After Health Stock Scandal, Lawmakers Plan Bill Regulating ‘Political Intelligence’
Elsewhere, advocates for the Children's Health Insurance Program express optimism that the program will be renewed, and scrutiny of the VA continues.
The Wall Street Journal: Lawmakers Plan To Introduce Bill Regulating 'Political Intelligence'
Lawmakers plan to introduce legislation in the House on Thursday that would for the first time shed light on the political-intelligence industry. … A spokeswoman for Mr. Grassley said that he was still interested in pursuing regulations on the issue, and is "looking for the right time and vehicle, as usual with legislation." Mr. Grassley's push for regulations became more complicated last year when one of his former aides ended up at the center of a high-profile investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission into the political-intelligence industry. The aide, Mark Hayes, sent an email to a Washington research firm correctly predicting a major change in government funding for private health-insurance firms. That prediction was relayed to more than 100 Wall Street firms and prompted a big rally in health-insurance stocks in the moments before the policy change was officially announced by the government (Mullins, 9/17).
The Hill: Advocates Claim Momentum Following CHIP Hearing
Advocates for children are claiming momentum after senators held an initial hearing on financing the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) past September 2015. First Focus, a bipartisan advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., emphasized that CHIP has the "same strong bipartisan support among lawmakers as among voters." The hearing in the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Healthcare comes amid debate over how much money to provide for CHIP given the new coverage options available to families under ObamaCare (Viebeck, 9/17).
CNN: Lawmakers, Whistleblowers Heatedly Hammer Away At VA Inspector's Report
A bipartisan group of lawmakers and two whistleblowers harshly grilled and criticized the top watchdog of the Department of Veterans Affairs for a recent report that could not conclude whether long wait times at the Phoenix VA might have caused veterans' deaths. Acting Inspector General Richard Griffin faced a barrage of questions at a hearing before the House Committee on Wednesday. At issue was a VA report released in August that stated investigators could not "conclusively" link the deaths of 40 veterans to health care delays (Devine and Bronstein, 9/17).
Seattle Times: VA Gets Earful From Vets At Town Hall
David Winter is a Gulf War Veteran who depends on the Puget Sound VA to treat his post-traumatic stress disorder, neck pain and other ailments. In a town-hall meeting Wednesday evening called by the Department of Veterans Affairs, he spoke in stark detail about his difficulties trying to see his health providers and to get medications in a hospital system struggling under an expanding patient load. Though he was supposed to have a 20-minute PTSD counseling session once every six weeks, he’d been to only three this year. “The last time I went, I was told: ‘Don’t call us, we’ll call you,’ ” Winter recalled. He says they never did call. The Wednesday meeting in South King County is one of a series of town halls the VA is hosting around the nation to reach out to veterans in the aftermath of scandals that included manipulations of waiting times for veterans seeking medical care (Bernton, 9/17).