Morning CheckUp: March 8, 2012

Women in Texas losing options for health care in abortion fight: “The cuts, which left many low-income women with inconvenient or costly options, grew out of the effort to eliminate state support for Planned Parenthood. Although the cuts also forced clinics that were not affiliated with the agency to close — and none of them, even the ones run by Planned Parenthood, performed abortions — supporters of the cutbacks said they were motivated by the fight against abortion.” [NYT]

Colorado to attempt another personhood push: “Abortion opponents have been cleared to gather petition signatures to put a third measure to ban abortions on statewide ballots. The Colorado Supreme Court did not accept a legal challenge from Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. Planned Parenthood wanted the court to block a sweeping measure from Personhood Colorado to outlaw abortions, even in cases of rape and incest.” [AP]

Oklahoma is also pursuing the measure: “The Oklahoma chapter of Personhood USA formally launched a ballot initiative campaign last week, intending to secure signatures needed to put a state constitutional amendment on the November ballot. After a Capitol press conference held, activists filed the text of their initiative petition with the secretary of state’s office.” [Tulsa World]

Final rule on exchanges to be issued soon: “Top Department of Health and Human Services officials hinted Tuesday that a final rule laying out the structure for state health insurance exchanges is about to be unveiled. In addition, Steve Larsen of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services stressed that federal officials are deep into their work setting up a federal exchange that would serve as a fallback for states that refuse to establish state exchanges or can’t get them up and running by January 2014.” [CQ Healthbeat]

Slower growth in Medicare spending: “For many years, policymakers have appropriately singled out federal spending on health care — especially Medicare — as the most serious long-term threat to the nation’s fiscal health. Over the past four decades, the average growth in Medicare spending per enrollee has exceeded the growth in per capita gross domestic product by 2.6 percentage points per year….But there are indications that Medicare spending growth has slowed.” [NEJM]

GOP pushes varying Medicaid reforms: “While politicians and soon, the Supreme Court, are fighting about the fate of the Affordable Care Act, a new government study finds that a growing number of Americans are having difficulty coping with the high cost of health care.” [The Hill]