HHS hints at major changes to Medicare that could mean higher costs for patients

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is signaling it will pursue significant changes to Medicare that could put beneficiaries on the hook for higher costs. In an informal proposal on Wednesday, federal health officials hinted at several new pilot programs it may implement in the months ahead. One idea would give doctors more latitude to enter into so-called private contracts to charge Medicare beneficiaries more for certain services, if the patients were willing to pay. Elsewhere in the document, officials indicated they might offer more incentives to encourage beneficiaries to join private Medicare plans, known as Medicare Advantage plans. Democrats and other experts said the language suggested interest in the controversial… Read More

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California’s Legislature is getting more family-friendly — and it’s not just politics driving the shift

SACRAMENTO — State lawmakers this year passed bills that would give millions of Californians 12 weeks to snuggle with their newborns before returning to work, grant school employees six weeks of paid parental leave and offer moms and dads a place — besides a grimy bathroom floor — to change dirty diapers at amusement parks, theaters, sporting arenas and shopping malls. Politics color everything in the Capitol, especially in the age of Donald Trump, but there is another layer to this family-friendly activity: More lawmakers — men and women, Republicans and Democrats — have young children in school and at home, or babies on the way. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher,… Read More

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Meth-laced 7Up kills 1 in Mexico, prompting travel advisory

One person is dead and seven have fallen ill after drinking methamphetamine-laced bottles of 7Up in Mexicali, Mexico, according to reports. Related Articles Mental wellness center officially opens Sen. Bernie Sanders rallies for Medicare-for-All, lauds McCain opposition to GOP health bill GOP health bill all but dead; McCain again deals the blow Gavin Newsom says “it’s time to move” California single-payer health care bill along She chose to die so she could give birth. Now her newborn is dead, too. In response, U.S. health professionals are warning travelers to the region to exercise caution. “It is important to check that the seal for any food and drink consumed is still… Read More

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The odd, swimming style of plesiosaurs decoded by a robot

The plesiosaur is long extinct, but thanks to a biomechanical engineer, it has been reincarnated — as a robot. This new so-called “robosaur” reveals the secret behind the animal’s odd but powerful swimming style, which could inspire alternatives to boat and submarine propellers. Scientists have speculated over the swimming ability of plesiosaurs for decades. Long-necked and round-bodied, the plesiosaur lived 203 million years ago during the age of dinosaurs, but it was a marine reptile, more closely related to lizards and snakes. “There has been no other animal that swims like this, ever,” Luke Muscutt, a biomechanical engineer at the University of Southampton in the U.K., told NewsHour. A fish… Read More

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Obamacare signup site to be shut down for 12 hours nearly every Sunday of open enrollment

The federal government plans to shut down Healthcare.gov on all but one Sunday morning during open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act, according to Department of Health and Human Services materials first reported by Kaiser Health News. HHS made the announcement during a webinar training session with assisters who help enrollees sign up for individual plans, Kaiser Health News reporter Phil Galewitz Friday. ..@HHSGov plans to shut down @HHSGov for 12 hours during all but one Sunday during the upcoming 6 week open enrollment season pic.twitter.com/0d5WUtLc9G — Phil Galewitz (@philgalewitz) September 22, 2017 HHS regularly schedules maintenance outages for Healthcare.gov during open enrollment period, according to a spokesperson from the… Read More

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