Latest Morning Briefing Stories
The next coronavirus stimulus package tops the agenda for congressional lawmakers trying to negotiate thorny issues like joblessness, state financial assistance and business liability.
In an effort to increase testing capacity, Quest Diagnostics will now be allowed to “pool” up to four samples together. If the group comes back positive, samples will be tested individually.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services granted the Joint Commission approval to accredit for only two years, rather than the maximum of six, citing concerns about surveyor performance and comparability of the Joint Commission’s survey process to what CMS uses.
Former President Barack Obama criticizes the government response to the epidemic, while House Democrats push to probe federal government largess to companies with ties to the Trump administration.
Republican politicians are finding that the COVID-19 epidemic is undermining support. Mitch McConnell responds with a coronavirus relief plan.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator Seema Verma sharply disputed the findings. In a response, she said the agency has “deep concerns” with the conclusions, which “are based on unsubstantiated assumptions and incomplete analysis.”
As job loss jeopardizes health coverage for millions of people, advocates say the administration should do more to publicize the availability of Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program or health plans being sold on marketplaces. Meanwhile, the administration filed a brief with the Supreme Court asking that Arkansas’ Medicaid work requirements be reinstated.
Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford has told congressional leaders that he will not take the job of running the bipartisan oversight commission, another hurdle in the effort to monitor the distribution of hundreds of billions of dollars of federal pandemic aid.
The emergency funding, that is part of a larger spending bill, was approved by the House Appropriations Committee Monday. Continued pandemic response is expected to be at the center of fierce congressional debate over the next few weeks.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ proposed Inpatient Prospective Payment System regulation is at issue.
Issues like longer wait times and supply shortages are becoming apparent in many areas. In related news: Wyoming will test all prisoners for COVID-19.
In human challenge studies, people are exposed to the disease. But no cures exist for COVID-19, lethal to vulnerable patients. “If something bad happens, you don’t have a perfect fix for it,” said the FDA’s Peter Marks. News on vaccines is on how to volunteer, how it will get to market and more.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the State Department will work with Congress on funding already earmarked for the international health organization.
The Supreme Court settled — at least for now — a decade’s worth of litigation over the women’s health provisions of the Affordable Care Act, ruling 7-2 that employers with a “religious or moral objection” to providing contraceptive coverage to their employees may opt out without penalty.
In return for the massive development funding, Novamax will supply the U.S. government by early 2021 with 100 million doses of its vaccine that is in clinical trials. The Maryland-based company is the seventh drugmaker to strike such a deal with the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed initiative. Other vaccine news from GSK is also reported.
Food insecurity has surged over the last three months across all demographics, but has disproportionately impacted Black and Hispanic households with children. And other news stories on how racial and income disparities impact health care cover evictions and homelessness; period poverty; immigrant caregivers; child care challenges; and the potential for tech companies to try to close the gap.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hinted that such a package could include provisions such as direct stimulus payments to Americans as well as liability protections for businesses.
The Trump administration has revealed some of the companies that received Paycheck Protection Program aid intended to help small businesses survive the pandemic and retain jobs.
Editorial pages focus on these pandemic issues and other health issues.
In other news: Hospitals using artificial intelligence in end-of-life care; new doctors; and health centers merge in Boston neighborhood.