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 »

Feds Wants Diseased Lungs, Corpses on Cigarettes

FDA presents 36 labels for public scrutiny

(Newser) - Corpses, cancer patients and diseased lungs: These are some of the images the federal government plans for larger, graphic warning labels that will take up half of each cigarette package. The images are part of a new campaign announced by the FDA and health department today to reduce tobacco use,... 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 »

Senate Confirms Sebelius as Health Secretary

(Newser) - Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius won Senate confirmation today to serve as the nation's health and human services secretary. She already has a public health emergency on her hands with the swine flu sickening dozens of Americans. The 65-31 vote came after Democrats urged quick action so Sebelius could get to... 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 »

HHS Nominee Sebelius Pays $7K in Back Taxes

She's latest Cabinet pick with IRS trouble

(Newser) - See if this sounds familiar: Health and Human Services nominee Kathleen Sebelius has corrected three years worth of tax returns after finding "unintentional errors." In a letter to senators, Sebelius said the changes involved charitable contributions, the sale of a home, and business expenses. She and her husband... 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 »

Sebelius Tapped for Health Post

(Newser) - Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is President Barack Obama's choice for secretary of health and human services, a White House source said today. Sebelius, 60, was an early Obama supporter who picked his presidential campaign over that of Hillary Rodham Clinton and worked tirelessly for Obama's bid. Obama will formally announce... More »

Sebelius Mum on HHS Post

Kansas gov says she's had no meetings on joining the Obama Cabinet

(Newser) - Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, mentioned as a top candidate for health secretary, said today she has not talked with President Barack Obama about joining his Cabinet. "There really isn't anything to tell. I haven't had any meetings about the position," Sebelius, 60, said in an interview with the... 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 »

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