Medicaid

Keep reading long enough, and there's another side to Planned Parenthood story in Texas

Keep reading long enough, and there's another side to Planned Parenthood story in Texas

Which of these headlines — from different major Texas newspapers today — impresses you as most impartial from a journalistic standpoint?:

1. Planned Parenthood tries to close gaps

2. Provider plans fight over Medicaid

Now read the story ledes that go with those headlines and answer that same question.

First lede:

AUSTIN — Now that Planned Parenthood and its affiliates have been removed from the state’s Medicaid program, the group is trying to make sure thousands of low-income Texas women will still have access to health care.
The group also faces an ongoing investigation from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who said Wednesday his office “stands ready to defend any challenge by Planned Parenthood to their termination.”
Texas has been working to remove Planned Parenthood from the Medicaid program since October 2015 but didn’t deliver the final notice to the organization until late Tuesday. The notice from the Health and Human Services Commission said Planned Parenthood is “not qualified to provide medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal and ethical manner” because of conversations officials at the group had about the use of fetal tissue in research.

Second lede:

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Few gaps in fine New York Times look at hospice and common fears among African-Americans

Few gaps in fine New York Times look at hospice and common fears among African-Americans

Let's face it. The religion-news beat is amazing. I have never understood how many journalists consider this a fringe topic that doesn't deserve mainstream coverage.

Decades ago, I interviewed scores of newspaper editors for my graduate project at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and you want to know the two most common reasons they gave for avoiding religion? Religion was (a) boring and (b) too controversial. That's the problem, you see, the world is just full of boring, controversial religion stories.

I think any professional who works on this beat for multiple decades -- which describes all the current GetReligionistas -- lives in a state of amazement at how complex new stories, and new angles on old stories, just keep showing up.

That's how I felt reading a very interesting New York Times feature about the struggle to promote hospice in African-American churches. Once again, it is amazing what the Times can do when a religion topic doesn't touch on the Sexual Revolution and, thus, clash with the core doctrines of Kellerism. Here is the key summary material near the top of this fine story, which opens with tragic events in the lives of the Rev. Vernal Harris and his wife Narseary, who have lost two sons to sickle cell anemia:

Hospice use has been growing fast in the United States as more people choose to avoid futile, often painful medical treatments in favor of palliative care and dying at home surrounded by loved ones. But the Harrises, who are African-American, belong to a demographic group that has long resisted the concept and whose suspicions remain deep-seated.
It is an attitude borne out by recent federal statistics showing that nearly half of white Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in hospice before death, compared with only a third of black patients. The racial divide is even more pronounced when it comes to advance care directives -- legal documents meant to help families make life-or-death decisions that reflect a patient’s choices. Some 40 percent of whites aged 70 and over have such plans, compared with only 16 percent of blacks.

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When Planned Parenthood isn't news (fraud edition)

Are the actions of Planned Parenthood religion stories? Not necessarily.

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