Healthcare News February 5, 2013

  • House sends two children’s health bills to the Senate

    The House on Monday approved two non-controversial children’s healthcare bills that they had approved in the last Congress, and sent them on to the Senate.

    In a 375-27 vote, members approved H.R. 225, the National Pediatric Research Network Act. This bill would create a national pediatric research network consisting of research consortia that can receive grants from the National Institutes of Health.

  • OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Preemie Act is back

    Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) will reintroduce the Preemie Reauthorization Act — a bill to make the study and prevention of premature births an explicit federal priority — this week. The bill would renew funding ordered under the original Preemie Act of 2006, and had 63 bipartisan co-sponsors in the last Congress. A Senate version passed in November.

    Premature births are those that take place before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy, when infants’ brains and lungs are at a critical stage of development. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists respiratory problems and intellectual disabilities among the possible side effects, and studies have shown that preterm births weigh more heavily than normal births on the federal Medicaid budget, which covers about 40 percent of all deliveries in the United States.

    “Even babies born just a few weeks too soon can face serious
    health challenges and are at risk for lifelong disabilities, including
    cerebral palsy, lung problems, vision and hearing loss, and learning
    disabilities,” Eshoo and Lance wrote in The Hill in November. “In addition to its human toll, prematurity costs our economy at least $26 billion per year.”

  • Amgen tweaks lobbying roster after win on ‘fiscal cliff’ bill

    Pharmaceutical giant Amgen has adjusted its lobbying force after scoring a windfall from the “fiscal cliff” deal.

    Amgen has cut ties with one firm that lobbied for the company on drug reimbursement issues, according to federal disclosure records, and followed another lobbyist who worked on the issue to his new firm.

    The changes to Amgen’s K Street roster are taking place after the company scored big with a provision in the fiscal-cliff bill that delayed Medicare price controls for a class of drugs that included one of the company’s products.

    That provision, which was publicized by financial analysts after the fiscal-cliff bill became law, has sparked outrage on Capitol Hill and drawn repeal bills from several lawmakers.

  • President George H.W. Bush spotted after hospital release

    Former President George H.W. Bush was spotted Saturday night out to dinner in Houston, an encouraging sign after an intense hospitalization that lasted nearly two months.

    President George H.W. Bush out to dinner Saturday night in Houston, first since hospitalization.

    — Janet Shamlian (@JanetShamlian) February 4, 2013

    Bush, 88, was discharged late last month after seven weeks of treatment for bronchitis, a bacterial infection and a persistent cough. For a time he was in a Houston-area hospital’s intensive care unit, and treatment was expected to continue back at his private home.

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