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Revised Obamacare contraception rule still violates religious beliefs, says group

obamacare contraception opposedThe Obama administration on Friday announced changes to its signature healthcare law that will make it easier for religious organizations not to cover birth control for women.

Under the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, most forms of contraception for employees must be covered at no cost. This provision has come under fire from religious organizations that oppose birth control or consider things like the morning-after pill to be abortifacients – substances that induce abortion. They are not.


White House Finds Way Around Hobby Lobby Birth Control Decision

Hobby Lobby decisionThe Obama administration on Friday issued its final rules for employers who morally object to covering birth control in their health insurance plans. The accommodation ensures that all employed women, unless they work for a place of worship, will still have their birth control covered at no cost to them, even if their employers refuse to cover it.

Under the new rule, a closely held for-profit company that objects to covering contraception in its health plan can write a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services stating its objection. HHS will then notify a third-party insurer of the company's objection, and the insurer will provide birth control coverage to the company's female employees at no additional cost to the company.


Cancer doctor gets 45 years for ‘huge, horrific’ crimes

cander doctor sentencedOnce-popular local oncologist Dr. Farid Fata was sentenced Friday to 45 years in prison for a complex Medicare fraud scheme in which he gave cancer patients overly aggressive doses of chemotherapy while treating others with the powerful drug for cancers they did not have.

In handing down Fata’s sentence Friday, U.S. District Judge Paul Borman cited the disgraced cancer specialist’s abuse of patient trust.


House bill would speed drug approvals, boost research

Fred UptonPressed by industry and patients' groups, the House is nearing approval of a bipartisan bill that would speed federal approval of drugs and medical devices and boost biomedical research.

Passage seemed likely Friday despite warnings from consumer organizations and others that the measure would weaken government safeguards against dangerous or ineffective products. Supporters said that with genetic mapping, biologic medicines produced in living cells and other advances, it was time to streamline how federal regulators assure the safety of new treatments and let them reach market.


California governor signs strict school vaccine legislation

Vaccine law, CaliforniaCalifornia Governor Jerry Brown signed a mandatory school vaccination bill into law Tuesday, abolishing the “personal belief” exemption that many parents use as a loophole to avoid vaccinating their children.

Now, under California law, which is among the strictest in the country, children would not be able to enroll in public school unless they have been vaccinated against diseases like measles and whooping cough. The law includes an exemption for children who have a medical reason to remain unvaccinated (like an immune system disorder) and can prove it with a doctor’s note. Parents who decline to vaccinate their children for personal or religious reasons will have to home-school them or send them to a public independent study program off school grounds.


Medical marijuana arrives next week in Minnesota – but smoking it is banned

Medical marijuanaThere will be no baggies of pot awaiting patients next week, when Minnesota joins 21 other states in offering medical marijuana. No glass pipes, no plants to tend at home. Instead, the nation’s latest medical marijuana programme is a world of pill bottles and vials of marijuana-infused oil.

For the qualifying patients seeking relief from pain, medical marijuana advocates and some lawmakers, Wednesday isn’t the finish line, but the first step. The state’s restrictive approach, unseen in the industry, is likely to mean high costs, long drives and reluctant doctors.


Supreme Court approves Obamacare subsidies on

John RobertsThe U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nationwide availability of tax subsidies that are crucial to the implementation of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, handing a major victory to the president.

The court ruled on a 6-3 vote that the 2010 Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare, did not restrict the subsidies to states that establish their own online healthcare exchanges. It marked the second time in three years that the high court ruled against a major challenge to the law brought by conservatives seeking to gut it.


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