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Enhanced Scrutiny Of IVF Clinics; School-Based Health Care

Every week, reporter Jessica Marcy selects interesting reads from around the Web.

Time: Gingrich Wants Scrutiny Of IVF Clinics: Why That’s Not The Worst Idea
Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich hit upon a reproductive minefield on Sunday when he called for deeper scrutiny of in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics, where women go for high-tech help to conceive. Gingrich, who believes life begins at conception, wants a commission to dissect the ethical issues attendant with assisted reproductive technology. Ostensibly, it’s not the babies born from IVF he’s got a problem with; it’s the potential babies — and there are lots and lots of them — who aren’t. … The creation of excess embryos is central to the IVF process. … For most women, no more than two embryos are recommended for transfer. Considering that hyperstimulation can yield more than a dozen embryos — hello, Octomom — the question of what to do with the leftovers is one that can’t be ignored (Bonnie Rochman, 1/30).

Columbia Journalism Review: Medicare Versus Obamacare
In the last few days, three mainstream news outlets elevated “Medicare: The Political Story” into the headlines. It was good to see that The New York Times, PBS’s Need To Know, and Reuters, all of which reach large audiences, have realized Medicare may be the most important health story of the campaign. (Yes, perhaps more important than the Supreme Court’s ruling on the individual mandate.) During the 2008 campaign, as Campaign Desk pointed out at the time, the candidates ignored Medicare. … Now that large outlets have anointed Medicare politics as legitimate news, we’ll probably see a lot more similar stories. That’s fine, but a diet of nothing but political stories shortchanges the public, since those stories omit crucial information about what Medicare is and what opponents want it to become (Trudy Lieberman, 1/30).

National Review: Free Birth Control Vs. Freedom Of Religion
When Pliny the Younger was a provincial governor in the Roman Empire, he wrote a letter to Emperor Trajan asking whether he should execute Christians who refused to burn incense in worship of the emperor. I thought of Pliny when I read that the Obama administration, in creating specific rules to implement Obamacare, will require all employers (with a very narrow exemption discussed below) to offer their employees health insurance that provides FDA-approved contraception, female sterilization, and other “reproductive” services free of charge — even if the employer is a religious organization and doing so violates its doctrine. … The birth-control rule is the latest and most egregious example of government forcing religious organizations to conform their operations to reigning secular moral values. In this sense, faith organizations are being compelled to participate in a metaphorical Caesar worship (Wesley J. Smith, 1/30).

Governing: School-Based Health Centers Reap Benefits
In more than 2,000 schools throughout the country, students can get free comprehensive medical, mental health and sometimes dental care without ever leaving school property. School-based health centers (SBHCs) are fully staffed clinics located in or on school property. Each one is different, but most offer a full range of services, including primary care, mental health and social services. Most are in schools that serve the neediest students and are funded by state governments, the feds and private foundations. … Having a full-service health clinic in schools has many benefits. … Luckily, virtually every entity that applied for the new federal SBHC grants received at least a portion of the funds. Unlike the rest of the federal health law, advocates argue, school-based health centers are a nonpartisan solution to a pervasive problem (Caroline Cournoyer, February 2012).