Healthcare News March 23, 2013

  • Senate rejects ban on allowing former illegal immigrants healthcare benefits

    The Senate rejected an amendment to the budget that would have banned illegal immigrants from qualifying for “ObamaCare” and Medicaid during the period of legal status.

    Senate Budget Committee ranking member Jeff Session (R-Ala.) introduced the amendment, which failed on a 43-56 vote. His amendment would have prohibited illegal immigrants, who later gain citizenship, from getting healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act or through Medicaid.

  • Sebelius, volunteers to talk ObamaCare enrollment

    The top U.S. health official will speak with volunteers around the country Saturday in celebration of healthcare reform’s third anniversary.

    Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will hold a conference call with volunteers in 12 states who are preparing to enroll millions of people in the law’s insurance exchanges.

    That effort will begin in October, before the marketplaces launch in January. It will be shepherded by Enroll America, a partnership of insurers, hospitals and non-profit health groups.

  • Birth control rules drawing record comments, analysis finds

    The Obama administration’s birth control rules for health insurance coverage have drawn more comments than any other regulation across the government, a watchdog group said Friday.

    More than 147,000 people and groups have weighed in on the rules, which require that most employee healthcare plans cover birth control at no cost, the Sunlight Foundation found.

    The group attributed the flood of comments to the Catholic Church, which has urged parishioners to express their opposition to the mandate. Women’s groups have also encouraged their members to support the policy as it moves through the regulatory process.

  • Bills would address palliative care shortage

    New bills from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) would increase federal investment in palliative care — a specialty that is increasingly in demand as the U.S. population ages.

    The Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (S. 641 and H.R. 1339) would create education centers devoted to palliative center in medical schools around the country, as well as fellowships to provide additional training to healthcare workers.

    Figures provided by Wyden’s office estimated that the United States lacks as many as 18,000 needed palliative care doctors. 

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