Fed court upholds injunction on Wis. abortion lawMADISON, Wis. (AP) — A federal appeals court panel has upheld an injunction blocking Wisconsin’s new law requiring abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges from taking effect.
Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services filed a federal lawsuit this summer alleging the law would force the organizations to close clinics in Appleton and Milwaukee because the facilities’ providers lack admitting privileges. U.S. District Judge William Conley has issued a preliminary injunction blocking the law while he weighs the case.
State attorneys asked the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago to lift the injunction. A three-judge panel ruled unanimously Friday that the injunction can continue.
Judge Richard Posner wrote the clinics face greater harm than the state if the injunction is lifted, the law goes into effect and Conley then strikes it down.
Wisconsin governor signs Medicaid delay billMADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill Friday that allows about 72,000 people to stay on Medicaid until spring but delays expanding coverage to tens of thousands of others to pay for it.
The current state law forces about 72,000 parents and caretakers who earn more than the poverty level out of Medicaid in January. Walker, a Republican, has said those people can buy new coverage through the federally run health insurance marketplace. At the same time, about 83,000 childless adults who earn less than the poverty level would be allowed to join the program.
Last month, though, Walker proposed delaying kicking people out of the program until April because the launch of the federal health insurance exchange website was fraught with technical problems. The delay would give them three additional months to find insurance.
To pay for that continuation, Walker proposed delaying coverage for childless adults until April.
Republicans who control the state Assembly and Senate passed a bill earlier this month executing the governor’s plan, saying the state is doing its best to maneuver the failed federal health care overhaul. The governor signed the bill in private Friday and issued a statement saying the measure “gives Wisconsinites more time to make a logical health care transition.”
Democrats and health care advocates have criticized Walker for delaying Medicaid coverage for the childless adults, saying the move creates confusion and leaves needy people with no coverage.
State health officials say they’re planning to notify people of the change with a letter and phone calls. They’ve also posted notices on their website. Walker said in his statement that next year everyone living in poverty will have health insurance for the first time.
Federal survey shows risks to young kids on farmsMILWAUKEE (AP) — Young children face an increased risk of injury on farms even though the overall number of youth hurt in agricultural accidents continues to decline, according to new federal data.
An estimated 14,000 people younger than 20 were hurt on farms in 2012, about 2,000 fewer than in 2009, according to the Childhood Agricultural Injury Survey. Those results aren’t surprising given that fewer children are living on farms, said Barbara Lee, principal investigator for the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, which released the data this week.
Safety experts look instead to the rate of injury among children living on farms. That also dropped, from 9.9 injuries per 1,000 youth in 2009 to 8.15 in 2012.
But the injury rate among children younger than 10 increased during that time, from 6.6 to 11.3. The data do not provide a clear reason for the increase, Lee said, but most of the children in that age group likely were not working on the farm but were injured because they happened to be in a dangerous area.
“Farming in and of itself is one of the most dangerous occupations, so to have that child in that work setting, it’s equivalent to having a child in a construction site,” Lee said.
A breakdown of the causes for the injuries has not yet been released by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which collected the data in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The agencies conduct a telephone survey of 50,000 randomly chosen farms every two to three years, focusing on nonfatal injuries. Lee’s center is part of NIOSH.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks deaths among children working on farms. They averaged 15 per year from 2009 to 2012, with more than half involving children younger than 16.
Wisconsin Civil War soldier could receive medalMILWAUKEE (AP) — A Civil War soldier from Wisconsin who made a valiant last stand at Gettysburg might finally receive the nation’s highest military decoration.
First Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing of Delafield was killed in 1863, and in the past few years, descendants and Civil War buffs pushed for him to receive the Medal of Honor.
But the challenge has been the timing. Medal of Honor recommendations have to be made within two years of the act of heroism, and the medal must be awarded within three years. For a medal to be awarded posthumously to Cushing, the first step was for Congress to grant an exception to the rule.
That happened Friday when the Senate passed a comprehensive defense bill that included an exemption on Cushing’s behalf. The bill now goes to President Barack Obama.
Even if the president signs the bill, a few steps remain before Cushing would get the medal. The Defense Department would still have to make an official recommendation, and Obama would have to approve it.
Two Wisconsin congressmen said they’re sending a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel asking him to promptly review Cushing’s record and recommend that he be recognized.
“It’s never too late to do the right thing, especially when it comes to honoring our war heroes,” Rep. Ron Kind said in a statement.