By Hyeongsu Park and Kathy Wang
- States were supposed to tell the administration by this Friday whether to create health insurance exchanges, online markets for private health insurance subsidized by the federal government (NY Times article here). Last Friday, the Obama administration extended the deadline for plans for health insurance exchanges to December 14, but governors still had to submit “letters of intent” by Friday. However, on Thursday, the day before the deadline, the administration extended the deadline to submit “letters of intent” to December 14. As of November 15, several states remained undecided on the issue, including Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Idaho, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Florida.
- On November 13, nine Republican state lawmakers of Wisconsin said that they support a bill to arrest any federal officials who attempt to implement the Affordable Care Act in the state. However, Governor Scott Walker does not agree.
- On Wednesday, Barry Cadden, co-owner of the Framingham pharmacy whose drugs have been linked to the deadly meningitis outbreak that killed at least 32 people, invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and declined to answer questions during a congressional hearing on the outbreak.
- While lawmakers condemn compounding pharmacies for a deadly meningitis outbreak originated from contaminated medications, the top lobbyist representing these drugmakers says that Congress does not need new laws to oversee the compounding industry. A NY Times article reported that over two decades, these drugmakers have repeatedly avoided tougher federal oversight with the help of powerful allies in Congress.
- On Friday, the government said that Medicare premiums are going up from $99.90 a month to $104.90 a month in 2013.
- The Office of Inspector General under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that nursing homes billed about a quarter of claims incorrectly in 2009 and that taxpayers overpaid about $1.5 billion.
- ‘Fat tax,’ or a tax charged on foods high in saturated fats, was repealed after one year, in response to heavy criticism from industries. Also, the Danish tax ministry cancelled its plans for a sugar tax.
- In Ireland, the death of a woman who was reportedly denied an abortion even when she was having a miscarriage renewed the fight over the ban on abortions. On Wednesday, thousands of people rallied outside Ireland’s parliament to demand strict abortion rules be eased.