What We’re Reading: SD Governor Restricts Abortion Access; CMS Sends Funding to States; Rationing in Idaho Hospitals

South Dakota executive order controls distribution of abortion medication and telemedicine abortions; some states receive funds to improve access to affordable health insurance; Idaho activates “crisis standards of care” due to volume of COVID-19 patients in hospitals.

Executive Order Restricts Abortion Access in South Dakota

South Dakota Governor Kristi L. Noem issued an executive order that restricts abortion access in the state, The Washington Post reported. The order states that abortion medication can only be prescribed after an in-person examination by a doctor licensed in South Dakota. It also bans the medication from being delivered by “courier, delivery, telemedicine, or mail service,” and prohibits distribution on state grounds and in schools. This announcement comes days after Noem showed support for the Texas law that effectively bans abortions after approximately 6 weeks of pregnancy.

CMS Distributes Pass-Through Funding for Premiums

The Biden administration is distributing $452 million in federal funding through CMS to improve access to affordable and comprehensive health insurance coverage, HHS said. This will be done through section 1332 state-based reinsurance waivers, which partially reimburse health insurance companies for provider claims to avoid higher premiums for consumers and the federal government. Funding per state ranges from $2.5 million to $139 million. The 13 states receiving this funding, from most to least amount received, are Maryland, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, Alaska, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Delaware, New Hampshire, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, and Rhode Island. New Jersey is expected to be added to this list.

Idaho Hospitals Ration Hospital Resources Due to COVID-19

According to The Associated Press, Idaho public health leaders activated “crisis standards of care” due to the volume of COVID-19 patients, allowing health care rationing for some of the state’s hospitals. The state cited “a severe shortage of staffing and available beds in the northern area of the state caused by a massive increase in patients with COVID-19 who require hospitalization.” This decision allows hospitals to allocate resources like ICU rooms and equipment to patients based on survivability and make other care adjustments. Idaho has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country and recently saw a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases, and other states like Hawaii are prepared to take similar steps.