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Jul 31, 2014

Next Obamacare enrollment period faces bumps: U.S. official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. consumers who purchase private health coverage through the federal Obamacare website HealthCare.gov are likely to find only modestly higher premiums but may still have technical problems signing up, a top health official said on Thursday.

“It won’t be perfect,” Andrew Slavitt, a newly appointed principal deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), told lawmakers at hearing before a House of Representatives oversight committee.

Jul 30, 2014

Federal Obamacare market still faces cost overruns, delays: watchdog

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Ten months after the botched rollout of HealthCare.gov, Obamacare’s federal health insurance exchange is still dogged by cost overruns and technology delays that could hamper enrollment when it resumes in November, a U.S. watchdog said.

The total cost of HealthCare.gov and its supporting systems hit $840 million in March, according to a forthcoming report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO). Excerpts of the report were released on Wednesday by a U.S. House of Representatives oversight committee.

Jul 28, 2014

Slower U.S. healthcare cost rise extending life of Medicare fund: trustees

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Slower growth in U.S. healthcare spending and expected savings from Obamacare are shoring up the funding outlook for the federal Medicare program that covers the hospital bills of the elderly, trustees of the program said on Monday.

The program’s trust fund for hospital care will run out of money in 2030, four years later than previously estimated, the trustees said in a report. When the fund runs dry, Washington would only be able to partially cover its obligations.

Jul 23, 2014

CDC says lab director behind anthrax mishap resigns

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The director of a government bioterror lab behind the potential exposure of workers to live anthrax has resigned, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday.

Michael Farrell, head of the CDC’s Bioterror Rapid Response and Advanced Technology Laboratory (BRRAT) in Atlanta, had been reassigned from his position last month after the agency disclosed the safety breaches. He submitted his resignation on Tuesday, the CDC said.

Jul 22, 2014

U.S. court rulings create new uncertainty over Obamacare

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two U.S. judicial panels on Tuesday injected new uncertainty into the future of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, with conflicting rulings over whether the federal government can subsidize health insurance for millions of Americans.

The appeals court rulings, handed down by three-judge panels in Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Virginia, augured a possible rematch before the U.S. Supreme Court, which in June 2012 narrowly upheld the Democratic president’s 2010 healthcare overhaul.

Jul 22, 2014

Court deals blow to Obama health law by limiting subsidies

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. federal judicial panel on Tuesday dealt a potentially devastating blow to President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, throwing out a provision that provides millions of Americans with subsidies for private health insurance.

The 2-1 decision, which could lead to a new showdown over Obamacare before the U.S. Supreme Court, would prevent the administration from offering premium tax credits to people who purchase insurance through the federal insurance marketplace that serves most of the 8 million consumers who have signed up for private coverage for 2014.

Jul 17, 2014

Before anthrax mishap, CDC made similar lab safety pledges-lawmaker

WASHINGTON/CHICAGO, July 17 (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers
investigating repeated safety lapses at government laboratories
questioned Thursday whether the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention was up to the task of fixing the problem, given
similar promises to remedy such breaches in 2012.

The CDC is under scrutiny for a June incident, in which more
than 80 lab workers may have been exposed to live anthrax
bacteria that was mistakenly sent out of a high-security lab on
its Atlanta campus. Federal investigators have since reported
dozens of other infractions at CDC labs that handle deadly
pathogens such as anthrax and avian flu.

Jul 16, 2014

U.S. lawmakers cite ‘dangerous pattern’ of lapses at CDC

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers said on Wednesday there was evidence of a “dangerous pattern” of safety lapses at government laboratories dealing with dangerous pathogens such as anthrax and avian flu that required a change in culture at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Members of a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee cited new information on breaches previously unreported by CDC, which is under scrutiny for the potential exposure of more than 80 lab workers to live anthrax bacteria in June. Their comments, made at a hearing on Wednesday, came ahead of testimony by the CDC’s director, Dr Thomas Frieden.

Jul 16, 2014

U.S. House panel to probe if there was cover-up in CDC lab mishap

WASHINGTON, July 15 (Reuters) – A congressional panel
probing the mishandling of dangerous pathogens at federal
laboratories will try to determine if U.S. officials sought to
cover up an incident involving deadly avian flu, its Republican
chairman said on Tuesday.

Representative Tim Murphy said lawmakers will also look at
whether lab workers face adequate “consequences” for failing to
follow rules, and consider new legislation if penalties are
lacking when actions endanger the public.

Jul 15, 2014

U.S. officials purge biosafety board in midst of anthrax crisis

NEW YORK, July 15 (Reuters) – Federal officials, amid the
worst U.S. biosafety crisis in years, have dismissed 11 eminent
scientists from a 23-member panel that advises the government on
how and whether research on dangerous pathogens should be
conducted.

The purged members were informed that their service was no
longer needed via an email on Sunday night from Mary Groesch,
executive director of the National Science Advisory Board for
Biosecurity (NSABB). Two of the dismissed members told Reuters
that the notice came without warning. The panel is overseen by
the National Institutes of Health.

    • About David

      "David Morgan has covered news from Wall Street and Fleet Street to the White House, the Pentagon and Congress, including politics, macroeconomics, military affairs, corporate finance, U.S. intelligence, national security and the international markets. He has also reported from Atlanta on the rise of American conservatism, civil rights, homegrown terrorism and the Olympics, and helped chronicle the Sept. 11 attacks and their aftermath from Philadelphia, New York and Washington."
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