What We’re Reading: Abortion Access in KS, ID; Insurance Coverage Rises; Veteran Health Care Bill Passes

Kansas voters rejected an anti-abortion measure while the Department of Justice sued Idaho to protect abortion access; the US uninsured rate hit a record low of 8% at the start of 2022; the Senate passed an expansion of veteran health care, sending it to President Biden’s desk.

Kansas Voters Protect Abortion Access; DOJ Sues Idaho

Kansas voters resoundingly voted against a ballot measure that would remove the right to an abortion from the State Constitution, The Associated Press reported. The high voter turnout and large margin of 59% to 41% in support of protecting abortion access in a conservative state was deemed a “major victory for abortion rights advocates.” Also on Tuesday, the US Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Idaho to protect abortion access, claiming the state’s near-total abortion ban—set to go into effect August 25—violates the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act by preventing clinicians from providing the necessary care in emergency situations.

US Uninsured Rate Hits Record Low

More Americans are gaining health care coverage, with the uninsured rate hitting a record low of 8% at the start of 2022, USA Today reported. According to an HHS analysis, the uninsured rate declined throughout 2021 and early 2022, reflecting more than 5.2 million people gaining health care coverage since 2020, with the largest drop in uninsured rates among Americans experiencing poverty. Additionally, about 2 million adults who gained insurance since 2020 got it through insurance marketplaces set up by the Affordable Care Act for those not insured by employer or government plans. The previous record low was 9% in 2016.

Senate Passes Veteran Health Care Bill

The Senate voted 86 to 11 Tuesday to pass an expansion of veteran health care, sending it to President Biden’s desk, Politico reported. The legislation will extend health benefits to about 3.5 million veterans who have been exposed to toxins and burn pits while serving in the military, many of whom have developed cancers, respiratory diseases, and other illnesses from these exposures. The bill was previously blocked by Republican lawmakers, and another provision in the bill extends federal health care coverage to 23 illnesses.