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Dec 13, 2012

Fifteen U.S. states opt to run own health exchanges -official

WASHINGTON, Dec 13 (Reuters) – Only 15 U.S. states plan to
operate health insurance exchanges under President Barack
Obama’s reform law, leaving Washington with the daunting
prospect of creating and operating the new online marketplaces
in at least two-thirds of the country.

On the eve of a federal deadline for states to say whether
they will run their own exchanges, 11 other states have informed
the administration that it should plan to be heavily involved in
setting up private health insurance markets within their
borders, said Gary Cohen, director of the Center for Consumer
Information and Insurance Oversight, on Thursday.

Dec 7, 2012

FDA panel opposes recommending painkiller over safety

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel of outside experts voted against recommending Zogenix Inc’s Zohydro painkiller for FDA approval on Friday, citing concerns about the danger of addiction posed by the drug class known as opioids.

But FDA officials said the regulatory agency could still approve the drug for sale in the United States by imposing restrictions on its sale to protect public safety.

Dec 5, 2012

Medicare emerging as prime target in U.S. ‘fiscal cliff’ talks

WASHINGTON, Dec 5 (Reuters) – With rival Democratic and
Republican deficit plans increasingly focused on Medicare,
experts say the two sides could be edging toward common ground
on important changes to the popular health insurance program for
seniors and the disabled.

None of the changes are assured and any specific decisions
would come only after resolution of the “fiscal cliff,” the
combination of tax hikes and spending cuts that’s driving the
discussion.

Dec 5, 2012

U.S. House Democrats introduce new meningitis legislation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two Democratic lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation on Wednesday aimed at bolstering federal oversight of compounded drugs like the tainted steroid injections blamed for a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak.

But the legislation is not likely to move forward in the Republican-controlled chamber. In fact, aides from both parties said neither the House nor the Democratic-led Senate is expected to vote on meningitis legislation this year, given the little time remaining and the overarching focus on so-called “fiscal cliff” deficit-reduction talks.

Nov 27, 2012

Senior Democrat Durbin urges talks on Medicare

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Dick Durbin, a senior Senate Democrat and close ally of President Barack Obama, urged fellow liberals on Tuesday to consider reforming Medicare and Medicaid, the U.S. healthcare programs they have long fought to shield from spending cuts.

The timing of his message – just as Democrats and Republicans struggling to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” looming early next year – and its prominence may signal that Democratic leaders and the White House will discuss social programs at the fiscal policy negotiating table.

Nov 26, 2012

Medicaid expansion poses “modest” state costs: study

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s $1 trillion plan to expand Medicaid would raise state costs by only 3 percent and extend health coverage to more than 21 million low-income people as part of the new healthcare reform law, a study said on Monday.

The report released by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation said states would spend an extra $76 billion over the next decade to implement the Medicaid expansion, or 2.9 percent more than they would without the reform law. The federal government would fork out more than $950 billion to cover nearly all of the costs, the study said.

Nov 20, 2012

U.S. releases new health insurance reform rules

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. administration on Tuesday proposed new health insurance rules aimed at ending discrimination against the sick and guaranteeing minimum benefits for millions of Americans who are expected to obtain coverage under President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law.

The rules, unveiled by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, provide states and insurers with details about how the Obama administration intends to achieve its long-stated goals of guaranteeing access to those with preexisting conditions and making affordable coverage available to families through new online health insurance exchanges.

Nov 19, 2012

House Republicans to FDA: no meningitis action without documents

WASHINGTON, Nov 19 (Reuters) – Republicans on a
congressional panel investigating a deadly meningitis outbreak
linked to tainted drugs have told the top U.S. drug regulator
not to expect new authority to prevent future problems until the
agency hands over documents about its role in the current
crisis.

As the number of meningitis cases edged toward the 500-mark,
the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee’s
Republican majority staff released on Monday a letter that gave
the Food and Drug Administration until the end of November to
comply with a document request first made in mid-October.

Nov 17, 2012

Five Republican governors reject state-run health markets

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Five Republican governors rejected on Friday a major provision of President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law that calls on states to set up online health insurance markets where consumers can purchase private coverage at federally subsidized rates.

That makes it likely that the federal government will establish its own markets, known as healthcare exchanges, in those states and potentially supplant state control of private individual insurance markets.

Nov 16, 2012

Ohio, Wisconsin say they will not run their own health exchanges

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Republican governors of Ohio and Wisconsin on Friday rejected a major provision of President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law that calls on U.S. states to set up online health insurance markets.

The news, which came a day after the Obama administration gave states an extra month to decide their participation, demonstrates the differing political whirlwinds that reform has spawned in Republican-led states since Obama’s re-election ensured implementation of the healthcare law.

    • 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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