Healthcare News August 4, 2012

  • Senators introduce bill to exclude hemp from controlled substance list

    A group of bipartisan senators introduced a bill on Thursday that would exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana.

    Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced the bill, which has three co-sponsors — Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).

  • Report: Wheaton covered morning-after pill before suing over HHS mandate

    A prominent plaintiff against the Obama administration’s birth-control mandate reportedly covered emergency contraception before filing its suit.

    Ill.-based Wheaton College, a leading Protestant liberal arts school, objects to the morning-after pill as equal to abortion.

    But the controversial birth-control method was part of the school’s health plan when the mandate was announced, according to The Huffington Post.

  • New GOP bill would clarify that healthcare mandate is not a tax

    House Republicans proposed a bill Thursday to clarify that the individual mandate in the 2010 healthcare law, and associated penalties for not buying health insurance, “shall not be construed as a tax.”

    The bill is an attempt to get around the Supreme Court’s June decision that the mandate and its penalties can be seen as constitutional when viewed as a tax. That ruling infuriated Republicans, who have since sought to cast the health law as a giant tax hike that violates President Obama’s pledge not to impose any taxes on the middle class.

  • Study: Unsafe injection practices demand more action

    More action is needed to combat unsafe injection practices, which can lead to outbreaks of viral hepatitis, a new report urges.

    Investigators with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that costs for such outbreaks “can be substantial for those affected” — both patients and the healthcare system — but that comprehensive data on the trend is lacking.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were at least 18 outbreaks of viral hepatitis associated with unsafe injections between 2001 and 2011.

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