Healthcare Friday

More health-related recess appointments: President Obama will soon use a recess appointment to install Elisabeth Hagen as the Department of Agriculture's under secretary for food safety, the White House announced Thursday. 

Hagen will arrive just in time to help the administration manage not only the issue of seafood safety in the Gulf but also the recall of almost 400 million eggs suspected of being a salmonella threat. The latter episode has fueled the push for Congress to pass a food-safety bill when lawmakers return from recess next month. http://bit.ly/9V69mI

Nebraska's senators joust over healthcare reform's effect on state Medicaid obligations: Is an expansion of Medicaid coverage good news for Nebraskans? Or is it just an ineffective new expense that the state can't afford? Sens. Mike Johanns (R) and Ben Nelson (D) agree to disagree. http://bit.ly/9mUjVT

Lawyers' paradise: An insurance trade group is suing California over new state rules designed to prevent companies from dropping customers after they get sick. http://bit.ly/c6cLGl

Insurance lobby still spending millions to influence policy: America's Health Insurance Plans spent $2.3 million lobbying federal policymakers in the second quarter of the year, The Associated Press reports. That's down 15 percent from the first quarter — when Congress was still in the thick of the healthcare reform debate — but it's a jump of 22 percent above the second quarter of 2009, when the healthcare fight was in its earliest stages. http://bit.ly/ci8jU7

Some rare good news for the nation's homeless: The new healthcare reform law has a number of provisions to help the homeless gain access to care, including a nationwide expansion of Medicaid coverage to include low-income adults (even childless adults) and $11 billion to expand and strengthen community health centers. 

Kaiser Health News' Mary Agnes Carey and Andrew Villegas have the story. http://bit.ly/d2emJ6