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Category Archives: Health Care

CRS – Abortion: Judicial History and Legislative Response

CRS report via FAS – Abortion: Judicial History and Legislative Response, Jon O. Shimabukuro, Legislative Attorney. September 29, 2017.
“In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded in Roe v. Wade that the U.S. Constitution protects a woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy. In Doe v. Bolton, a companion decision, the Court found that a state may not unduly burden the exercise of that fundamental right with regulations that prohibit or substantially limit access to the means of effectuating the decision to have an abortion. Rather than settle the issue, the Court’s rulings since Roe and Doe have continued to generate debate and have precipitated a variety of governmental actions at the national, state, and local levels designed either to nullify the rulings or limit their effect. These governmental regulations have, in turn, spawned further litigation in which resulting judicial refinements in the law have been no more successful in dampening the controversy. In recent years, the rights enumerated in Roe have been redefined by decisions such as Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, which gave greater leeway to the states to restrict abortion, and Rust v. Sullivan, which narrowed the scope of permissible abortion-related activities that are linked to federal funding. The Court’s decision in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, which established the “undue burden” standard for determining whether abortion restrictions are permissible, gave Congress additional impetus to move on statutory responses to the abortion issue, such as the Freedom of Choice Act. Legislation to prohibit a specific abortion procedure, the so – called “partial-birth” abortion procedure, was passed in the 108th Congress. The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act appears to be one of the only examples of Congress restricting the performance of a medical procedure. Legislation that would prohibit the knowing transport of a minor across state lines for the purpose of obtaining an abortion has been introduced in numerous Congresses. Since Roe, Congress has attached abortion funding restrictions to various appropriations measures. The greatest focus has arguably been on restricting Medicaid abortions under the annual appropriations for the Department of Health and Human Services. This restriction is commonly referred to as the “ Hyde Amendment” because of its original sponsor. Similar restrictions affect the appropriations for other federal entities, including the Department of Justice, where federal funds may not be used to perform abortions in the federal prison system, except in cases of rape or if the life of the mother would been endangered. Hyde-type amendments also have an impact in the District of Columbia, where federal funds may not be used to perform abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or where the life of the mother would be endangered, and affect international organizations like the United Nations Population Fund, which receives funds through the annual Foreign Operations appropriations measure…”

Elsevier launches free science definitions service

Times Higher Education – “Publishing giant Elsevier is launching a new service that provides encyclopedia-style entries on key scientific topics. Previously, researchers reading journal articles on the Dutch company’s ScienceDirect platform would have had to leave the site if they wished to find basic information about a term or concept – with many likely to… Continue Reading

Proliferation of diseases resistant to antibiotics poses deadly healthcare challenge

Wired: “…Last August, a woman in her 70s checked into a hospital in Reno, Nevada with a bacterial infection in her hip. The bug belonged to a class of particularly tenacious microbes known as carpabenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CREs. Except in addition to carpabenem, this bug was also resistant to tetracycline, and colistin, and every single… Continue Reading

Preliminary Analysis of Legislation That Would Replace Subsidies for Health Care With Block Grants

As posted on Senator Bill Cassidy’s website on September 25, 2017. “At the request of the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, the Congressional Budget Office and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have analyzed the direct spending and revenue effects of legislation sponsored by Senators Graham, Cassidy, Heller, and Johnson that would… Continue Reading

Debunking Study Suggests Ways to Counter Misinformation and Correct ‘Fake News’

News release: “It’s no use simply telling people they have their facts wrong. To be more effective at correcting misinformation in news accounts and intentionally misleading “fake news,” you need to provide a detailed counter-message with new information – and get your audience to help develop a new narrative. Those are some takeaways from an… Continue Reading

Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the U.S.: 2016

“The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that real median household income increased by 3.2 percent between 2015 and 2016, while the official poverty rate decreased 0.8 percentage points. At the same time, the percentage of people without health insurance coverage decreased. Median household income in the United States in 2016 was $59,039, an increase in… Continue Reading

Global Health and the Future Role of the United States

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Global Health and the Future Role of the United States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/24737. “While much progress has been made on achieving the Millenium Development Goals over the last decade, the number and complexity of global health challenges has persisted. Growing forces for globalization… Continue Reading

NYT – If You Build It, the Dutch Will Pedal

If You Build It, the Dutch Will Pedal – “Utrecht, the Netherlands’ fastest growing city, is one of the world’s most bike-friendly places in one of the world’s most bike-friendly countries… In a country where there are more bikes than people — 22.5 million vs. 18 million — daily usage has grown 11 percent in… Continue Reading

CDC – Stay Safer After Hurricanes, Flooding

“Hurricanes can cause dangerous and destructive high winds, flooding, heavy rain, and storm surges. Keep your family safe after a hurricane has made landfall. There may be a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, downed power lines, and mold, among others. For tips on how to be safe after a hurricane: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/after.html. Below are a few… Continue Reading

Words ‘climate change’ removed from NIH website removes

Update via the Observer, August 25, 2017 – Energy Department Tells Scientist to Remove ‘Climate Change’ From Study – “On August 24, the Trump administration’s Department of Energy censored a Facilities Integrating Collaborations for User Science proposal from Dr. Jennifer Bowen, an associate professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She posted a screenshot of the email on Facebook,… Continue Reading

CBO – The Effects of Terminating Payments for Cost-Sharing Reductions

“Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurers receive federal payments to cover costs incurred when offering plans with reduced deductibles, copayments, and other cost sharing to some people who purchase plans through the ACA marketplaces. If those payments for cost-sharing reductions stopped after the end of this year, participating insurers would raise premiums to cover… Continue Reading

Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade: 2017 Annual Report

United States International Trade Commission – Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade: 2017 Annual Report, May 2017 “Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade: 2017 Annual Report focuses on U.S. exports and imports of professional services, particularly accounting and auditing, architecture and engineering, legal, and management consulting services. In 2015, the United States exported $139.7 billion… Continue Reading