As negotiations on their tax and spending bill continue, Senate Democrats are working on a legislative proposal to have the government fix the prices of Medicare prescription medications. Though the details of the 190-page amendment differ in certain respects from earlier versions, the indisputable result would be the same: Reduced patient access to prescription drugs.
Like most giant regulatory schemes, the draft proposal is characteristically complex with numerous provisions, including detailed data collection, new mandates, tax penalties on drug manufacturers, free vaccines, and a cap on out-of-pocket costs. But the heart of the bill is the creation of a Drug Price Negotiation Program administered by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The Biden administration released documents Thursday that endorse children and adolescents with claims of gender dysphoria to experience “gender-affirming care,” including puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and body-mutilating transgender surgeries, including elective double mastectomies and castrations.
Biden appeared in a video endorsing transgender treatments and surgeries for children.
The omicron variant may be nearing its peak in some states, but across the country it’s produced a dizzying array of conflicting signals on whether the nation should remain under a COVID national emergency or move on to an endemic “new normal.”
Comedian Bill Maher’s “I don’t want to live in your mask-paranoid world anymore” monologue went viral last week, just days after the Atlantic, the standard-bearer journal for the liberal intelligentsia, ran a story headlined: “COVID Parenting Has Passed the Point of Absurdity.” Accompanying the article was a black-and-white photo of a woman frozen in a more desperate and primal state of panic than the subject of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.”
Omicron, for most people without co-morbidities, produces much milder symptoms than do the coronavirus’s previous variants, but it’s far more infectious, racing through schools, shutting down classrooms and forcing parents to consult their district’s ever-shifting COVID “decision trees” on a seemingly daily basis.
The Department of Health and Human Services delivered 311 pages of heavily redacted emails Dr. Anthony Fauci and the World Health Organization and other documents regarding COVID-19 to Judicial Watch and the Daily Caller News Foundation, according to a press release Tuesday.
The redacted documents included personal edits from Fauci on COVID-related funding measures, which were redacted under a trade secrets exemption, Judicial Watch said in the press release.
“The American people have every right to know key information on our government’s role in Covid,” DCNF President Neil Patel said in the statement Tuesday. “This sort of hiding, dodging and stonewalling is one reason why trust in national authorities is near all-time lows.”
Border officials encountered nearly 190,000 migrants at the southern border in June, a 5% increase over May’s numbers, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced Friday.
There was a significant increase in the number of re-encounters in June, with 34% of individuals having at least one prior encounter in the past 12 months, compared to the average one-year re-encounter rate of 14% for Fiscal Years 2014-2019, the agency said in a statement.
“The large number of expulsions during the pandemic has contributed to a larger-than-usual number of migrants making multiple border crossing attempts,” CBP said. “Which means that total encounters somewhat overstate the number of unique individuals arriving at the border.”
The Department of Health and Human Services will invest $3.2 billion to develop and manufacture COVID-19 antiviral medicines, it announced Thursday.
The initiative, funded as part of the American Rescue Plan, is designed to accelerate research into antivirals as well as build platforms for urgent response to future viral threats, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said in a statement Thursday. Specifically, the plan expands antiviral clinical trials, forms partnerships between health agencies and pharmaceutical companies, and funds “drug discovery groups” tasked with innovating new antiviral medicines.
“New antivirals that prevent serious COVID-19 illness and death, especially oral drugs that could be taken at home early in the course of disease, would be powerful tools for battling the pandemic and saving lives,” said chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci in the statement.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra repeatedly refused Thursday to acknowledge that partial birth abortion is illegal in the U.S.
Becerra falsely denied last month that there is an existing law banning partial birth abortion, apparently forgetting the law that he himself voted against. His denial sparked a backlash among conservatives and pro-life advocates and prompted multiple senators to question him about the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act in hearings this week.
During Thursday’s hearing, Republican Montana Sen. Steve Daines asked Becerra whether partial birth abortion is illegal several times. Becerra repeatedly refused to address the question or acknowledge that partial birth abortion is illegal and emphasized that Roe v. Wade is the law of the land.
The Biden administration threatened to sue Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott if the state follows through with plans to stop working with the federal government to detain migrant minors, according to a letter from federal officials Monday.
Abbott issued a disaster declaration on May 31 that ordered all facilities operating on federal contracts to house migrants who entered the country illegally to close. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said Abbott’s declaration illegally discriminates against the federal government’s 52 state-licensed facilities operating in Texas to house unaccompanied migrant minors.
“The May 31 Proclamation discriminates against the Federal government by targeting the licenses held only by those entities providing shelter to ‘unlawful immigrants or other individuals not lawfully present in the United States under a contract with the federal government,’” according to HHS.
A handful of Senate Republicans sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Wednesday demanding more information about the newly-announced school reopening guidelines, as reported by the Daily Caller.
The letter, signed by five Senate Republicans including Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.,) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.), is addressed to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, as well as Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra. The letter asks both officials to provide explanations for why the CDC has ultimately decided to reopen all American schools by June 2nd.
In the letter, the senators point to recently-unearthed emails, first uncovered by Americans for Public Trust, which reveal that the CDC communicated directly with the nation’s top teachers’ unions, including the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA), to discuss drafting the reopening guidelines.
The Biden administration redirected over $2 billion allocated for other health initiatives to care for unaccompanied migrant minors, Politico reported Saturday.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will receive $850 million meant for the federal emergency medical fund depleted by COVID-19 and another $850 million set aside for COVID-19 testing, according to three people familiar with the matter, Politico reported. HHS struggled to open and staff several emergency intake facilities to move over 20,000 migrant children out of border patrol facilities.
“They’ve been in a situation of needing to very rapidly expand capacity, and emergency capacity is much more expensive,” Mark Greenberg, Migration Policy Institute senior fellow and former leader of the Obama administration’s HHS administration for children and families, told Politico. “You can’t just say there’s going to be a waiting list or we’re going to shut off intake. There’s literally not a choice.”
Biden administration officials are investigating reports of unaccompanied migrant minors spending nights on buses outside a federal holding facility in Dallas, Texas, NBC News reported Thursday.
Migrant children are sleeping, eating and using the restroom on buses outside the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, sometimes for days, according to NBC News.
“This is completely unacceptable,” Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra said, NBC News reported. “We’re quickly investigating this to get to the bottom of what happened, and we’ll work to make sure this never happens again. The safety and well-being of the children is our priority.”
A 15-year-old migrant, Joel, made the journey from Honduras to reunite with his mother and was left on a bus from Saturday until the bus departed on its way to Seattle, Washington, on Wednesday, NBC News reported. His mother, Doris, said an HHS employee told them Joel would arrive Monday despite the bus remaining in Dallas.
Under the Biden Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has eliminated religious conscience exemptions for doctors who are forced to perform gender-alteration surgeries, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
The move represents yet another crucial and widely-popular policy that was first enacted by President Donald Trump, only for Biden to reverse it. HHS announced on Monday that to overturn this policy, it would be expanding its definition of sex discrimination so that sexual preference and “gender orientation” would be included among identities that could be considered discriminated against by such a policy.
HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra released a statement in which he claimed that “people have a right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sex and receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation. That’s why today HHS announced it will act on related reports of discrimination.”
President Joe Biden’s administration filed an appeal Tuesday that seeks to force religious doctors and hospitals to provide transgender surgeries, regardless of religious objections.
Former President Barack Obama’s administration issued a mandate in 2016 requiring doctors and hospitals to provide transgender surgeries upon a mental health professional’s referral. The transgender mandate, an interpretation of an Affordable Care Act’s nondiscrimination clause, did not include conscience or religion exemptions.
An association of over 19,000 healthcare professionals, several religious organizations, and nine states challenged the mandate in two different courts, according to a website on the mandate run by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
Pro-life lawmakers and activists condemned news Thursday that the senate confirmed California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to serve as health and human services secretary, warning that Becerra is both “a culture warrior” and an “extreme left-wing ideologue.”
“Becerra is a culture warrior who made his name in bloody-knuckled politics by bullying nuns,” Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said Thursday, referring to Becerra’s battles with the Little Sisters of the Poor over an Obama-era contraception mandate.
The Nebraska senator added that Health and Human Services (HHS) should be focused on health during the pandemic — not Becerra’s progressive priorities.
Medical professionals on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic desperately need reinforcements. That’s why President Biden, in his “American Rescue Plan,” proposes enough funding to triple the number of community health care workers.
But if the administration doesn’t have a clear policy of enforcing longstanding conscience protections for health care providers, it will jeopardize their ability to recruit the talent we need to defeat the coronavirus.
The Trump administration is expected to alter its coronavirus vaccine distribution guidance, recommending that people aged 65 and older are made eligible to be inoculated, The New York Times reported.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Defense are expected to announce the new guidance at a noon press conference, an anonymous official briefed on the announcement told the Times. The change to the recommendations is intended to quicken the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine, which has been far behind pace.
Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, on Thursday urged the TSA and the FBI to place certain members of the Capitol mob on the “No-Fly List.”
“Given the heinous domestic terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol yesterday, I am urging the Transportation Security Administration [TSA] and the Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI] to use their authorities to add the names of all identified individuals involved in the attack to the federal No-Fly List and keep them off planes,” Thompson said in a press release.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that the first coronavirus vaccinations outside a clinical trial could begin as early as Monday.
Azar’s announcement follows a key FDA panel’s vote of confidence Thursday for Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, clearing the way for the agency to issue an emergency use authorization. The FDA said that authorization would be announced later Friday, and that it was communicating with the CDC and Operation Warp Speed to ensure the most efficient distribution possible.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, with a record in that state office and Congress that conservatives consider extreme, is headed for a rocky confirmation battle to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, in announcing Sunday his intent to nominate Becerra for HHS secretary, cited Becerra’s leadership in defending Obamacare as a state attorney general and his support for passing the health care law while in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Two of President-elect Joe Biden’s picks to lead the Department of Health and Human Services have likened gun control to a public health issue.
Vivek Murthy, the 19th Surgeon General, in 2012 criticized the National Rifle Association (NRA) and tweeted that firearms are a “health care issue.” Murthy, who’s the co-chair of the former vice president’s coronavirus task force, has been included on a Bloomberg list of possible Biden HHS appointees.
In another Trump administration move to boost transparency and roll back regulations, the Department of Health and Human Services issued two statements of policy on Tuesday that will affect any future imposition of regulations going forward.
The first policy requires the department and its agencies to demonstrate to the public how they reached a conclusion on the economic cost of a regulation.
The United States has secured nearly the entire global supply of remdesivir, a drug that has been effective in fighting coronavirus.
Remdesivir, which is manufactured by American pharmaceutical giant Gilead, has proven to help patients with coronavirus recover faster, according to The Guardian. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) secured more than 500,000 doses of the drug, accounting for the vast majority of Gilead’s July, August and September supply, according to a Monday press release.
Federal health officials announced a final rule Friday scrapping an Obama-era regulation that forced medical workers to perform abortions despite their religious beliefs.
The Obama administration’s 2016 regulation, already vacated by a court ruling, also redefined sex-based discrimination in health care to include questions of gender identity.
By Natalia Castro When federal bureaucrats are unaccountable to even their own managers, it can be hard to identify and correct abuse within the system. In his most recent undercover expose, James O’Keefe sought to uncover the stories of the federal government’s worst employees directly from the source. This week,…