Senate sends Biden bill averting federal shutdown | Wellbeing and Exercise

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has presented ultimate approval to laws averting a weekend government shutdown, sending President Joe Biden a evaluate designed to give bipartisan bargainers far more time to access an overdue deal financing federal businesses until finally slide.

Closing passage Thursday was by a bipartisan 65-27 vote, five extra than the 60 votes wanted. The Home quickly permitted the legislation last 7 days. Just about every get together had concluded that an election-calendar year shutdown would be politically harmful, particularly through a pandemic and a confrontation with Russia around its doable invasion of Ukraine.

Nevertheless as with almost all will have to-pass expenditures, politics hitched a ride. Just before passage, conservatives forced votes on amendments which includes on just one of the year’s warm-button difficulties, COVID-19 vaccine mandates. They were being defeated generally alongside occasion traces.

One by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and various colleagues would have blocked current federal vaccine requirements for the military, federal government workforce and contractors and health care employees. A further by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, would have halted federal money for faculty districts imposing their own vaccine specifications.

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Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., proposed an additional demanding Congress’ non-binding federal budgets to equilibrium in 10 several years.

United Democrats can defeat GOP proposals in the 50-50 Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote. But with Harris in Europe and some Democrats missing because of disease or ailing spouses, Democrats prevailed soon after numerous Republicans also remaining for vacation or to start out the chamber’s recess.

A separate GOP go to block federal paying out on pipes applied for crack pale absent immediately after the Biden administration stated it by no means prepared to do that and would not. The money is section of a program aimed at helping drug abusers prevent hurting on their own even further.

Amending the bill would have brought on problems due to the fact the Residence is also absent for recess but would have experienced to move the revamped model ahead of sending it to Biden.

Devoid of Senate passage of the equivalent Property invoice, companies would have experienced to halt performing over the weekend. The legislation will finance govt by March 11.

Both functions hope the small-expression measure will be the final one particular essential as negotiators craft compromise charges funding businesses via Sept. 30.

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Appeals court provides Biden partial win in bid to reinstate health care employee mandate

The 5th US Circuit Court docket of Appeals issued an purchase Wednesday efficiently enabling the mandate to be enforced in about half the states in the place.

The challenge is likely to at some point be taken up by the Supreme Court.

The vaccine coverage in query was rolled out by the US Office of Overall health and Human Services’ Facilities for Medicare & Medicaid Products and services, which sought to call for the Covid-19 vaccine for overall health treatment workers at specified providers that take part in Medicare and Medicaid.

Two other main Biden vaccine insurance policies — one particular dealing with federal contractors and a different aimed at corporations with 100 or far more personnel — have also been halted by courts.

In its buy Wednesday, the 5th Circuit hinted at the likelihood that the Supreme Court will finally have to take care of the legality of the well being care worker mandate, calling it an “problem of terrific significance currently becoming litigated in the course of the place.”

Relevant: Trump-appointed judges dilemma part of vaccines in combat against Covid as they block mandates

“Its top resolution will profit from ‘the airing of competing view’ in our sister circuits,” the 5th Circuit explained in its get, which was issued by a panel produced up of two Democratic appointees and just one Republican appointee.

The mandate had previously been frozen nationwide by federal judge in Louisiana, whose get adopted the transfer by a federal decide in Missouri that blocked the mandate in 10 states. On Monday, the 5th Circuit — faced with a request by the Justice Department to reinstate the mandate — explained that the keep on the mandate will continue to be in position in the 14 states that brought the challenge in Louisiana.

Nonetheless, the appeals court solid question on the rationale for freezing the policy nationwide.

The 5th Circuit get did not disturb the separate go by the Missouri judge to block the mandate in the 10 states in the challenge to the requirement that was brought in Missouri. That purchase was recently still left in position by the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals. A 3rd appeals court docket has signaled that it thinks the mandate to be lawful.

The states exactly where the CMS mandate is at the moment on hold, less than the orders of the 5th and 8th Circuit, are: Louisiana,

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Biden admin invests $100 million on health care labor shortage

The Biden administration announced Thursday that it will direct $100 million to the National Health Service Corps to help address the health care worker shortage.

Pulled from funding in the American Rescue Plan, the $100 million represents one of the nation’s biggest investments in a program that helps place primary care doctors in communities that have difficulty recruiting and retaining them. It’s a five-fold increase from previous years, the Department of Health and Human Services said.

The National Health Service Corps offers loan repayments and scholarships to clinicians in exchange for multiple years of service in areas that have a health care provider shortage.

“Whether you’re in rural America, or in a low income part of America, that shouldn’t be a reason why you can’t access good quality health care,” Health Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a phone interview. “And so we want to help states that are going to try to do what they can to keep that public health workforce in those rural communities, those low-income communities, they’re where people need them.”

The announcement comes after the United States lost 17,500 health care employees in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With the industry’s employment figures now sitting at just under 16 million, the agency reported the country has lost 524,000 health care employees since the start of the pandemic. Job losses in nursing, hospitals and residential care saw the biggest drops in the industry last month.

Losing employees has in turn increased labor costs. Hospitals and other medical facilities have had to sharply increase spending on recruiting and retaining employees, according to a report published last week by Moody’s Investors Services. That has led to boosted benefit options and sign-on bonuses that can go well into five figures since the start of the pandemic.

“Covid has basically caused a laser focus on the glaring gaps and dysfunction across the American health care system,” said Tener Veenema, a scholar focused on workforce issues at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Health Security. “Making investments to redistribute health care providers into rural areas, low-resourced areas, is so important because we know how much they are suffering from a lack of access to good health care.”

States will be able to apply for grants until April and the Department of Health and Human Services predicts it will make up to 50 awards as high as $1 million per

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Biden uses Trump-era policy to expand health care for transgender Coloradans

The Biden administration is using a Trump-era policy to approve the expansion of health care coverage for transgender Coloradans, forcing many of the state’s private insurers to cover gender-affirming care.

Former President Donald Trump’s 2018 policy allows states to redefine the essential health care benefits insurers are required to cover under the Affordable Care Act. On Tuesday, the Biden administration used it to approve Colorado’s request to add gender-affirming care among its health plans’ guaranteed benefits.

The move will force individual and small-group insurers to cover transition-related procedures, including hormone therapy, breast augmentation and laser hair removal, starting Jan. 1, 2023.

Federal officials and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, one of two openly LGBTQ governors, said they hoped the measure would serve as a model to expand gender-affirming care in other states. The Biden administration also cited discriminatory barriers that transgender Americans frequently face when they seek transition-related care, often described as cosmetic.

“Health care should be in reach for everyone; by guaranteeing transgender individuals can access recommended care, we’re one step closer to making this a reality,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement Tuesday. “I am proud to stand with Colorado to remove barriers that have historically made it difficult for transgender people to access health coverage and medical care.”

Medicaid covers gender-affirming care in more than a dozen states, including Colorado. But only a handful of states, including Massachusetts and Washington, have policies similar to the new Colorado measure, requiring many private insurers to cover transition-related care.

As a result, nearly half of transgender Americans — including 54 percent of trans people of color — say that their health insurers covered only some of their gender-affirming care or that they had no providers in network, according to a survey last year by the Center for American Progress. The report found that 46 percent of trans respondents and 56 percent of trans respondents of color were denied gender-affirming care by their insurers.

Dr. Alex Keuroghlian, the director of the National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center at Boston’s Fenway Institute, who works directly with transgender patients, applauded the Biden administration’s new measure.

“What we’ve learned the hard way is that private insurers and employers won’t necessarily have these equitable policies around coverage of medically necessary gender-affirming care without the government enforcing such expectations,” he said.

Keuroghlian said that when Massachusetts similarly expanded coverage for transgender patients in

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