In This Edition:
From Kaiser Health News:
The U.S Preventive Services Task Force recently expanded the list of approved colorectal cancer screening tests. Here’s a primer on these various tests and how they might be covered now and in the future by health insurance. (Julie Appleby, 6/24)
Amid growing concern about rising drug costs, the practices of prescription benefit management firms are drawing a new level of attention. (Julie Appleby, 6/24)
Commissioner says $37 billion deal would stifle market competition, raise health insurance rates and reduce access to care. (Ana B. Ibarra, 6/23)
Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Full-Service'" by Harley Schwadron.
Here's today's health policy haiku:
PRESCRIPTION DRUG COSTS FUELED BY 'BEWILDERING ARRAY OF FACTORS'
It’s the middleman?
Is that who adds to high costs?
Okay … but which one?
If you have a health policy haiku to share, please Contact Us and let us know if you want us to include your name. Keep in mind that we give extra points if you link back to a KHN original story.
Summaries Of The News:
The upper chamber has promised to kill the legislation anyway, and with only a few working days left before the August recess where both the House and Senate are in Washington, it doesn't look like funding negotiations will be settled soon.
The Associated Press: Obama Threatens To Veto GOP-Backed Bill On Zika Virus Aid
The White House Thursday promised that President Barack Obama would veto the long-delayed response of the Republican-controlled Congress to the president's request for fighting the Zika virus, saying it provided too little money and contained too many partisan provisions. The $1.1 billion measure had already appeared sure to die in the Senate next at the hands of filibustering Democrats backing Obama's $1.9 billion request and opposing spending cuts that House Republicans added to the measure. (6/23)
The Wall Street Journal: Gridlock Over Funding Threatens To Stall Obama Plan To Fight Zika Virus
White House principal deputy press secretary Eric Schultz ... called the $1.1 billion deal “totally inadequate,” saying that Republican lawmakers had turned a public health issue into a partisan political exercise. “We urge Republicans to stop turning this into a political football and actually get to work, come up with a proposal that’s going to serve the American people,” Mr. Schultz said. Mr. Schultz ticked through a list of problems with the measure that passed the House, raising objections to what he said was insufficient funding. The bill also would “steal money” from other public-health priorities, he said, cutting unused funds from the Affordable Care Act, funds to fight Ebola and money from the Health and Human Services Department. (Armour and McCain Nelson, 6/23)
Reuters: White House Threatens To Veto Republicans' Zika Funding Plan
The administration also criticized the bill for limiting contraception access for women seeking to prevent Zika, which can be spread through unprotected sex. (Rampton and Cornwell, 6/23)
The Hill: White House Threatens Veto Of GOP's Zika Bill
Senate Democrats say the bill is all but doomed in the upper chamber, where it will need support from members of their party to pass. Lawmakers and aides say that would be extremely unlikely after Democratic lawmakers were dropped from the previously bipartisan talks. (Ferris, 6/23)
Stat: White House Threatens To Veto Zika Bill As Senate Barrels Toward Uncertain Vote
[Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell] chided Democrats for having “phony excuses” to oppose the bill. “Democrats should work with us to pass Zika control funding again, not block funding for combatting this virus,” he said in a Senate floor speech. “Phony excuses and made-up objections to the funding we’ve already passed won’t help create a vaccine or eradicate the threat of Zika.” (Scott, 6/23)
Politico Pro: Zika Funding Fight Could Drag On For Weeks
The House isn't scheduled to return from recess until July 5. That leaves the House and Senate just a few work days when they’re both scheduled to be in Washington until both chambers depart until Labor Day. (Ehley and Haberkorn, 6/23)
Kaiser Health News: A Primer: How The Fight Against Zika Might Be Funded
The Obama administration says the Zika virus is the nation’s next big public health threat. But there is continuing disagreement on how much money it will take to counter it and where that money will come from. And delays in reconciling those visions could be forestalling needed intervention to head off the mosquito-borne virus, whose rapid spread globally has for months fueled concerns. (Luthra, updated 6/23)
Media outlets also offer coverage of Zika news in the states —
Richmond Times-Dispatch: Va. Health Commissioner Urges Preventative Zika Efforts
One thing was clear when Virginia Health Commissioner Dr. Marissa Levine spoke to the state Senate Finance Committee about the Zika virus Thursday: A lot remains unclear about the virus, making prevention all the more important. ... Twenty-seven Virginians have been infected with the virus, the Virginia Department of Health’s website reported Thursday. That marks the fifth consecutive week the number has increased. Last week, the website showed that 26 residents in the state had been infected. (Demeria, 6/23)
Orlando Sentinel: Zika Update: Central Florida Total Reaches 28
The number of Zika cases have been steadily climbing in Florida since the state began reporting them in early February, and they passed the 200 count this week. As of Thursday, there were 213 cases of travel-related Zika in Florida, 40 of which are in pregnant women. (Miller, 6/23)
The Dallas Morning News: 10th Person With Zika Confirmed In Dallas County, But There Could Be 10 More Cases
Ten people in Dallas County have Zika, and 10 pregnant women have "possible infection" with the virus, health officials said Thursday. The latest person to test positive for the virus is a 55-year-old Irving resident who traveled to Guatemala recently, the Dallas County Department Health and Human Services said in a news release. (Rajwani and Yasmin, 6/23)
If the court had upheld the deferred action programs, more than half a million immigrants in the country illegally could have become eligible for state-funded health insurance.
Los Angeles Times: Supreme Court Decision Deals Blow To Health Coverage Efforts In California
The Supreme Court decision Thursday effectively blocking President Obama’s immigration programs also comes as a blow to California legislators who have been fighting to offer health insurance to people living in the country illegally. Immigrants living in the U.S. without authorization can’t enroll in Obamacare and make up a large portion of those who remain uninsured in California. But an unusual state policy allows those granted temporary relief from deportation to sign up for Medi-Cal, the state’s low-income health program. (Karlamangla, 6/23)
In other news, the Texas abortion case is one of the three remaining decisions expected to be announced on Monday —
The Associated Press: Abortion, McDonnell Appeal Among Last Supreme Court Cases
After issuing a flurry of decisions on Thursday, the Supreme Court will close out its current term with opinions next week in its remaining three cases. The court meets Monday for a final time before the justices disperse on their summer breaks. The last three cases concern regulation of Texas abortion clinics, the public corruption conviction of former Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia and a federal law that seeks to keep guns out of the hands of people convicted of domestic violence. (Sherman, 6/24)
Hundreds of thousands of Louisiana residents have enrolled since the state expanded Medicaid earlier this month — and part of that can be traced to former Gov. Bobby Jindal's policies.
Politico Pro: How Medicaid Expansion Took Off In Louisiana
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