Healthcare News July 18, 2012

  • OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Funding fight resumes

    It’s time for another political battle over defunding the Affordable Care Act, as well as deep cuts to other healthcare programs. Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) on Tuesday released his long-awaited and highly controversial appropriations bill for the Health and Human Services Department. It’s the last of the 12 annual appropriations bills to be released, and will surely become a major issue in Rehberg’s Senate race.

    Overall, Rehberg’s proposal would cut the HHS budget by roughly $1.3 billion. It would block the implementation of President Obama’s healthcare law, and the proposal would also eliminate all federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

    Supporters of government-funded research say the bill would also eliminate the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) — a previously non-controversial agency that hands out research grants. AcademyHealth, which represents health researchers, urged its members to “respond quickly and declaratively to this attack on research.”

    The Hill has the details of Rehberg’s proposal, which isn’t expected to reach the House floor, serving as a marker for negotiations with the Senate over an omnibus spending bill.

  • Nebraska judge dismisses lawsuit over contraception mandate

    The suit was filed by seven state attorneys general, all of whom are Republicans.

  • Grassley accuses FDA of acting like communist secret police for spying on employees

    Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) accused the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of acting like the East German secret police for closely monitoring the computer activities of some of its employees.

    The GOP senator said internal documents on the surveillance program make the FDA “sound more like the East German Stasi than a consumer protection agency in a free country.”  

    He said the documents refer to employees who leaked information as “collaborators,” congressional staff as “ancillary actors,” and newspaper reporters as “media outlet actors.”

  • Senate sees stalemate on flame-retardant furniture safety regs

    Chemicals pumped into furniture don’t do much to prevent fires and could be poisonous, a Senate hearing was told Tuesday.

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