OVERNIGHT HEALTHCARE: Border help for HHS?

The Obama administration on Tuesday asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency funding to address the wave of child immigrants crossing the Southwest border, including $1.8 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Those funds will help HHS provide “appropriate care” for the children, who are mostly coming from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Read more http://bit.ly/1jlGuuO

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HHS is one of the agencies responsible for caring for the children, a little-known task that could prove arduous as the number of unaccompanied kids continues to surge.

The department’s Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) program handled about 6,000 to 8,000 children a year between 2003 and 2011 while they were readied for deportation or took their cases to court. http://bit.ly/1o0CLkY

But a new wave of immigrants from Central America means the workload could soar to 90,000 unaccompanied kids this fiscal year and 127,000 in 2015, advocates told The Hill.

Recently lawmakers asked HHS for its plans to house the children. http://bit.ly/1vZFXkl

In a letter, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), focused on the security of immigrant children against traffickers and asked HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell for details on how potential guardians are screened.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) has also written for details on the cost and logistics of housing the children.

 

LAWMAKER WARNS OF OUTBREAKS: Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) is worried that many of the unaccompanied children illegally crossing the border are carrying infectious diseases that could pose a threat to public health.

In a letter to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden, Gingrey, a former physician, expressed concern that the child migrants could spread illnesses such as Ebola virus, dengue fever, tuberculosis and swine flu throughout the country.

Gingrey noted that many of the child migrants have not been vaccinated for chicken pox or measles, posing a threat to unvaccinated Americans.

Gingrey requested that the CDC provide information on how it plans to control the public health risks. He requested data on how border patrol agents who come into contact with infected children are protected, decontamination efforts and medical screenings of children. Read more: http://bit.ly/1pXSzZV

 

SENATE ANTI-HOBBY LOBBY BILL: Democrats led by Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) are expected to introduce legislation Wednesday morning to counter a Supreme Court Hobby Lobby ruling that lets some employers deny contraception coverage to their workers.

The bill would prevent employers from refusing to provide health services, including contraception, on religious grounds.

The measure, though, has no chance of passing the House. Read more: http://bit.ly/1qTj56e

 

SMALLPOX SCARE: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) revealed Tuesday that six decades-old vials of the smallpox virus were discovered earlier this month at a government laboratory in Bethesda, Md.

The extremely rare discovery, which officials insisted did not pose a threat to public health, comes 35 years after the deadly and highly infectious virus was eradicated, and raises questions about safety rules in federal research facilities.

The NIH said that the vials have been transferred to a high-security facility in Atlanta run by the CDC, one of only two sites in the world where the smallpox virus is permitted to exist.

U.S. officials are now conducting tests to determine whether the viral samples are active and could grow in human tissue. After that, according to the NIH, the samples will be destroyed, with the World Health Organization invited to observe. Read more http://bit.ly/1kBezBS

 

ANSWERING FOR ANTHRAX: CDC Director Thomas Frieden will be on the hot seat next week as a House panel investigates an agency lab’s mishandling of live anthrax bacteria.

Frieden will testify before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations July 16th to discuss the missteps that led to at least 75 scientists potentially being exposed to the deadly bacteria.

The mishandling of live anthrax sparked a national scare and raised lawmaker concerns about safety procedures at the CDC.

The CDC’s investigation is still ongoing but the agency has said it will take disciplinary action against those who mishandled the live anthrax at its Atlanta labs. Read more http://bit.ly/1mwsTj9

 

ANTI-ABORTION LEGISLATION DROPPING: States are passing fewer new abortion restrictions in 2014 than in recent years, due in part to shorter legislative sessions and a host of non-abortion policy debates, according to a new analysis.

Twenty-one new laws to limit abortion have been implemented at the state level so far in 2014, roughly half the number that took effect by this month last year, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

The pro-abortion-rights group attributed the slowdown to the looming midterm elections, which lead state legislatures to limit their time in session. Some anti-abortion legislatures, like Texas's, do not convene in even-numbered years, the analysis also noted.

In general, the pace of new abortion restrictions has dropped significantly from 2011, the study found. That year, states enacted 80 new laws curbing abortion rights, more than the total enacted in the previous four years combined. Read more http://bit.ly/1nbUW8i

 

WEDNESDAY’S SCHEDULE:

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding the third hearing in its 21st Century Cures series, this time to discuss “Modernizing Clinical Trials.”

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) will hold a press conference to talk about results from a new survey on campus sexual assaults.

Senate Special Committee on Aging will hold a hearing on "Improving Audits: How We Can Strengthen the Medicare Program for Future Generations."

The Health Affairs journal is holding a briefing on “Using Big Data to Transform Care."

The Institute for E-Health Policy will hold a briefing on "Rapid Technology Advances in Military Medicine and Veterans Health Care: Research and Development Meets Fielded Care."

The Brookings Institution will hold a MEDTalk discussion on "Reinventing Patient-Centered Cancer Care."

IBM will host a briefing on "How Can Tech Innovation Help End Cancer.”

 

STATE-BY-STATE:

Generic drugmaker Ranbaxy Laboratories will pay Oregon $2.3M over bad drugs: http://bit.ly/1mwvvxq

California delays ACA for small employers: http://bit.ly/VW6ZfY

New Grimes ad attacks McConnell on Medicare: http://cjky.it/1ohFJz1

Tenn. couple separates to keep health insurance: http://on9news.tv/1vXZGPz

 

READING LIST:

UnitedHealth: New doctor payment plan cut cancer care costs: http://reut.rs/1jclIO1

Reform Update: Can Medicaid beneficiaries find a doctor? The CMS wants to know: http://bit.ly/TR5Sw1

HealthCare.gov site stumps 'highly educated' millennials. Here's why: http://bsun.md/1oFjJkz

AHA urges HHS watchdog to pare Medicare penalty changes: http://bit.ly/U22L55

 

WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED AT THE HILL: 

Dems plot legislative offensive on high court’s birth control decision: http://bit.ly/1pXIlZI

Report: Thousands hit by O-Care coverage delays: http://bit.ly/1xNue9o

$100M in O-Care funds go to local health centers: http://bit.ly/1qT20cx