Healthcare News April 27, 2013

  • Senators push expanded oversight of compound pharmacies

    A bipartisan group of senators wants to give federal regulators greater oversight of compound pharmacies following bacterial contaminations nationwide that have killed at least 50 people and sickened hundreds more.

    Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) released a draft bill on Friday to make the blurry regulatory lines surrounding the pharmacies more clear.

  • Senate Dems introduce tobacco tax measure

    The bill would tax all tobacco products at the same rate and hike taxes by 93 percent.

  • GOP bill hits alleged ObamaCare exemption talks

    Republicans introduced a bill Friday in response to allegations that top congressional officials are seeking to exempt Capitol Hill from ObamaCare’s health insurance exchanges.

    The measure from Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) would require that all federal employees — including the president, vice president and Cabinet members — purchase coverage through the marketplaces.

    “If the ObamaCare exchanges are good enough for the hardworking Americans and small businesses the law claims to help, then they should be good enough for the president, vice president, Congress, and federal employees,” Camp spokeswoman Sarah Swinehart said in a statement. 

  • Cancer group pitches higher cigarette tax as cost-saver

    A prominent anti-cancer group backed President Obama’s proposal to nearly double the federal cigarette tax, arguing the move would save billions in long-term healthcare costs by discouraging smoking.

    The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) estimated Friday that embracing a $1.95-per-pack tax on cigarettes would save the United States more than $63 billion in the long term and prevent hundreds of thousands of premature deaths.

    “[Obama’s] proposal comes at a time when there is much conversation about how to reduce healthcare costs,” said CEO John R. Seffrin in a statement. 

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