reform proposal that’s expected to be reintroduced shortly….A couple of former Republican governors however told The Hill this past week that the block grant proposal may not work for their states. Block grants have an “inflammatory connotation,” said former Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas, who was in office from 2003 to 2011.” [The Hill]

Insurers must cover contraception in New York: “New York state on Monday warned health insurers they would lose state contracts if women on Medicaid are denied their choice of higher-cost, brand-name contraceptives unless cheaper, generic methods ‘fail first.'” [AP]

Ultrasound laws lead to higher costs: “The Associated Press reported on Friday that laws requiring women to undergo an ultrasound prior to having an abortion have not reduced the number of abortions, and have instead raised the price of the legal procedure. Florida was among the various states to pass such a measure last year.” [Florida Independent]

Utah house passes 72-hour waiting period: ” A longer waiting period could be required before a woman could have an abortion in Utah under a bill moving to the Senate. Republican Rep. Steve Eliason of Sandy says House Bill 461 would increase the required waiting period from 24 to 72 hours.” [The Republic]

Americans are paying more for health care: “Americans spend more than people in other countries on just about every medical procedure and doctor visit, according to a new report from the International Federation of Health Plans. The group’s survey of expenses for medical procedures, tests, scans and treatments in nine countries shows that Americans pay more for physician time, for scans, surgery and drugs than people in Spain, France, Germany, Argentina, Chile, Canada, India and Switzerland with one exception – cataract surgery costs more in Switzerland.” [National Journal]