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Biden administration poised to change Trump restrictions on fetal tissue research

Biden administration poised to change Trump restrictions on fetal tissue research

The Biden administration is preparing to announce Friday that it will alter Trump-era restrictions on federal funding of research that uses fetal tissue, according to the nation’s top health official, potentially allowing a resumption of thwarted scientific studies into covid-19 treatments, HIV and other diseases.Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra told Capitol Hill lawmakers Thursday that the National Institutes of Health would make an announcement about what he characterized as a fetal tissue ban.Becerra did not disclose details of the imminent policy shift. Still he made...

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Amy Goldstein
Apr 15
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Should health-care workers be required to get coronavirus shots? Companies grapple with mandates.

Should health-care workers be required to get coronavirus shots? Companies grapple with mandates.

ADThe workers at 22 assisted-living communities run by a company called Silverado help people with receding memory — dementia or other waning. Even before vaccines were available, company leaders last fall waged a wrenching internal debate: How could they ensure their staff would get shots to protect themselves and the exquisitely vulnerable residents in their care?Silverado medical directors and nurses, human resource specialists and lawyers teased out the pros and cons of a mandate. Initially, they rejected that idea in favor of long, frequent webinars urging the shots and on-site...

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Amy Goldstein
Apr 5
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Biden lengthens Affordable Care Act insurance sign-ups until mid-August

Biden lengthens Affordable Care Act insurance sign-ups until mid-August

ADPresident Biden announced Tuesday that the federal insurance marketplace will remain open for consumers to buy Affordable Care Act health plans through mid-August, doubling the length of an unprecedented extra enrollment period that launched last month.Speaking at a cancer hospital and research institute at Ohio State University, Biden made the announcement as part of a recognition of the ACA’s 11th anniversary. The sprawling health-care law has helped more than 20 million Americans gain coverage through marketplace health plans and Medicaid, and it has altered many other aspects of the...

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Seung Min Kim
Mar 23
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Becerra squeaks through confirmation vote to become HHS secretary

Becerra squeaks through confirmation vote to become HHS secretary

ADXavier Becerra narrowly won confirmation Thursday to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency pivotal to President Biden’s urgent goal of defeating the pandemic and expanding access to health care.Becerra, a congressman from Los Angeles for two dozen years and then California attorney general, squeaked by on a vote of 50 to 49, the closest margin for any of the Biden Cabinet members the Senate has confirmed so far.He becomes the first Latino secretary of HHS, the largest federal department in terms of spending. The department includes agencies at the core of the...

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Amy Goldstein
Mar 18
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Federal officials relax guidance on nursing home visits, citing vaccines and slowing infections

Federal officials relax guidance on nursing home visits, citing vaccines and slowing infections

ADFederal health officials on Wednesday substantially relaxed the government’s guidelines for family and friends to see nursing home residents in person, saying that vaccinations and a slowing of infections in the facilities warrant restoring indoor visits in most situations.The nursing home guidance, the first federal advice on the subject since September, says “outdoor visitation is preferred,” even when a nursing home resident and family or friends are fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.But acknowledging that weather or a resident’s poor health might make an outdoor visit...

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Amy Goldstein
Mar 10
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More than 200,000 Americans sign up for ACA health plans during special enrollment period

More than 200,000 Americans sign up for ACA health plans during special enrollment period

ADMore than 200,000 Americans signed up for Affordable Care Act health plans during the first two weeks of an extended enrollment period President Biden ordered to help more people find insurance amid the economic ripple effects caused by the pandemic.Figures released Wednesday by federal health officials show the number of consumers who chose coverage through HealthCare.gov from Feb. 15 to Feb. 28 — 206,236 — was nearly three times higher than during the same period last year and roughly 3½ times greater than in 2019.But the demand for ACA health plans during this early phase of the...

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Amy Goldstein
Mar 3
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Biden administration provides slim increase in help for ACA insurance coaches

Biden administration provides slim increase in help for ACA insurance coaches

ADThe Biden administration is providing a modest amount of additional help to community groups coaching consumers to sign up for Affordable Care Act health plans during the 2 1/2 months remaining in an extended shopping period for such insurance.The $2.3 million, announced Monday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), is being delivered after some of the groups, known as navigators, they had little money left after a regular enrollment season ended late last year. They had no way to anticipate that President Biden would order HealthCare.gov, the federal online ACA...

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Amy Goldstein
Mar 2
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Becerra falls in line with Biden health policies at Senate confirmation hearing

Becerra falls in line with Biden health policies at Senate confirmation hearing

ADXavier Becerra, nominated to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, made clear Tuesday he would adhere to President Biden’s goal of expanding health coverage through existing law, jettisoning his own prior enthusiasm for a government-paid health-care system.With some Senate Republicans assailing him as an unqualified radical, Becerra sought — during the first of two confirmation hearings — to dispel the characterization of him as anything but a loyal foot soldier to the president and an advocate for the nation’s underserved.“The mission of HHS to enhance the health and...

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Amy Goldstein
Feb 23
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Becerra commits to private-sector Medicare but indicates it is too generous

Becerra commits to private-sector Medicare but indicates it is too generous

ADXavier Becerra, President Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, pledged Wednesday to support Medicare Advantage, the increasingly popular private form of the federal insurance system for older Americans — but indicated he had qualms about more generous benefits it offers.Testifying at a confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, Becerra said he “will make sure that there is a level playing field” between traditional Medicare and the private-sector version.He told senators that it is especially important to avoid overpaying private health plans...

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Amy Goldstein
Feb 25
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Biden administration removes Trump-era restrictions on fetal tissue research

Biden administration removes Trump-era restrictions on fetal tissue research

The National Institutes of Health on Friday removed restrictions that the Trump administration imposed on research using fetal tissue, allowing university researchers and government scientists freer rein to use material from elective abortions when studying diseases and possible treatments.A brief update for outside scientists from the NIH director’s office said the Department of Health and Human Services was reversing a 2019 decision that had required applicants for federal grants and contracts involving fetal tissue to undergo an extra layer of review by an ethics advisory board.In a...

washingtonpost.com
Amy Goldstein
Apr 16
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