Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 25, 2014

July 25, 2014

For Alzheimer’s, Drugs Come More Slowly, but Tests on Horizon

The Economist magazine this week points out that efforts have slowed recently in developing drug treatment options for Alzheimer’s disease. However, the article highlights progress in developing tests to identify early indicators of Alzheimer’s.

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July 24, 2014

Medical Credit Card Industry Sized Up by GAO

A group of congressional Democrats last year requested a Government Accountability Office report on companies offering “third party consumer financial products” through medical credit cards and installment loans to cover selected health procedures not normally covered by insurance.

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$330 Million in Premium Rebate Checks Are Coming

The Department of Health and Human Services today highlights one of the dividends stemming from the 2010 health care overhaul. HHS this morning announced the tally of this year’s consumer health insurance premium rebates.

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July 23, 2014

Democrats Press for E-Cigarette Regulations

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Kyle Stamm of New York smokes an e-cigarette at Henley Vaporium on April 29 in New York City. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

A group of senators has ramped up concerns about the safety of electronic cigarettes.

CQ Roll Call’s Melissa Attias reports that the Democrats, who previously focused on the children’s health concerns related to e-cigarette flavorings, are now focusing on new legislation that seeks to target the packaging containing the liquid that fuels e-cigarettes.

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By Paul Jenks Posted at 3:30 p.m.
Consumer Affairs

FDA Chief In India Departs

CQ HealthBeat’s Kerry Young reports on the departure of the Food and Drug Administration’s India office chief, Altaf Lal.

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Labor-HHS-Education Appropriator Loses Senate Bid

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Kingston, center, at the 53rd Congressional Baseball Game in Nationals Park, on June 25. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The chairman of the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee, Jack Kingston, R-Ga., was defeated in a bid to seek a Senate seat. Roll Call’s Kyle Trygstad has much more  on the results of Georgia primary runoff election, which has jolted the future plans of the House appropriations “cardinal.”

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Today’s Spotlight: Fraudulent Insurance Subsidies

A House Ways and Means oversight panel this morning examines the process for applying for the health care overhaul’s premium tax credits. The insurance subsidies are at the center of two contrasting court decisions released on Tuesday from court panels in Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Va.

This hearing, however, isn’t about the legality of the subsidies themselves — it’s about cases where people may have fraudulently attained such benefits.

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July 22, 2014

Separate Appeals Court Validates Subsidies

In a dueling series of federal appellate court rulings today, a separate decision from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., ruled that tax subsidies for health plans  are allowed for both state and federally operated exchanges.

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White House Responds to Court Decision on 2010 Overhaul (Video)

The White House press spokesman Josh Earnest today responded to federal appeals court panel ruling that health care overhaul law subsidies only apply to insurance exchanges formally established by the states.  The White House insists its legal case will prevail and anticipates the Department of Justice will ask the full court to review the decision.

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Today’s Spotlight: VA Secretary Confirmation Hearing

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McDonald speaks with Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, on July 10 on Capitol Hill. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee this afternoon holds a confirmation hearing on the nomination of Robert A. McDonald to be secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. It is likely that many questions for McDonald will focus on the VA’s health care organizational culture and management.

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Nuclear Agency Adjusts Radiation Treatment Rules

A variety of regulatory agencies supervise the delivery of health care. Perhaps the most overlooked agency is the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The NRC is responsible for monitoring the safety in the use of radiation treatments using radioactive byproduct materials.

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By Paul Jenks Posted at 8:59 a.m.
Cancer

July 21, 2014

Measuring Federal Research Performance

Medical research accounts for a large portion of federal research activities and spending. A recent Senate hearing examined broad issues relating to all federal research programs.

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Obama’s Snack Comments Upstage White House Nutrition Dinner

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The president gets a cone at a shop in St. Paul, Minn., in June. He went “off message” about ice cream during a White House event on school nutrition standards. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

First lady Michelle Obama is battling GOP congressional appropriators over possible changes to her effort to overhaul nutrition standards in the federal school lunch program. Roll Call’s Cady Zuvich reported on the recent “Kids’ State Dinner” at the White House, which touted the new USDA school nutrition standards:

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Virgin Islands’ Exemption From Health Care Law Prompts Alaska Plea

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Murkowski. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Last week, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner released a letter to a Virgin Islands official releasing U.S. territories from insurance requirements mandated by the 2010 health care overhaul law. On Friday, Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski weighed in the matter.

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New Bills: Contraceptive Services and Breast Cancer Detection

Last week’s Senate vote on a measure intended to roll back the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision prompted new legislation seeking to secure access to contraceptive services from New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker, plus a bill offered by Illinois Democrat Richard J. Durbin that would confirm recently announced Obama administration guidance on employee notification of omitted contraception coverage.

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