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Territories Get A Break - Health Care Edge: Brought to you by America's Biopharmaceutical Companies Territories Get A Break - Health Care Edge: Brought to you by America'...

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Territories Get A Break - Health Care Edge: Brought to you by America's Biopharmaceutical Companies

Territories Get A Break

By Sophie Novack and Sam Baker

 

NO OBAMACARE HERE: The Obama administration has essentially canceled Obamacare for U.S. territories, which had been facing an untenable situation under the law. Previously, the territories had all the same regulations as the states -- including the requirement that insurers cover sick people -- but their residents weren't bound by the individual mandate and couldn't receive subsidies to help cover their premiums. That combination all but guaranteed skyrocketing prices and diminished choices. So, in a reversal of its earlier position, the department of Health and Human Services decided to waive insurance regulations in the territories altogether. In essence, there's no Obamacare there now.

Top Health Care News

TERRITORIES: The exemption for Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands was posted on a HHS website Thursday. (Jason Millman, Washington Post)

ADMINISTRATIVE RESPONSE TO HOBBY LOBBY: The Department of Labor announced Thursday that closely-held corporations will have to notify their employees if they plan to drop contraception coverage from their health plans following the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision. The announcement is a response to the Senate's failure to advance a bill yesterday that would require employers to cover contraception regardless of their religious beliefs. (Stephanie Armour, Wall Street Journal)

 
  • Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin praised the administration's move, and proposed legislation of his own, the Preventive Care Coverage Notification Act, which would require employers to inform current, as well as prospective, employees about their contraception coverage.

TOP AIDS RESEARCHERS AMONG VICTIMS OF MALAYSIA FLIGHT CRASH: Over 100 of the 298 people on board the civilian airliner struck down in eastern Ukraine Thursday were AIDS researchers, health workers, and activists on their way to the International AIDS Conference in Australia, set to begin Sunday. (Rick Wallace, The Australian)

  • Among the victims were Joep Lange, a prominent HIV researcher and former president of the International AIDS Society, and Glenn Thomas, a World Health Organization media relations coordinator. (Julia Belluz, Vox)

Insurance

INSURANCE GIANT TO EXPAND OBAMACARE OFFERINGS: UnitedHealth Group, the nation's largest insurer, said Thursday that it will participate in up to 24 insurance exchanges in 2015, up from only four this year. (Tom Murphy, Associated Press)

  • The company reported better than expected revenue for the second quarter, with growth in its public and senior markets. (Michael Calia and Anna Wilde Mathews, Wall Street Journal)

WHAT'S AT STAKE IN THE HALBIG CASE?: A report from Urban Institute researchers estimates that a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs could cause an estimated 7.3 million people -- about 62 percent of the people expected to enroll in federally facilitated marketplaces by 2016 -- to lose out on $36.1 billion in insurance subsidies. The D.C. Circuit could issue its decision any day now.

WHAT'S GOING ON WITH THE EMPLOYER MANDATE?: Following two delays, the requirement is set to begin in January, but businesses are still waiting on final word from the administration on whether they'll need to track and report employee coverage. (Elise Viebeck and Benjamin Goad, The Hill)

 

Drugs

FEDEX INDICTED FOR ASSISTING ILLEGAL PHARMACIES: The company is charged with conspiring with two online pharmacies for ten years, knowingly delivering painkillers and other dangerous drugs to customers without prescriptions. (Paul Elias, Associated Press)

ABBVIE TO BUY SHIRE FOR $54.8 BILLION: The deal is the latest in a wave of drug companies moving their tax residence abroad to cut rates. (Simeon Bennett and Caroline Chen, Bloomberg Businessweek)

Veterans Affairs

CRITICS SAY VA USES PATIENT PRIVACY TO STOP WHISTLEBLOWERS:The department is using patient privacy protections in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act to threaten employees who reveal misconduct, according to the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Rep. Jeff Miller, and the union that represents most VA employees. (Joe Davidson, Washington Post)

Don't Miss Today's Top Stories

Health Care Edge is one of my top resources."

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Great news in short form along with much needed humor."

Patrick, President of private healthcare consulting firm

Informative and help[s] me stay on track. "

Director of Scientific Affairs, Non-profit medicial society

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Congress

EXPERTS SAY HOSPITAL SAFETY REMAINS A BIG CONCERN: Witnesses before the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging Thursday said that the problem of patients dying or being injured due to hospital errors is underaddressed, and has not been improved since it was first brought to light in a report 15 years ago. (Sabriya Rice, Modern Healthcare)

SEC SAYS HOUSE INSIDER TRADING PROBE INVOLVES 44 HEDGE FUNDS: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission subpoenaed the House Ways and Means Committee and staff member Brian Sutter to investigate whether information was illegally given about a change in health policy, resulting in a rise in share prices of insurance companies. (Patricia Hurtado, Bloomberg)

Illness and Prevention

FIRST LOCALLY ACQUIRED CASE OF MOSQUITO-BORNE VIRUS: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday that two cases of chikungunya have been reported in Florida in individuals who had not recently left the country. The virus has surfaced in American travellers to the Caribbean, but this is the first report of it being transmitted by local mosquitos, which raises the threat. (David Adams, Reuters)

STUDY: SCREENING MAMMOGRAMS ARE MORE EXPENSIVE, BUT NOT MORE EFFECTIVE: Screening mammography did not seem to improve rate or stage of breast cancer, according to a paper published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, but it is significantly more expensive. (Aaron Carroll, Incidental Economist)

Happening Today

We're monitoring the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit for a decision on Halbig v. Sebelius, which could come any day now. The lawsuit challenges the legality of government subsidies for ACA plans on the federal marketplace, and if successful, could have a devastating effect on the health care law. The D.C. court has been known to release decisions on Tuesdays and Fridays between 10 and 11 a.m.

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Don't Miss Today's Top Stories

Health Care Edge is one of my top resources."

Meghan, Associate Specialist

Great news in short form along with much needed humor."

Patrick, President of private healthcare consulting firm

Informative and help[s] me stay on track. "

Director of Scientific Affairs, Non-profit medicial society

Sign up form for the newsletter
 
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