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Health Care

Honoring World War II Merchant Marine Veterans | Commentary

A small group of heroes is walking the halls of Congress this week, proudly sharing memories of the work they and friends long gone did more than 70 years ago to help the Allied forces win World War II.

Spike in West Africa Ebola Cases Shows Need to Address Underlying Health Care Needs | Commentary

On May 20, the World Health Organization reported a substantial increase in the weekly total of new Ebola cases in both Guinea and Sierra Leone and responded by deploying a response team. This comes in the shadow of the success in Liberia that was proclaimed to be Ebola-free in May, the result of a comprehensive response by President Barack Obama and his administration to invest in Liberia’s health care infrastructure. Although a lot of the attention to the U.S. response focused on the role of the American military, our response was actually much more thorough. The United States provided personal protective equipment, funded and trained medical workers, deployed laboratories, supported disease tracing and started a large-scale social messaging campaign to inform Liberians about practices to protect themselves from infection.

States Perplexed by White House Silence On Obamacare Contingencies

With the fate of President Barack Obama’s top legislative accomplishment hanging in the balance, state officials are increasingly concerned by the administration’s refusal to discuss contingency plans for insurance markets, should the Supreme Court later this month strike down 2010 health care law subsidies for 6.4 million low- and middle-income people.

Obama's Clean Power Plan: Let's Listen to Experts, Learn From Experience | Commentary

President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan has no shortage of critics, but it’s important to ask whether those criticisms are in good faith. Of course every policy should be carefully scrutinized, but we would be wise to base arguments on the facts provided by the experts. That way we can base our scrutiny on the real issues, instead of on talking points.

Marijuana Foes, Friends Agree on Need for Research

House appropriators have a bipartisan curiosity about pot.

Congress Flatlines VA Construction Budget

Congressional consternation with the Department of Veterans Affairs’ handling of large construction projects has been stewing for some time, and 2015 appears to be the year lawmakers intend to put their feet down.

Deadline Puts Focus on Denver VA Hospital Project

As if Congress doesn’t have enough to do before its Memorial Day recess, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald has warned lawmakers that unless they authorize more money by next week for building the new veterans hospital in Denver, the project will probably come to a halt.

Protecting the Hours and Wages of Restaurant Employees | Commentary

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — now known to most Americans as Obamacare — is a law littered with unintended consequences. Perhaps the most egregious is the number of part-time employees seeing their hours and wages cut as employers scramble to comply with the law’s employer mandate.

FDA's Mandate Gets More Complicated

The Food and Drug Administration is tweaking the way it evaluates medical devices at a time when the agency finds itself at the center of a wide range of pressing health issues, from food safety to drug formulation and policing the pharmaceuticals supply chain.

FDA Releases Framework for Considering Patient Experiences in Its Medical-Device Reviews

For decades, the Food and Drug Administration and the medical device industry have puzzled over how to factor the experiences of patients when making regulatory decisions. This month, they got some answers.

Why All Methods of FDA-Approved Birth Control Must Be Covered by Insurance | Commentary

Over the past few years, millions of women have gone to the pharmacy to fill their birth control prescription, or visited the doctor to have an intrauterine device inserted, and learned their birth control is fully covered, without a copayment. Some of these women used to pay hundreds of dollars a year out-of-pocket for birth control. But among the Affordable Care Act’s dramatic advancements for women’s preventive health is a provision that requires insurance companies to cover birth control without a copay.

Act Like Young Lives Are At Stake | Commentary

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grabbed headlines with eye-popping figures on use of e-cigarettes by middle school- and high school-age children from their National Youth Tobacco Survey. The survey found that e-cigarette use among high school students tripled in the last year. It isn’t every day that the public takes note of trends in youth tobacco use. So it would be a shame if the Obama administration didn’t take some courage from that concern and attention.

Medical Billing System Rollout Date Is Elusive

The American Hospital Association and America’s Health Insurance Plans have pushed to stick with the current plan for implementing the ICD-10 billing system. Many organizations began working toward the conversion of codes years ago. An initial target date for ICD-10 was October 2011, which was then pushed to October 2013. The date was delayed to October 2014, which was most recently kicked to October 2015.

Lawmakers May Let October Medical-Code Deadline Stick

The United States appears poised to join much of the developed world in switching over to a system of medical billing codes that was adopted in France, the United Kingdom, Australia and Germany more than a decade ago.

Vote Study Shows Obama Gets His Way in GOP-Controlled Senate

Republicans took the Senate in 2014 by stressing the data that CQ Roll Call’s presidential support vote study revealed: Democrats in red states were sticking close to President Barack Obama. So here’s a surprise: the new GOP majority in 2015 is voting Obama’s way as often as they ever have.

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Path Forward on Lynch Nomination Tied to Abortion Language

Senators negotiated Wednesday over how to end a legislative standoff that has stalled votes on an otherwise noncontroversial anti-human trafficking bill as well as the nomination of Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama’s pick for attorney general.

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Vote on Lynch Nomination Possible--With a Big 'If'

Loretta Lynch’s bid to be the next attorney general remains mired in Senate politics, but Republicans offered a proposal Tuesday that could lift a major hurdle to a floor vote on her nomination.

Military Construction-VA Appropriations by the Numbers

House appropriators unveiled a spending bill this week for military construction and veterans programs that would fall short of what the president wants, but would boost spending over the current level.

Appropriations Markup Puts GOP in Tough Position Of Balancing Defense, Veterans Spending

The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill House appropriators planned to mark up Wednesday clearly illustrates the dilemma of Republican congressional leaders this year in trying to hold the line or reduce spending while not shortchanging their most sacrosanct areas of government — national defense and the care of veterans.

Ted Cruz Wants to Use Religion to Discriminate in Our Nation's Capital | Commentary

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

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