Wednesday, November 9, 2022 | Kaiser Health News

Linda Rider

Abortion Rights Supported By Midterm Voters In 5 States

On Election Day, residents in California, Michigan, and Vermont approved ballot measures protecting abortion rights. And voters in Montana and Kentucky turned away initiatives that would have restricted access.

The Hill:
Voters Support Abortion Rights In All Five States With Ballot Measures

Voters in California, Vermont and Michigan on Tuesday approved ballot measures enshrining abortion rights into their state constitutions, while those in traditional red states Montana and Kentucky rejected measures that would have restricted access to reproductive care. The votes signal strength to effort to support abortion rights after the Supreme Court in June ruled to overturn the landmark 1973 case Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to the procedure. (Dress, 11/9)

More on the results from Vermont, California, and Michigan —

Vermont Becomes The 1st State To Enshrine Abortion Rights In Its Constitution

Vermont’s founding document will now be appended with a 22nd article, which will read in full: “That an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course and shall not be denied or infringed unless justified by a compelling State interest achieved by the least restrictive means.” (Duffort, 11/8)

Detroit Free Press:
Proposal 3: Michigan Voters Approve Abortion Rights Measure

“Today, the people of Michigan voted to restore the reproductive rights they’ve had for 50 years,” said Darci McConnell, communication director for Reproductive Freedom for All, the group behind Proposal 3. “Proposal 3’s passage marks an historic victory for abortion access in our state and in our country — and Michigan has paved the way for future efforts to restore the rights and protections of Roe v. Wade nationwide.” (Hendrickson, 11/9)

Anti-abortion measures in Kentucky and Montana appear headed for a loss —

The New York Times:
Live Results: Montana Born-Alive Infants Regulation 

The measure would enact a law making any infant “born alive” at any gestational age a legal person, a protection that already exists under a federal law passed 20 years ago. It would criminalize health care providers who do not make every effort to save the life of an infant “born during an attempted abortion” or after labor or C-section. Doctors say they are concerned that the law will limit palliative care for infants who are born but will not survive. (11/9)

South Dakota Votes To Expand Medicaid Cover

Forbes says a “wide margin” of South Dakotans voted to approve a ballot measure to extend Medicaid cover to over 40,000 low-income adults. Vox notes that this is now the seventh time in a row nationwide in which voters have approved such a measure.

Medicaid Expansion Wins In Red State South Dakota

Voters in Republican-leaning South Dakota Tuesday approved a ballot measure to extend Medicaid benefits to more than 40,000 low-income adults. The vote by a wide margin of South Dakotans to expand Medicaid health insurance for low-income Americans under the Affordable Care Act is a political blow to Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, who opposed the ballot initiative. It’s also a setback for Republicans generally given their past unsuccessful efforts with Donald Trump to try to repeal the health law, also known as Obamacare. The Medicaid expansion measure known in South Dakota as “Constitutional Amendment D” had 56% support compared to 44% opposed with 90% of precincts reporting by early Wednesday morning, state election data showed. (Japsen, 11/9)

South Dakota Voters Decide To Extend Medicaid Coverage To 45,000 People

Six times before this Election Day, voters in a state had weighed in directly on whether to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and make more low-income adults eligible for free public health coverage. Six times, the ballot measure had passed. That undefeated streak has now reached seven wins with the passage of South Dakota Constitutional Amendment D on Tuesday, according to the election results from the South Dakota secretary of state’s office. (Scott, 11/9)

South Dakota Votes To Expand Medicaid 

“We are thrilled by this victory, which took years of work, coalition building, and organizing to achieve,” said Kelly Hall, executive director of the Fairness Project, which helped pass the ballot measure. “Citizens took matters into their own hands to pass Medicaid expansion via ballot measure — showing us once again that if politicians won’t do their job, their constituents will step up and do it for them.” (Messerly, 11/9)

Californians Defeat Dialysis Clinic Proposition, Ban Flavored Tobacco

California voted “no” on Proposition 29, which would have required more doctor staffing at dialysis clinics. Voters said “yes,” though, to Proposition 31, a measure that bans most flavored tobacco products in the most populous state.

Californians Reject Measure To Alter Dialysis Clinic Rules

For the third time in three straight elections, California voters rejected a ballot measure that would have mandated major changes to the operations of dialysis clinics that provide life-saving care to 80,000 people with kidney failure. Proposition 29 failed after nearly 70% of Californians voted “no” in returns late Tuesday. The measure would have required a doctor, nurse practitioner or physicians’ assistant to be present during treatment at the state’s 600 outpatient dialysis facilities. (Weber, 11/9)

Los Angeles Times:
California Votes No On Prop. 29 For Dialysis Clinics Changes

Proposition 29 would have required dialysis clinics to have a doctor, nurse practitioner or physician assistant present while patients are receiving care at any of the state’s 600 dialysis centers. Clinics also would have been required to disclose if a physician had ownership interest in a facility and to report patient infection data. (Evans, 11/8)

On flavored tobacco —

California Bans Flavored Tobacco Products, Including Vapes

On Tuesday, Californians overwhelmingly voted to ban all flavored tobacco products in the state. The move makes California by far the largest state to ban such products, which are already illegal in a smattering of smaller states, including Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. (Florko, 11/9)

Gov. Gavin Newsom wins reelection —

California’s Newsom Wins 2nd Term, Is White House Run Next?

Democrat Gavin Newsom easily won a second term as California’s governor on Tuesday, beating a little-known Republican state senator by mostly ignoring him while campaigning against the policies of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, two leading Republicans who also won reelection and like Newsom may run for president. … Speaking to supporters in Sacramento with his wife and four children by his side, Newsom again drew contrasts between himself and DeSantis and Abbot, saying he is “resolved to do more to advance that cause of freedom.” “We have governors that won their reelections tonight in other states that are banning books, that are banning speech, that are banning abortion, and here we are in California moving in a completely different direction,” Newsom said. “That’s a deep point of pride.” (Beam, 11/9)

Voters Have Their Say On Medical Debt, Pot, Mushrooms, Human Rights, More

In Arizona, voters overwhelmingly voted to decrease interest rates on medical debt. In Massachusetts, dental costs were front and center. In Pennsylvania, former heart surgeon and TV celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz, a Republican, lost his bid for governor.
Arizona Prop 209 To Decrease Interest Rates On Medical Debt Likely To Pass

The ballot proposition to decrease interest rates on medical debt is leading with 75% voter approval as of Tuesday night, according to unofficial election results from the Arizona Secretary of State’s office. If passed, Proposition 209 would reduce the maximum interest rates on medical debt from 10% to 3% annually. The measure would make certain assets exempt from debt collection, such as homes, household items, cars and bank accounts. (Ludden, 11/8)

On dental insurance costs in Massachusetts —

The Washington Examiner:
Massachusetts Voters Approve Obamacare-Style Regulations Of Dental Insurance 

Massachusetts will become the first state to impose Obamacare-style regulation on dental insurance, requiring insurers to put a certain percentage of the premiums they collect toward dental care after a ballot referendum received wide support. The Medical Loss Ratios for Dental Insurance Plans Initiative will soon force dental insurers to spend at least 83% of premiums on dental services, versus administrative or other overhead costs, or refund the excess to beneficiaries. (Adcox, 11/9)

On mushrooms and marijuana —

‘Magic Mushrooms’ Vote Too Early To Call In Colorado 

A vote to decide whether Colorado will become the second state, after Oregon, to create a legalized system for the use of psychedelic mushrooms was too early to call Tuesday. The ballot initiative would decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms for those 21 and older and create state-regulated “healing centers” where participants can experience the drug under the supervision of a licensed “facilitator.” The measure would establish a regulated system for using substances like psilocybin and psilocin, the hallucinogenic chemicals found in some mushrooms. It also would allow private personal use of the drugs. (Peipert, 11/9)

Voters Approve Recreational Marijuana In Maryland, Missouri

Voters approved recreational marijuana in Maryland and Missouri but rejected it in two other states, signaling support gradually growing for legalization even in conservative parts of the country. The results mean that 21 states have now approved marijuana’s recreational use. Arkansas and North Dakota voters rejected legalization proposals in Tuesday’s elections. A similar initiative went before voters in South Dakota, but early Wednesday it was too early to call. (DeMillo, 11/9)

On health care as a human right in Oregon —

Oregon Gun Control, Health Care Measures Too Early To Call 

Oregon voters appeared closely divided late Tuesday on measures that would add permitting and training requirements for new gun buyers and amend the state’s constitution to explicitly declare affordable health care a human right. With roughly 40% of the vote counted in the vote-by-mail state, the outcomes of both races were too early to call. (Flaccus, 11/9)

Control of Congress is up in the air —

The New York Times:
Who Will Control The House And Senate? 

For the second Election Day in a row, election night ends without a clear winner. It could be days until a party is projected to win the House of Representatives. It could be a month until we know the same for the Senate. Here’s the state of the race for both chambers and when — maybe, just maybe — we’ll know the outcome. (Cohn, 11/9)

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