Consumers in most states have little access to detailed information about physician quality, particularly when it comes to specialists, a report found.
Missouri state Rep. Paul Wieland (R) filed a lawsuit against the federal government on Wednesday seeking an exemption from contraception coverage in his state insurance plan.
Wieland, a Catholic, asked the federal court to declare that the contraception mandate in President Obama’s healthcare overhaul violates his family’s First Amendment right to freedom of religion.
Wieland and his family qualify for the state health plan through his service in the state House. The legislator, who recently announced his candidacy for Missouri Senate, had been able to opt out of contraception coverage in previous years. He was notified last month that his state plan now includes the mandatory coverage.
The vast majority of Massachusetts residents are satisfied with their healthcare under the state's 2006 reform law, though costs and appointment wait times remain an issue, according to a new poll.
Eighty-four percent expressed satisfaction with their healthcare, citing the quality of the care or "good access," according to the Massachusetts Medical Society, a statewide physician group that conducted the poll.
Another three in four said accessing the healthcare they need is not difficult, though the share of patients who had to wait a month or more to see a primary care doctor was up 7 points since last year, to 28 percent.
Massachusetts is moving ahead with plans to repeal its healthcare mandate on employers, even though the federal employer mandate has been delayed.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) said he will not veto a bill to repeal the state's employer mandate, according to a report in the Boston Globe.
The states' healthcare overhaul was the model for ObamaCare, and included a similar provision requiring certain employers to offer healthcare coverage to their workers.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) blasted the recent federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in California and touted her support for policies that would strengthen the rights of cannabis patients.
"I have strong concerns about the recent actions by the federal government that threaten the safe access of medicinal marijuana to alleviate the suffering of patients in California," she said in a statement earlier this week.
Pelosi joins other lawmakers in criticizing the recent crackdown,
including Reps. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who
called the recent government actions "bad politics and bad policy."
The efforts "undermine a policy that has been in place under which the federal government did not pursue individuals whose actions complied with state laws," Pelosi said.
Federal authorities have shut down more than 200 dispensaries in the Golden State — where the sale and consumption of marijuana is permitted in some cases — since President Obama took office in 2009, according to Americans for Safe Access, an advocacy group.
Officials sent warning letters to an additional 10 cannabis dispensaries in Santa Barbara County this week, calling them "illegal marijuana stores," according to reports.
Pelosi, who represents part of San Francisco, called the matter a "states' rights issue" and asked the federal government to respect the wishes of the people in the states who voted to legalize medicinal marijuana.
“I have long supported efforts in Congress to advocate federal policies that ... prevent the federal government from acting to harm the safe access of medicinal marijuana provided under state law," she said.
While campaigning for president in 2008, Obama advocated a more hands-off approach to the enforcement of federal laws concerning the drug.
"What I'm not going to be doing is using Justice Department resources to try and circumvent state laws on this issue simply because I want folks to be investigating violent crimes and potential terrorism," he said in an interview with the Marijuana Policy Project.
"We've got a lot of things for our law enforcement officers to deal with."
Faced with questions, Obama has since sought to clarify his administration's position on the issue, telling Rolling Stone earlier this month, "What I specifically said was that we were not going to prioritize prosecutions of persons who are using medical marijuana."
He added that he can't "nullify congressional law."
Medical marijuana is currently legal in 16 states.
Frank said Obama is making a “grave mistake” with federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries.
Pennsylvania is considering a referendum to let citizens ban laws forcing people to obtain health insurance in violation of the federal health law, Bloomberg reports.
Tea Party groups are lambasting House Republicans' federal medical malpractice bill, Talking Points Memo reports.
Romney couldn't escape birth control questions while campaigning in Illinois, CNN reports.
NPR talks to patients in Texas and Massachusetts — the two extremes when it comes to insurance coverage — about what it's like to need healthcare in those two states.
The Atlantic showcases 10 graphs that help visualize where Americans' health dollars are going.
They argue that Congress' attempt to reform medical malpractice damages infringes upon states' rights
Texas passed regulations barring "affiliates of abortion providers" from participating in the state's Medicaid program.
States vary widely in how effective they are at creating systems that help healthcare providers and insurers share health information such as insurance claims and medical data, according to a new study from two researchers at the Brookings Institution.
The report looked at five states — Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, Tennessee and California — that have created state-level health information exchanges. It found that Massachusetts and Indiana have been more successful "across a number of metrics."