OVERNIGHT HEALTH: 7-Eleven to promote ObamaCare

ObamaCare ads will now appear on 7-Eleven receipts at more than 7,000 stores nationwide as government health officials expand their outreach in the second year of healthcare sign-ups.

Information about ObamaCare sign-ups will appear on the bottom of receipts for anyone using a mobile payment company called PayNearMe, which allows bank-less customers to pay in stores like 7-Eleven and Family Dollar.

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Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell announced the new partnership with the tech start-up PayNearMe on Thursday at a store in Washington, D.C. "Putting these reminders at the bottom of PayNearMe receipts will help get health coverage information into the hands of traditionally hard-to-reach consumers," HHS wrote in a statement. 

The partnership will help HHS "reach financially underserved and other cash-preferring consumers," the statement adds.

A spokeswoman from the department added that customers are likely to hold onto their receipts, because they serve as proof of payment on rent, utilities and other bills. Read more here.

'Cromnibus' could hamper O-Care implementation: House Republicans' $1.1 trillion spending bill includes budget cuts to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that could make it harder for the agency to implement some of the most complex parts of ObamaCare.

President Obama on Thursday voiced support for the "cromnibus" bill in part because it doesn’t slash funding for his signature healthcare law. But the funding bill's $350 million in budget cuts to the IRS will further burden the already cash-strapped agency.

The role of the IRS will be especially important to ObamaCare this year. The upcoming filing season will be the first for two major components of the health law – the premium tax credit and the individual mandate. Read more here

Medicare, Medicaid adjust for DOMA decision: Medicare and Medicaid are proposing to broaden decision-making rights for same-sex couples in light of a 2013 Supreme Court ruling that struck down a ban on federal benefits for gay and lesbian spouses. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a 26-page proposed rule Thursday requiring that providers and suppliers in the programs recognize same-sex spouses as a condition for participation. 

If finalized, the regulation would apply to hospitals, long-term care facilities, ambulatory surgical centers, hospice providers and community mental health centers.

"Our goal is to provide equal treatment to spouses, regardless of their sex, whenever the marriage was valid in the jurisdiction in which it was entered into, without regard to whether the marriage is also recognized in the state of residence or the jurisdiction in which the healthcare provider or supplier is located," the regulation stated. Read more here.

Nurse exposed to Ebola arrives at NIH: An American nurse exposed to Ebola in West Africa safely arrived at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Thursday where she will remain in isolation "out of an abundance of caution." The patient, whose name and condition has not been disclosed, was transferred "from an overseas location via private charter medevac in isolation" and arrived just before 3 p.m., according to a release.

The nurse was exposed to the disease while volunteering in Sierra Leone and will stay in a unit "specifically designed to provide high-level isolation capabilities," according to the NIH. Read more here.

Ebola holiday spike? The Red Cross is warning of a possible spike in Ebola cases in West Africa as people begin holiday travel across the region. "If we have social gatherings and movement of people ... there may be increased risk," said Elhadj As Sy, secretary general of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, on Thursday.

"Now is the time to be even more vigilant. We all welcome the plateauing and the signs of declines we are seeing in some places ... but that should not be a reason for complacency," he said.

The comments come as new cases of Ebola appear to be lessening in Guinea and Liberia, with Sierra Leone still under serious threat from the epidemic. Roughly 6,400 people have died from Ebola this year, with almost 18,000 sickened, according to the World Health Organization. Read more here

 

Friday’s schedule:

HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell will hold a roundtable with faith organization leaders in Washington, D.C.

 

State by state:

Ala.'s Bentley supports Medicaid expansion if state has control

In New York, insurance must cover sex changes

California study finds abortion complications very rare

 

What we’re reading:

43 million Americans burdened with medical debt

Tests may soon predict Alzheimer's

The shocking cost of wasted prescription pills

Aetna says demand surging for individual Obamacare plans

 

What you might have missed:

Senate Dem touts millions for painkiller abuse in funding bill

Dozens of lawmakers call for liver ‘redistricting’ plan

GOP lawmakers warn Social Security ‘woefully’ vulnerable to doctor fraud

Dem senator urges vote on surgeon general

 

Please send tips and comments to Sarah Ferris, sferris@thehill.com, and Elise Viebeck, eviebeck@thehill.com.

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