Health Highlights: Oct. 26, 2012

Medicaid Spending Slows: Survey Planned Parenthood Loses Legal Fight Against Texas

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Medicaid Spending Slows: Survey

Yearly growth in Medicaid spending slowed sharply last year and enrollment in the program increased only slightly as the U.S. economy began to recover, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey.

It found that for the fiscal year ending in June, total spending on Medicaid rose by only 2 percent, compared with a nearly 10 percent increase in 2011. Enrollment growth was 3.2 percent, compared with 4.4 percent in 2011 and 7.2 percent in 2010, The New York Times reported.

Along with an improving economy, cost-cutting by states also played a role in reducing spending on Medicaid and enrollment in the program, which provides health and long-term care coverage to more than 60 million poor people and costs the federal government and states more than $400 billion a year.

Last year, 45 states cut or froze reimbursement rates for hospitals and doctors and 18 states scaled back benefits such as dental, vision and drug coverage. Many states also expanded the use of managed care for Medicaid patients, The Times reported.


Planned Parenthood Loses Legal Fight Against Texas

A federal appeals court ruling Thursday has halted Planned Parenthood's efforts to fight a Texas law that bans state funding of the organization's affiliates.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to grant Planned Parenthood another hearing in its months-long legal challenge against the state, CNN reported.

Texas opposes government funding for Planned Parenthood clinics because the group provides abortions. In March, the state said it was willing to give up federal funding in order to run the Texas women's Health Program itself.

Under a new rule, the state requires clinics funded by the program to certify they do not perform abortions or are not affiliates of organizations that perform abortions, CNN reported.

Planned Parenthood had won an injunction against the law, but a federal court later ruled in favor of Texas.


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