Department of Health

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Medicare Has Been Paying for Prescriptions Written by ... Art Therapists

Paid $31.6M in 2009 for prescriptions written by people who aren't authorized to write them

(Newser) - Massage therapists and home contractors are not authorized to prescribe drugs—but Medicare will still cover the cost, anyway. That's according to a new study by the Department of Health and Human Services, which found Medicare paid $31.6 million in 2009 as part of its Part D program... More »

Companies Fume Over Unnoticed ObamaCare Fee

New fund will cost employers $63 per worker they insure

(Newser) - Firms are lashing out against a fee they will face next year under the new health law: Most big employers will owe $63 for every person they insure, with the money going into a $25 billion fund, reports the Wall Street Journal . That fund, built up over three years, will... More »

White House: We've Recovered $5.6B in Fraud

Cabinet secretaries to meet on wasteful spending

(Newser) - The Justice Department has managed to recover some $5.6 billion lost to fraud over the 2011 fiscal year, officials will announce today. Civil fraud accounted for some $3.4 billion, with the rest attributable to criminal fraud, insiders tell the Washington Post . Much of the money was recovered by... More »

ERs Grab Organs Faster From Accident Victims

Controversial program looks to increase transplants

(Newser) - A federal project exploring the securing of donor organs from patients who die in emergency rooms is raising questions of medical ethics. Traditionally, organs are not taken from ER patients and are removed only after all brain activity has ceased. The project, under way at two Pittsburgh hospitals, aims to... More »

US May Lift Ban on HIV-Positive Travelers

CDC wants to end 'stigma,' but 22-year-old rule has some support

(Newser) - The CDC is considering ending the rule forbidding HIV-positive foreigners from entering the US, MSNBC reports. Congress voted last year to dump 1987 restrictions on entry to those with the condition, but the exclusion policy will remain in place until the department of health and human services lifts it. “... More »

Obama Lacks Health Team as Swine Flu Spreads

Terrorism pros handle health crisis

(Newser) - With key health posts in the Obama administration still vacant, the swine flu outbreak is being handled by a counter-terrorism specialist and a former governor, Politico reports. The administration still lacks a surgeon general and chiefs for the Food and Drug Administraion and Centers for Disease Control, and needs to... More »

GOP Blocks Sebelius' Confirmation

She's pressed to answer more questions on abortion

(Newser) - President Obama will have to wait until at least next week to have a complete Cabinet after Senate Republicans blocked the immediate confirmation of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius yesterday, AP reports. A vote on the Health and Human Services Secretary nominee—whose appointment is fiercely opposed by anti-abortion groups—will... More »

Senate Panel Clears Sebelius for HHS Post

Vote means Obama is likely to have a full Cabinet soon

(Newser) - It looks like President Obama will finally get his full Cabinet. A Senate panel today approved his pick of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to be director of Health and Human Services, the Hill reports. The vote, largely along party lines, all but assures that Sebelius will be approved by the... More »

Testy McCain Grills Sebelius on Health Care Tax Credit

'Reform would be my mission' says nominee

(Newser) - Kathleen Sebelius got a chilly bout of questioning from John McCain during a Senate committee hearing, Ezra Klein writes for the American Prospect. His manner tense and confrontational, the Arizona senator asked Sebelius if she supported replacing the tax incentive for employer-based care with a $5000 tax credit—an idea... More »

Obama's Agenda Dwarfs His Staff

President's team stretched thin despite flurry of appointments

(Newser) - President Obama is filling government jobs more quickly than his predecessors, but there's so much going on that his team is still stretched thin, the Wall Street Journal reports. Obama is juggling the economic crisis, stimulus package, and two wars, all with just 43 confirmed aides. "No one since... More »

Pro-Choice Obama Exploits Sebelius' Catholicism

(Newser) - President Obama is enacting a ghastly brace of pro-choice policies, including weakening "conscience protections" for doctors and adopting the “most radical possible option” on stem cell research, Michael Gerson writes for the Washington Post. And enlisting a Catholic—HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius—to help implement his agenda “... More »

Sebelius Made Little Progress on Health in Partisan Kan.

Kansas guv could get another shot as health secretary

(Newser) - As governor of Kansas, President Obama’s new pick for health secretary has plenty of experience working with Republicans—but little success pushing her health plans through the GOP-controlled legislature, the New York Times reports. If she is confirmed, she’ll have another chance to expand coverage in what could... More »

'Vaccine Court' Denies Families' Autism Claim

MMR vaccine and thimerosal don't combine to cause autism, panel finds

(Newser) - A special court has ruled that a common vaccine did not cause autism in three children, CNN reports. Three test-case families who claimed the vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella in combination with the preservative thimerosal caused their children’s autism were denied compensation by the panel, which ruled that... More »

Losing Daschle Hurts, but Won't Kill Health Plans

Replacing his political clout will be the biggest challenge

(Newser) - The loss of Tom Daschle is a blow to President Obama’s plans for health-care reform, but the administration still has the resources to get the job done, Jonathan Cohn writes in the New Republic. Daschle was not only to head the Department of Health and Human Services, but also... More »

What's the Fallout from Daschle's Withdrawal?

Major issues in the wake of Daschle's withdrawal

(Newser) - Tom Daschle gave up his nomination for Health and Human Services Secretary, raising a host of questions, Matthew Cooper writes at Talking Points Memo. Did an issue besides tax problems arise? Was the decision really Daschle’s, or the administration’s? Some other big issues:
  1. How many Obama nominees will
... More »

Daschle to Head Health Services, New Reform Office

Move seen to signal Obama's focus on issue

(Newser) - As expected, President-elect Barack Obama today nominated Tom Daschle as Secretary of Health and Human Services, CQ Politics reports. Daschle will also head the new White House Office of Health Reform, geared toward providing near-universal health care to Americans. Daschle “will be responsible not just for implementing our health... More »

In Health Reform, Obama Returns to Grass Roots, Tech

Dem's team give Web activists chance to weigh in on efforts

(Newser) - In an effort to jump-start health care reform, Barack Obama is returning to the social networking tools that got him elected, the Washington Post reports. Likely Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Daschle is starring in YouTube videos and taking massive conference calls with supporters interested in the subject. “... More »

Daschle to Be Health Secretary

Will head health transition

(Newser) - Former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle has been offered, and intends to accept, a post as Barack Obama’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, Roll Call reports. Daschle will also head the health care policy transition group. Nearly all of Obama’s transition policy working group heads are expected... More »

US Blocks Chinese Milk Products

FDA demands independent tests before products can enter

(Newser) - All Chinese products containing milk will be blocked at the US border until tests prove they're free of a widely used toxic contaminant, Bloomberg reports. The FDA is demanding independent testing to prove such products are not tainted with melamine like those which sickened 50,000 children in China. The... More »

Docs Get List of Who to Let Die in Pandemic

Don't waste resources on the elderly, handicapped: report

(Newser) - If the US were to suffer a devastating pandemic, and doctors didn’t have resources to save everyone, who should die? A number of universities, government agencies, and other groups mulled that grim scenario recently, sending doctors a brutally ruthless list of who to let die. The report ensures “... More »

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