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Meghan McCarthy

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Troops not safe from sequestration

November 16, 2012 If Washington’s defense community has achieved one thing over the past year, it’s spreading the message of how the fiscal cliff could desecrate the military. Sequestration cuts of $55 billion would jeopardize weapons contracts, furlough civilian staff, and imperil national security, defense hawks say. One glaring casualty has gotten far ...

Senators jab FDA over lethal meningitis outbreak

November 15, 2012 The Food and Drug Administration was the subject of tough criticism from Democrats and Republicans today at a Senate panel investigating a deadly meningitis outbreak. The Senate Health, Education, Pensions and Labor Committee held a hearing on tainted drugs produced by the New England Compounding Center that have killed 32 ...

White House holds back on sequester details

October 25, 2012 There’s a funny thing happening at federal agencies. When it comes to the details of the looming $1.2 trillion cut to their budgets, agency officials find themselves unable to explain just how those cuts would affect myriad programs on the ground. Instead, they have a unified message: talk to the ...

Treasury may revamp flexible spending account rule

August 13, 2012 A little-noticed bulletin from the Treasury Department could have a big impact on the roughly 155 million Americans who use flexible spending accounts to cover out-of-pocket health care expenses. The government's notice, sent out in May, included a surprise in what otherwise might have been a dry announcement on the ...

Obesity a national security issue, experts agree

May 23, 2012 Improving school lunches and nutrition education are a key way to get Americans healthy enough to join the military, and a badly divided Congress might be amenable to cooperating on this one issue, obesity policy experts said said Wednesday. The nation’s health is “a train wreck that is occurring in ...

Supreme Court to say yes or no to gene patenting case

February 21, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Is a single human gene, isolated from its cell and chromosome, a natural product or a patentable piece of intellectual property? That's the question at the center of a case the Supreme Court could take up Tuesday. The answer could have wide-reaching implications for the biotechnology sector, which relies on ...

Obama sticks to same Medicare cost-savers

February 13, 2012 President Obama sticks to his Medicare proposals from last year in his 2013 budget, asking seniors to pay more for their Medicare while also cutting payments to health care providers. His budget projects Medicare spending of $528 billion in fiscal 2013. The president estimates that Medicare can save at least ...

What kind of health insurance do the GOP candidates get?

January 12, 2012 Charles Krupa/AP Mitt Romney's rivals may enjoy repeating his line that he likes "being able to fire people who provide services to me," but when it comes to health insurance, he has the luxury of choosing among several coverage options, thanks to the health care reform law he signed in ...

What's at stake if Congress fails this time?

December 19, 2011 Congress is threatening stalemate again, and this time the effect would be felt by millions of average Americans. Here is what's at stake if lawmakers fail to stitch together some deal to keep alive jobless benefits, the payroll tax cut, and the "Doc fix" patch. UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE Roughly 1.8 million ...

House votes to repeal contractor withholding tax

October 27, 2011 The House voted 405-16 on Thursday to repeal a law requiring governments at the federal, state, and local levels to withhold 3 percent of what they would pay most contractors until those vendors have fully paid their taxes. But it remains uncertain what the Senate will do. Last week, Senate ...