Health and Human Services

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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 »

Feds: No Morning-After Pill for Young Teens Without Rx

Health chief overrules FDA, forbids over-the-counter sales to girls

(Newser) - The federal government is split on the "morning after pill," with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today overruling the FDA's decision to make Plan B available to even young teenagers without a prescription. The drug's maker requested the change in February, and though FDA... More »

Nursing Homes, Big Pharma Overmedicating Seniors

Residents with dementia get antipsychotics, boosting death risk: US report

(Newser) - Nursing homes are treating dementia sufferers with powerful antipsychotics despite FDA advice to the contrary, according to a Health and Human Services report spotted by Pro Publica . The FDA began requiring antipsychotics to carry warning labels in 2005 stating the increased death risk they pose for dementia patients. But 88%... More »

States Want OK to Cut Medicaid—Without Penalty

Governors battle Washington over measure in health reform law

(Newser) - America's 29 states led by Republican governors are asking Washington to give them the green light to cut thousands from Medicaid—without being penalized. The health care reform law says that states that reduce eligibility for the program will lose federal funding, and these cash-strapped states (along with, quietly, some... More »

Obama Scraps 'Conscience' Rule for Health Workers

But those who object to abortions can still opt out

(Newser) - The Obama administration today undid an eleventh-hour rule enacted by George W. Bush that gave health workers the option to refuse to perform a litany of procedures they objected to on moral, religious, or cultural grounds. Declaring the so-called "conscience" rule "unclear and potentially overbroad in scope,"... More »

Dear America, Eat Less. Sincerely, Feds

New federal guidelines urge limits on salt, saturated fat

(Newser) - Not only are the feds picking on how many Twinkies vs. how many carrots you eat, but the New York Times reports that now they're picking on how much you eat, period. The newest federal nutrition guidelines, revised every five years, predictably admonish Americans to eat more fruits and vegetables... More »

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