In This Edition:
From Kaiser Health News:
Louisiana’s decision to accept the federal health law program to provide coverage to more low-income residents is being watched around the South, including in Georgia, where deep-seated opposition is showing some small signs of cracks. (Andy Miller, Georgia Health News, 6/29)
The changes announced Thursday seek to eliminate the backlog by 2021. (Susan Jaffe, 6/29)
Using run-down motels to care for and temporarily house homeless people recently discharged from the hospital helps stabilize them inexpensively, preventing unnecessary and costly returns to ERs and hospitals. (David Gorn, 6/29)
A small group of advocates and entrepreneurs is using mobile phones and digital scales to make a difference in the health of poor people, too. (Barbara Feder Ostrov, 6/29)
Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'What A Coincidence'" by Mike s.
Here's today's health policy haiku:
AND OLD MOTEL BECOMES A ‘RECUPERATIVE CARE CENTERS’
It’s found new purpose.
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Summaries Of The News:
The Republicans are accusing Democrats of being "sore losers," while the Democrats are saying that including poison pills in the legislation is a "cynical ploy." Meanwhile, the vote against the funding leaves very little time for the two sides to work out their differences before summer recess.
The New York Times: Zika Bill Is Blocked By Senate Democrats Upset Over Provisions
Senate Democrats on Tuesday blocked a federal spending bill that would have provided $1.1 billion to fight the mosquito-borne Zika virus, saying Republicans had sabotaged the legislation with politically charged provisions. The move raised the possibility that no new money would be available soon to fight the disease as Southern states brace for a summer outbreak. The stalemate, accompanied by a sharp war of words on the Senate floor, raised the prospect that the partisan divide in Congress was hindering the government’s ability to respond effectively to a pressing public health emergency. (Herszenhorn, 6/28)
The Associated Press: Senate Democrats Block GOP's Zika Funding Bill
Democrats blocked the GOP-drafted measure by a 52-48 vote Tuesday — short of the 60 votes required to advance it. The party faulted Republicans for packing the bill with provisions designed to deny new funding for Planned Parenthood clinics in Puerto Rico and ease rules on pesticide spraying. What happens next is unclear. Neither side is looking forward to leaving Washington next month for a seven-week vacation without having acted to address the health threat, but hard feelings seemed to harden in the immediate aftermath of the vote, leaving any path forward in doubt. (Taylor, 6/28)
The Wall Street Journal: Zika Spending Bill Is Blocked By Senate Democrats Due To Planned Parenthood Exclusion
The bill, which Republicans wrote and pushed through the House on June 23 in the midst of the Democrats’ sit-in on the House floor over gun control, would direct $1.1 billion to research the virus, develop a vaccine, and give certain health-care providers money to respond to an expected influx of patients. The measure would direct the money through hospitals and public health clinics as opposed to women’s health clinics such as those operated by Planned Parenthood. (Hughes and Armour, 6/28)
The Washington Post: Zika Funding Stalls In The Senate Amid Partisan Rift
The House-passed measure would provide $1.1 billion to fight the mosquito-borne virus through September 2017, including funds to help develop a vaccine. The spending would be offset by $750 million in savings, including $107 million in unused Ebola funds, $100 million in cuts to administrative funding for the Department of Health and Human Services and $534 million from unspent Affordable Care Act money for health-care exchanges in U.S. territories. The package also loosens Environmental Protection Agency restrictions on pesticides and strikes a measure that would have banned the display of the Confederate battle flag at cemeteries run by the Department of Veterans Affairs. (Snell and DeBonis, 6/28)
Reuters: U.S. Lawmakers Deadlock On Zika Virus Funds
It was unclear when Congress would revisit the issue. Democrats urged bipartisan talks, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, said lawmakers would address the matter again sometime after the July 4 national holiday next week. (Cornwell, 6/28)
The Hill: Blame Game Begins On Zika Funding
Republicans slammed Democrats for voting down the $1.1 billion bill, arguing the party is standing in the way of funding it has claimed for months to desperately want. Democrats countered that the bill was not a serious effort at bipartisan compromise and was loaded with unacceptable riders .... Asked if he is willing to reconsider the Planned Parenthood provision given that it is the focus of the Democratic objections, McConnell said: “Well, it’s an interesting discussion, but it’s irrelevant. This is a conference report. It’s not amendable. It’s not amendable.” (Sullivan, 6/28)
Stat: Senate Vote On Zika Money Fails, Leaving Funding Future Uncertain
In the meantime, public health officials are emphasizing the need for action. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement Tuesday afternoon that without more funding from Congress, several parts of its Zika response could be delayed or put on hold. (Scott, 6/28)
Reuters: White House Chides Congress For Failing To Fund Zika
White House spokesman Josh Earnest, on Tuesday, chided Republicans for failing to push forward with the president's request for funding to combat the Zika virus and address an urgent public health crisis. "They need that money right now," Earnest told reporters. (Rascoe and Zargham, 6/28)
The orders follow a ruling Monday which struck down the admitting privileges law for abortion clinics in Texas.
The New York Times: Justices’ Orders Underscore Ruling Against Abortion Limits
The Supreme Court on Tuesday let stand appeals court decisions that had blocked abortion restrictions in Mississippi and Wisconsin. The orders, part of a final set from the court before the justices left for their summer break, underscored the sweeping nature of Monday’s abortion rights decision striking down similar restrictions in Texas. In the Mississippi case, Currier v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, No. 14-997, a divided panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, had said the challenged law would have shut down the state’s only abortion clinic. (Liptak, 6/28)
The Wall Street Journal: Supreme Court Denies Mississippi, Wisconsin Efforts To Reinstate Abortion Laws
The brief, unsigned orders rejecting the state appeals, reflected the first fallout of the court’s decision to strike down Texas provisions that included the admitting-privileges mandate along with a requirement that abortion clinics meet the strict building standards of ambulatory surgical centers. If implemented, the Mississippi measure was expected to lead to the closure of the state’s only abortion facility. (Bravin and Radnofsky, 6/28)
Reuters: Supreme Court Spurns Abortion Restrictions In Two More States
Reverberations from the U.S. Supreme Court's major ruling backing abortion rights were felt on Tuesday as the justices rejected bids by Mississippi and Wisconsin to revive restrictions on abortion doctors matching those struck down in Texas on Monday. (Hurley, 6/28)