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Aug 28, 2014

U.S. officials reach deal with Pennsylvania on Medicaid

Aug 28 (Reuters) – Federal officials have reached an
agreement with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett over his plan to
use federal funds to pay for private health insurance coverage
for up to 600,000 residents, the governor said on Thursday.

The deal highlights a growing number of Republican governors
who are finding ways to accept money under President Barack
Obama’s Affordable Care Act, despite political opposition that
has so far prevented nearly half of U.S. states from moving
forward with the Medicaid expansion plan.

Aug 27, 2014

Some HealthCare.gov contractors see contract values rise -report

WASHINGTON, Aug 26 (Reuters) – Three firms involved in the
troubled Obamacare website HealthCare.gov have seen their
contract values exceed initial estimates by more than a
quarter-billion dollars, including the lead IT contractor at the
time of the site’s botched rollout, government data shows.

A report released on Tuesday by the U.S. Department of the
Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General
(OIG) estimates the original value of 60 information technology
(IT) contracts related to the Obamacare federal marketplace at
$1.7 billion.

Aug 26, 2014

U.S. names Connecticut official to lead federal Obamacare marketplace

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration on Tuesday named the head of Connecticut’s state health exchange to oversee the federal marketplace that provides subsidized private health insurance to consumers in 36 states under Obamacare.

In a move that administration officials billed as an effort to bring new accountability to the federal operation, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced that Kevin Counihan would oversee federal operations, as well as health insurance regulation, in the new post of marketplace chief executive officer.

Aug 24, 2014

U.S. Republicans pressure Obama to step up action against ISIS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans on Sunday called for more aggressive U.S. action to defeat Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq, accusing President Barack Obama of policies that have failed to thwart potential new threats on U.S. soil.

Representative Mike Rogers, Republican chairman of the House of Representative Intelligence Committee, urged the administration to work with Arab partners on robust steps to disrupt the operations of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). He said the group is drawing support from Europeans and Americans who could travel undetected to Western countries to carry out attacks.

Aug 7, 2014

Obama administration setting up group on experimental Ebola drugs

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK, Aug 7 (Reuters) – The Obama
administration is forming a special Ebola working group to
consider setting policy for the potential use of experimental
drugs to help the hundreds infected by the deadly disease in
West Africa, U.S. officials said on Thursday.

The group is being formed under Dr. Nicole Lurie, Assistant
Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the Department of
Health and Human Services, an administration official said.

Aug 2, 2014

U.S. CDC lab inspectors may have risked public safety -documents

WASHINGTON, Aug 1 (Reuters) – U.S. laboratory inspectors
charged with protecting the public from the release of deadly
pathogens were repeatedly criticized by a federal watchdog for
overlooking biosafety lapses long before this year’s anthrax
scare at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Newly released federal documents show that oversight gaps at
the CDC Division of Select Agents and Toxins (DSAT) may have
contributed to biosafety lapses at six laboratories handling
pathogens including smallpox, influenza and monkeypox. As a
result, the inspectors may have put public safety at risk.

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.

    • 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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