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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.