Health and Human Services

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HHS Head Too Busy to Fly Commercial, Says Rep

Democrats are calling for an investigation

(Newser) - Government officials "check every possible source for travel needs, including commercial, but commercial travel is not always feasible" for Tom Price, who has "an incredibly demanding schedule." That's how a spokesperson defended the Health and Human Services secretary Wednesday after a Politico report claimed Price used... More »

Reporter Says He Was 'Arrested for Asking Question'

Dan Heyman repeatedly asked HHS chief about pre-existing conditions

(Newser) - Everyone's got lots of questions about the American Health Care Act that passed the House last week, and Health and Human Services chief Tom Price seems like he'd be a good person to ask. Reporter Dan Heyman of Public News Service found out that wasn't the case... More »

Meals on Wheels Sees a Huge Surge in Donations

But federal budget's impact on program is unclear at this point

(Newser) - Fears that the Meals on Wheels program would be gutted under President Trump's first budget has translated into a significant boost in donations to the group. The national umbrella organization said it received $50,000 in online donations Thursday after Trump released his prelminary budget , reports Reuters . The typical... More »

GOP to Dems Skipping Cabinet Votes: 'Stop Acting Like Idiots'

Democrats want more information before votes for Mnuchin for Treasury, Price for HHS

(Newser) - Senate confirmation hearings for President Trump's Cabinet choices got heated Tuesday—or at least the ones that took place. Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee angered not only by Trump's recent travel ban , but also by his firing of acting AG Sally Yates , forced votes Tuesday to be... More »

Trump Health Pick 'Offended' by Questions About Stocks

Tom Price grilled by Franken, Warren

(Newser) - Donald Trump's choice for health secretary declared himself to be "offended" by Sen. Elizabeth Warren's questions about his investments during Wednesday's Senate Health Committee hearing. Warren was one of numerous Democrats who pressed Rep. Tom Price about his stock transactions in health care companies, the Washington ... More »

Dental Coverage Inflated ObamaCare Numbers

Enrollment numbers drop back under projected 7M as a result

(Newser) - The federal government happily announced in September that ObamaCare enrollments were above 7 million, meaning that a projection issued by the Congressional Budget Office last year had been met. Look now, however, and the figure is back below 7 million, reports Bloomberg . Why? To get to the higher figure, the... More »

100K Got ObamaCare on Day 1: White House

HHS secretary says website is running pretty smoothly

(Newser) - After last year's dismal debut HealthCare.gov is feeling much better now, and is busily connecting Americans with health care plans as the second sign-up period opened yesterday, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said today. The site took in 100,000 new applications in its first 24... More »

Obama: Sebelius Will 'Go Down in History'

He praises outgoing health chief, and his nominee to succeed her

(Newser) - President Obama made it official today, announcing that Kathleen Sebelius is indeed resigning as health secretary . Politico highlights a quote by Obama at today's ceremony in the Rose Garden that could probably work for both her supporters and critics: She will "go down in history" as the leader... More »

Health Chief Sebelius Is Resigning

White House budget official Sylvia Mathews Burwell expected to replace her

(Newser) - ObamaCare may have rebounded from its disastrous start, but health secretary Kathleen Sebelius won't be around for the next phase, reports the Wall Street Journal . In fact, Sebelius already has submitted her resignation, and President Obama has accepted it, reports the New York Times . The move is expected to... More »

At 11th Hour, Obama Eases Health Care Mandate

People who lost policies can claim hardship exemption

(Newser) - In a surprise move, the Obama administration essentially lifted the individual mandate last night for anyone who saw their insurance policy cancelled thanks to the Affordable Care Act, just days before the Dec. 23 deadline to sign up for Jan. 1 coverage. These consumers will be able to apply for... More »

Sebelius Calls for HealthCare.gov Investigation

She thinks HHS needs to improve how it handles contracts

(Newser) - Many in Washington are calling for an investigation into HealthCare.gov's disastrous debut—and now, that includes the woman who was in charge of it. In a blog post today, Kathleen Sebelius announced that she has asked Health and Human Services' inspector general to look into the website's... More »

HealthCare.gov Probably Won't Be Ready by Deadline

Insurers seek direct way to sign up customers

(Newser) - The Obama administration has pledged to get HealthCare.gov running smoothly by Nov. 30, but an insider tells the Washington Post that's looking like a pipe dream. For one thing, it can only deal with half the traffic it's supposed to handle—it runs into problems when 20,... More »

Republicans Turn Up Heat on Sebelius (Sort of)

President stands by health secretary despite (some) pressure from GOP

(Newser) - Ten Republican senators sent a letter to President Obama yesterday demanding that he fire Kathleen Sebelius over ObamaCare's online debut, but Obama wasted no time in reaffirming his support for the embattled Health and Human Services secretary. "If a similar rollout from any other national company or private-sector... More »

There's No 'iPod Presidency' in Old-Guard DC

Old organizations like HHS don't tend to be 'nimble': Megan McArdle

(Newser) - We should have known the health care website wouldn't be sleek and speedy—even if we were hoping for a tech-savvy "iPod presidency." After all, the website is the product of a Health and Human Services department that's been around for a while, and a longstanding... More »

6 ObamaCare Questions for Sebelius as She Hits Hot Seat

She testifies before Congress today

(Newser) - Kathleen Sebelius is testifying before Congress this morning in eagerly anticipated remarks about problem-plagued HealthCare.gov, but you may not hear anything new. Politico reports that her eight pages of prepared testimony are, almost verbatim, the same as the testimony offered to Congress yesterday by head of the Centers for... More »

ObamaCare Penalty Delayed —but Not Due to Website

WH says it's just eliminating confusion

(Newser) - Good news for procrastinators: Americans will now have an extra month and a half to get health insurance before facing a penalty under ObamaCare, meaning they won't face a fine if they sign up for a plan by March 31. The six-week delay (a change of tune for the... More »

Judge on Morning-After Pill: No One Needs Prescription

Directs FDA to sell over-the-counter, even to teens

(Newser) - The FDA must make the morning-after pill available over-the-counter to women of all ages, a federal judge has ruled. It's currently stocked behind the counter, and those under 17 need a prescription. The federal government has debated with itself over the morning-after pill in the past, with the FDA... More »

Anti-Fraud Record: Per Dollar Spent, $8 Recovered

HSS boasts recovering $4.2B last year in health-care fraud effort

(Newser) - And the health-care fraud records just keep coming : The government last year recovered a record $4.2 billion that was stolen or illegally obtained from federal health-care programs, reports USA Today . That brings the since-2010 equation to this: $7.90 has been recouped via fines and legal judgments for each... More »

Romney's New Target: Obama's Welfare Waivers

Ad attacks state waivers plan

(Newser) - Mitt Romney is opening up a new front in the war for the White House. A new ad accuses President Obama of overhauling Bill Clinton's welfare reform, resulting in a program that doesn't require recipients to work. "Under Obama's plan, you wouldn't have to work... More »

Medicare Fraud Task Force Makes Biggest Bust Ever

107 charged in scheme, whose fake claims allegedly totaled $452M

(Newser) - The Justice Department's special Medicare fraud strike team made its biggest bust ever yesterday, charging 107 doctors, nurses, and other alleged fraudsters in a "nationwide takedown" affecting seven cities. All told, they're accused of bilking the government out of $452 million, the Los Angeles Times reports. Among... More »

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