HHS Dept.

via Dan Diamond at the Washington Post:

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency on Thursday in an effort to galvanize awareness and unlock additional flexibility and funding to fight the virus’s spread.

“We’re prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus, and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously and to take responsibility to help us tackle this virus,” Becerra said at a Thursday press briefing.

The health secretary is also considering a second declaration empowering federal officials to expedite medical countermeasures, such as potential treatments and vaccines, without going through full-fledged federal reviews. That would also allow for greater flexibility in how the current supply of vaccines is administered, Becerra said.

...Federal officials Thursday afternoon said they were still finalizing the formal declaration of a public health emergency, which would be posted on an HHS webpage.

Via email (no direct link to PR yet):

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 2, 2022

New HHS Report Shows National Uninsured Rate Reached All-Time Low in 2022

Secretary Becerra Says Biden-Harris Administration Efforts to Expand Coverage, Lower Costs through American Rescue Plan and Other Actions Are Working

Via the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:

Today, following President Biden’s Executive Order on ensuring access to reproductive health care, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), alongside the Departments of Labor and of the Treasury (Departments), took action to clarify protections for birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Under the ACA, most private health plans are required to provide birth control and family planning counseling at no additional cost.

via the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:

  • Awards to 36 grantees support President Biden’s Executive Orders on Strengthening Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, and represent the largest outreach and enrollment investment ever made through Connecting Kids to Coverage program.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), today awarded $49 million to organizations on the frontlines of reducing uninsured rates and connecting more children, parents, and families to health care coverage. In support of President Biden’s Executive Orders on Strengthening Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, and HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra’s priority of expanding access to affordable, quality health care, these awards represent the largest investment CMS has ever made in outreach and enrollment through the Connecting Kids to Coverage program. 

CMS Logo

Via the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced new guidance and communication to ensure all patients — including pregnant women and others experiencing pregnancy loss — have access to the full rights and protections for emergency medical care afforded under the law. This announcement follows President Biden’s executive order on reproductive health issued Friday.

Family Glitch

This is mosly a repost of mine from April 2021, but with some important updates:

Of all the problems the ACA has encountered over the 11 years since it was first signed into law by President Obama, one of the stupidest and most irritating ones had nothing to do with Republican sabotage. The call on this one was made by the IRS (then under the Obama Administration), based on their interpretation of a few bits of language within the legislative text itself back in 2013: The Family Glitch.

As explained by the brilliant Louise Norris:

We still get calls on a regular basis from people who are shopping for individual insurance because adding dependents to their employer plan is prohibitively expensive. We estimate that roughly 20 percent of the people who contact us are in this situation.

LGBTQ Flag

via Amy Goldstein of the Washington Post:

The Biden administration said Monday it will provide protections against discrimination in health care based on gender identity and sexual orientation, reversing a policy of its predecessor’s that had been a priority for social conservatives and had infuriated civil liberties advocates.

The reversal is a victory for transgender people and undoes what had been a significant setback in the movement for LGBTQ rights.

The shift pertains to health-care providers and other organizations that receive funding from the Department of Health and Human Services. Civil rights groups had said the Trump administration policy would allow health-care workers and institutions, as well as insurers, to deny services to transgender individuals.

The reversal is the latest step Biden officials are taking to reorient the federal government’s posture on health care, the environment and other policy areas away from the conservative cast of the Trump era, replacing it with a more liberal stance.

Family Glitch

Of all the problems the ACA has encountered over the 11 years since it was first signed into law by President Obama, one of the stupidest and most irritating ones had nothing to do with Republican sabotage. The call on this one was made by the IRS (then under the Obama Administration), based on their interpretation of a few bits of language within the legislative text itself back in 2013: The Family Glitch.

As explained by the brilliant Louise Norris:

We still get calls on a regular basis from people who are shopping for individual insurance because adding dependents to their employer plan is prohibitively expensive. We estimate that roughly 20 percent of the people who contact us are in this situation.

Unfortunately, due to a “glitch” in the ACA, they are not eligible for premium subsidies in the exchange if the amount the employee has to pay for employee-only coverage on the group plan is deemed “affordable” – defined as less than 9.78 percent of household income in 2020.

Presented with minimal comment:

(CNN) A top official at the Department of Health and Human Services has been placed on administrative leave after a CNN KFile inquiry while the agency investigates social media postings in which he pushed unfounded smears on social media.

Jon Cordova serves as the principal deputy assistant secretary for administration at HHS. A KFile review of Cordova's social media accounts found that he pushed stories filled with baseless claims and conspiracy theories, including stories that claimed Gold Star father Khizr Khan is a "Muslim Brotherhood agent" and made baseless claims about Sen. Ted Cruz's personal life.

"Principal deputy assistant" is probably just a gussied-up name for a low-level flunkie, right?

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