By Kay Henderson DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) - Iowa has reached a tentative agreement with federal officials on a plan to expand the number of low-income state residents eligible for Medicaid under President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law, Iowa's governor said on Thursday. The two sides have been negotiating for months over the details of the "Iowa Health and Wellness Plan," which will eventually offer coverage to more than 150,000 residents. "This is an Iowa plan that fits the health needs of our state," Republican Governor Terry Branstad said in a statement.
By David Morgan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration asked insurers on Thursday to be flexible with Americans trying to buy new health policies through the federal website HealthCare.gov, as officials race to fix problems still plaguing the enrollment process. U.S. officials laid out a series of steps to help prevent disruptions in coverage for health policies due to start January 1, including the possibility of retroactive coverage. Widespread stories of coverage gaps could pose new political problems for President Barack Obama, whose signature domestic policy has already sparked a public uproar over the botched launch of the website and the millions of cancellation notices sent out for policies that do not comply with the law. The administration said it would consider further extensions of the enrollment deadlines if required by "extraordinary circumstances," having extended its December 15 enrollment deadline for obtaining benefits on January 1 to midnight December 23 (0500 GMT December 24).
For many of us this is a season when it feels that we are going faster and faster. Everything's racing, through school semesters, wrapping up work commitments, entering the holidays, the currents of life are in full tilt. Given the time of year, one student fell into a period of intense stress resulting from a cycle of classes, studying, working and little sleep. He didn't realize how long he had neglected to write home until he received the following note: Dear Son, Your mother and I enjoyed your last letter. Of course, we were much younger then and more impressionable.
Continued from Part 3 of 4 My fondest memories of growing up was when we bought that house just across the road from you, and spent our summers there. On the weekends, Dad made Wayne and I mow and weed-eat your grass. Following, Dad would present watermelons from the farmer's market and Grandmother brewed Luzianne sweet tea for everyone. Dad invited all of your sons and daughters to join us, his brothers and sisters, who never left town, who all had found clerk and desk and teaching jobs in order to be near one another. Once we ate, drank, and
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a two-year, bipartisan budget plan that would end some automatic spending cuts on federal agencies and replace them with more targeted government savings. By an overwhelming margin, the House passed the measure that also aims to end the partisan fighting between Republicans and Democrats over fiscal affairs, which led to last October's 16-day partial government shutdown. The budget deal must next pass the Democratic-controlled Senate before being sent to President Barack Obama for signing into ...
By Caroline Humer NEW YORK (Reuters) - Aetna Inc has decided not to reinstate or extend individual health insurance plans that are being canceled with the advent of the U.S. Affordable Care Act because the time frame is too short. Aetna is the largest insurer yet to announce a decision on how it would proceed across the United States after President Barack Obama said last month that insurers could extend these health plans under a temporary transitional policy. Aetna's move means that some consumers, who are required to have health insurance in 2014 or pay a fine, will need to buy a new plan for 2014. Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini made the comments at an investor meeting on Thursday.
The Obama administration called on private health insurers on Thursday to make it easier for Americans to obtain coverage and access medical services starting January 1, even if technical troubles or other issues prevent timely enrollment in Obamacare plans. In addition, the administration extended a federal insurance program for people with severe health conditions, and urged insurance companies to provide retroactive coverage beginning January 1 to consumers who sign up for coverage after the first of the year or make their first premium payments sometime in January. The administration has made major fixes to HealthCare.gov, which provides access to new federal health insurance marketplaces in 36 states, after a disastrous October 1 launch. Officials said last week that about 10 percent of applications to the main website are not being accurately transmitted to insurance companies, fueling fears that people will believe they have obtained insurance for the new year, only to discover they are not actually enrolled.
About 6.6 million people who would have gotten sick during the 2012-2013 flu season, didn't, thanks to the flu shot, according to a new government report. In addition, flu vaccination prevented about 3 million influenza illnesses that would have required medical attention and 79,000 hospitalizations from influenza illness during last year's flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. In total, last flu season there were 31.8 million influenza-associated illnesses, 14.4 influenza illnesses that required medical attention and 381,000 hospitalizations due to influenza illness.
We all know great conversations when we find ourselves in one. But these moments don't come along as often as we like. With a stranger, we don't know where to begin. And in a long-term relationship, we may feel like we've exhausted the subjects of common interest, and the dialogue becomes more mundane.
(Reuters) - A panel of experts advising the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said an oral drug made by Merck & Co was effective in treating grass pollen allergy but expressed concerns about the drug's safety in children. The advisory panel voted 9-0 that available data supported the efficacy of the immunotherapy drug, Grastek, in treating Timothy grass pollen allergy in patients 5 years or older. The committee also voted unanimously in favor of the drug's safety, on the condition that patients taking the drug have easy access to epinephrine - a medicine used to treat serious allergic reaction such as ones that can result from the use of immunotherapies. Panelists recommended post-approval studies of the drug to test its safety in children aged 5 to 11 years, citing side effects such as lip swelling, throat irritation and tightness and oral blistering.
By Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A South African sign-language interpreter accused of miming nonsense as world leaders paid tribute to Nelson Mandela defended himself as a "champion" signer on Thursday but said he suffered a schizophrenic episode during the event. The interpreter, 34-year-old Thamsanqa Jantjie, told Johannesburg's Star newspaper he started hearing voices and hallucinating while on stage, resulting in gestures that made no sense to outraged deaf people around the world. The government admitted Jantjie was not a professional interpreter but played down security concerns at his sharing the podium with world leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama at the memorial on Tuesday. We accept all that." After the memorial, South Africa's leading deaf association denounced him as a fake, making up gestures to be put into the mouths of Obama and his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma.
By David Beasley ATLANTA (Reuters) - Flu shots reduced the number of U.S. flu cases and hospitalizations last year by an estimated 17 percent, highlighting the need for increasing vaccination rates, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday. Vaccinations prevented more than six million cases of the flu and 79,000 hospitalizations, according to a CDC model that compared the actual number of flu cases and hospitalizations with the projected number that would have occurred had there been no vaccinations. "This is by far the largest number of hospitalizations and other illnesses we've seen prevented" since 2005, said CDC Director Thomas Frieden.