Workers Who Object To Abortions, Treating Transgender Patients Would Be Legally Insulated Under HHS Rule
The Trump administration aims to expand protections to workers who "morally" object to being involved with certain procedures or treatments with a proposed rule that's been kept tightly guarded at the agency.
Administration To Shield Health Workers Who Refuse To Perform Abortions Or Treat Transgender Patients
The Trump administration is planning new protections for health workers who don't want to perform abortions, refuse to treat transgender patients based on their gender identity or provide other services for which they have moral objections. Under a proposed rule — which has been closely guarded at HHS and is now under review by the White House — the HHS office in charge of civil rights would be empowered to further shield these workers and punish organizations that don’t allow them to express their moral objections, according to sources on and off the Hill. (Diamond and Haberkorn, 1/16)
In other national health care news —
The Associated Press:
Kentucky Governor Readies For Medicaid Legal Challenge
Gov. Matt Bevin says he will end Medicaid benefits for more than 400,000 Kentuckians if the courts stop him from requiring many of them to work. Kentucky was among 32 states that expanded Medicaid under President Barack Obama's health care law, and many more people signed up than forecast. The program now covers more than a quarter of the state's population. Federal spending covers almost all the cost of the expanded program. But the state's share is poised to grow and Bevin, a Republican who took office after the expansion, says Kentucky can't afford to maintain it without changes. (1/16)
The Associated Press:
Tax Break Helps UnitedHealth 4Q Earnings, 2018 Guidance Soar
UnitedHealth Group's earnings more than doubled in the final quarter of 2017, and the nation's largest insurer hiked its forecast well beyond expectations largely due to help from the federal tax overhaul. UnitedHealth said Tuesday that it added $1.2 billion in 2017 non-cash earnings, as its fourth-quarter and full-year corporate tax rates were cut. (1/16)
The Washington Post:
FDA To Release More Clinical Trial Information For Newly Approved Drugs
The Food and Drug Administration is taking steps to make it easier for doctors, patients and researchers to get access to clinical trial data amassed during the process of approving new drugs, Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Tuesday. Gottlieb announced the actions just before a speech on FDA transparency at a Washington forum. The meeting, attended by researchers and academics, focused on 18 recommendations for making the agency's decision-making less opaque. The suggestions were part of a report called Blueprint for Transparency. (McGinley, 1/16)
Opioid Crisis Blamed For Sharp Increase In Accidental Deaths In U.S.
Accidental deaths in the United States rose significantly in 2016, becoming the third-leading cause of fatalities for the first time in more than a century – a trend fueled by the steep rise in opioid overdoses, the National Safety Council reports. Accidents — defined by the council as unintentional, preventable injuries — claimed a record 161,374 lives in 2016, a 10 percent increase over 2015. They include motor vehicle crashes, falls, drowning, chocking and poisoning, a category that encompasses accidental overdoses. (Neuman, 1/17)
Kaiser Health News:
If Poor Neighborhood = Poor Health, Relocation Is One Solution
When low-income Americans are concentrated in substandard homes in struggling or violent neighborhoods, it has tangible consequences for well-being. Research confirms that moving families into less segregated neighborhoods improves overall health, and some communities are giving families vouchers to relocate. Kaiser Health News correspondent Sarah Varney and PBS Newshour producer Jason Kane filed this story that begins in St. Louis. (Varney, 1/17)
The Washington Post:
Calling Out Racists Is Actually Good For Your Health, According To Science. Here’s How To Do It.
Reports that an exasperated President Trump referred to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “shithole countries” during a meeting last week with lawmakers about immigration prompted widespread condemnation. In the days that followed, the leaders of many nations demanded that he apologize for the remarks. But what reportedly happened in that room in that moment was a high-stakes version of a dilemma faced by anyone who has heard a friend, a family member or even a stranger say something objectionable: remain silent or speak up in that moment? And if opting for the latter, how to do it? (Klein, 1/16)