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va secretary wants congress to extend choice program


washington (ap) — veterans affairs secretary david shulkin says congress needs to act quickly to extend a program aimed at widening veterans’ access to private-sector health care, pointing to a growing demand for medical treatment outside the department of veterans affairs.shulkin also pledged additional efforts by his agency to combat suicide, saying he wanted to expand mental health care to former service members who receive “other than honorable discharges” from the military, typically for behavior problems such as violence or use of illegal drugs. shulkin did not release specific details, but said the va will act on its own to expand coverage without waiting for legislation. pentagon data has indicated that thousands of service members have had such discharges in recent years.“we are g






va secretary wants congress to extend choice program


washington — veterans affairs secretary david shulkin says congress needs to act quickly to extend a program aimed at widening veterans' access to private-sector health care, pointing to a growing demand for medical treatment outside the department of veterans affairs.shulkin also pledged additional efforts by his agency to combat suicide, saying he wanted to expand mental health care to former service members who receive "other than honorable discharges" from the military, typically for behavior problems such as violence or use of illegal drugs. shulkin did not release specific details, but said the va will act on its own to expand coverage without waiting for legislation. pentagon data has indicated that thousands of service members have had such discharges in recent years."we are going






congress: don’t destroy the affordable care act, make it better


i say to trump and congress — if you want to devise a system that provides health insurance to millions, not just the privileged few, why tear down everything? amend the affordable care act.president donald trump, in discussing health-care policymaking, recently said: “i have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject. nobody knew that health care could be so ‎complicated.”as anyone in the health-care industry will tell you, this industry, which is roughly one-fifth of the american economy, is byzantine and divided into many sectors. the entire industry is built on conflicts of interest and ethical challenges facing providers delivering health care.repealing the affordable care act (aca) would cost the country approximately $350 billion. by repealing, congress would be taking taxpay






trump speech leaves gop encouraged, but still divided on health care, taxes


the text of president donald trump's speech to congress, as released by the white house:mr. speaker, mr. vice president, members of congress, the first lady of the united states, and citizens of america:tonight, as we mark the conclusion of our celebration of black history month, we are reminded...the text of president donald trump's speech to congress, as released by the white house:mr. speaker, mr. vice president, members of congress, the first lady of the united states, and citizens of america:tonight, as we mark the conclusion of our celebration of black history month, we are reminded...






massachusetts to plug gap if congress blocks planned parenthood funds


massachusetts will plug any holes in the budget of the state chapter of planned parenthood if the u.s. congress moves to block the use of medicaid funds for treatment at the women’s health care organization, governor charlie baker said on friday.the move by the republican governor of a democratic-leaning state is intended in part to signal the gap between his positions and those of the republican-controlled congress, many of whose members oppose planned parenthood because the organization provides abortions.u.s. laws already prohibit federal money from being used for abortion, but currently allow the medicaid low-income health program to cover other services, such as screening and treatment for cancers and sexually transmitted diseases.“governor baker is a strong supporter of women’s healt






reps. darrell issa, duncan hunter to hold town halls saturday


after months of protests, petitions with thousands of signatures, and public demands from constituents, two republican san diego-area house members are holding town hall meetings on saturday.reps. darrell issa and duncan hunter are both scheduled to host separate forums and answer questions from constituents.some similar meetings with other republican members of congress elsewhere in the country have seen overflow crowds and tough questions for the legislators from voters who want their representatives to do more to increase government transparency, be a check on executive power or oppose president donald trump’s agendahealth care was a frequent topic at these meetings is expected to be at the issa and hunter events, now that republican lawmakers have unveiled a proposal they called the am






reps. darrell issa, duncan hunter to hold town halls saturday


after months of protests, petitions with thousands of signatures, and public demands from constituents, two republican san diego-area house members are holding town hall meetings on saturday.reps. darrell issa and duncan hunter are both scheduled to host separate forums and answer questions from constituents.some similar meetings with other republican members of congress elsewhere in the country have seen overflow crowds and tough questions for the legislators from voters who want their representatives to do more to increase government transparency, be a check on executive power or oppose president donald trump’s agendahealth care was a frequent topic at these meetings is expected to be at the issa and hunter events, now that republican lawmakers have unveiled a proposal they called the am






reps. darrell issa, duncan hunter to hold town halls saturday


after months of protests, petitions with thousands of signatures, and public demands from constituents, two republican san diego-area house members are holding town hall meetings on saturday.reps. darrell issa and duncan hunter are both scheduled to host separate forums and answer questions from constituents.some similar meetings with other republican members of congress elsewhere in the country have seen overflow crowds and tough questions for the legislators from voters who want their representatives to do more to increase government transparency, be a check on executive power or oppose president donald trump’s agendahealth care was a frequent topic at these meetings is expected to be at the issa and hunter events, now that republican lawmakers have unveiled a proposal they called the am






apnewsbreak: minnesota fears costs of gop health care plan


st. paul, minn. — minnesota officials are bracing for billions of dollars in additional health care expenses if congressional republicans enact a plan they're discussing to replace the affordable care act, according to a draft document obtained by the associated press.the planning document shows that the gop proposal, a draft of which was circulated last week, would cut $1.3 billion next year from the state's low-income health care program that covers roughly one-sixth of its 5.5 million residents. by 2021, the losses would accumulate to more than $5 billion, eventually costing the state $6 billion a year starting 2029. that analysis was prepared by the state's department of human services, which runs those programs.it illustrates the uncertainty states across the nation are grappling with






va secretary urges extension of troubled choice program


washington — veterans affairs secretary david shulkin urged congress on tuesday to act quickly to extend a troubled program aimed at widening veterans' access to private-sector health care, pointing to growing demand for medical treatment outside the department of veterans affairs.separately, the physician also pledged additional va efforts to combat suicide, pledging to expand mental health care to former service members who receive "other than honorable discharges" from the military, typically for behavior problems such as violence or use of illegal drugs. shulkin did not release specific details, but said the va will act on its own to expand coverage without waiting for legislation. pentagon data has indicated that thousands of service members have had such discharges in recent years."w






the american health care act: what's in it for you


now that health care experts and consumer advocates have had a chance to review a plan by republican lawmakers to replace obamacare, answers to burning questions -- especially from health care exchange members -- are starting to take shape. the proposed changes in the bill, called the american health care act, are by no means final. house republicans are expecting the ways and means and energy and commerce committees to take up the legislation this week and move the bill to the full house by early next month. but republicans have launched the bill with no information from the congressional budget office, which analyses legislation on behalf of lawmakers.playvideocbsngop health care bill slammed as "obamacare-lite" by republican pac the house republican's replacement proposal for the afford






the american health care act: what's in it for you


now that health care experts and consumer advocates have had a chance to review a plan by republican lawmakers to replace obamacare, answers to burning questions -- especially from health care exchange members -- are starting to take shape. the bill, called the american health care act, is bound to change, perhaps dramatically. for one thing, it is already being strongly criticized by some republicans in congress for being too similar to obamacare. the plan also must run the usual legislative gauntlet. the house ways and means and energy and commerce committees are expected to take up the legislation this week and move the bill to the full house perhaps as early as next week. then it must head to the senate, where more changes are likely to occur.in short, the current proposal is unlikely






the latest: ama won't back gop's health overhaul as drafted


washington — the latest on the health care debate as congress begins work on a gop-drafted overhaul (all times est):9:25 a.m.the american medical association says it won't support the proposed health care plan as drafted by congressional republicans.the nation's largest physicians group says the proposal is critically flawed and a threat to coverage for poor and sick people in the united states.the ama has sent a letter to congressional leaders outlining the organization's concerns about the plan to replace the affordable care act.the ama says the proposed rollback in medicaid expansion is especially worrisome. the group notes that the expansion has helped many states cope with rising demand for mental health and substance abuse treatment related to the opioid crisis.the letter asks congre






apnewsbreak: gop health plan could cost minnesota billions


st. paul, minn. (ap) — minnesota officials are bracing for billions of dollars in additional health care expenses if congressional republicans enact a plan they’re discussing to replace the affordable care act, according to a draft document obtained by the associated press.the planning document shows that the gop proposal, a draft of which was circulated last week, would cut $1.3 billion next year from the state’s low-income health care program that covers roughly one-sixth of its 5.5 million residents. by 2021, the losses would accumulate to more than $5 billion, eventually costing the state $6 billion a year starting 2029. that analysis was prepared by the state’s department of human services, which runs those programs.it illustrates the uncertainty states across the nation are grappling






yes, republicans are ramming trumpcare through congress


republicans often accused democrats of “ramming” the affordable care act through congress, despite the fact that its passage was an arduous, months-long process.the congressional republican replacement plan, in contrast, has zipped through congressional committees ever since its introduction on monday, and it’s expected to be voted on by the full house of representatives by the end of next week.cnn’s jim acosta on thursday called out white house press secretary sean spicer for slamming the democrats for supposedly ramming obamacare through congress while ignoring the incredibly fast timeline the gop has set up for itself with its replacement bill.“when you have committee chairs working through the night, when you have members of congress being asked to weigh in on a proposal that has not b






gop members of congress met with protests at town halls


republican rep. marsha blackburn returned to her district tuesday in tennessee and was greeted by tough questions on topics from health care reform to president donald trump's cabinet appointees. she also was met with protests.while 100 people crammed into her town hall gathering about 30 miles from nashville, another 100 people outside chanted about immigrant rights, planned parenthood and other topics in protest against the congresswoman and the president.blackburn's town hall was among several protests lobbed at gop members of congress returning home this week on break to their districts around the u.s. now many republican lawmakers are opting against holding public town halls, instead organizing conference calls or meeting privately.the crowd inside blackburn's event held up signs that






democrats: gop medicaid reform plan is really about tax cuts


washington — tensions emerged saturday between democratic and republican u.s. governors over a gop-led proposal for a major overhaul to medicaid, with democrats saying the changes would take away people's health coverage to finance tax cuts for the wealthy.gop governors intend to present congress with a plan that they say would give states more flexibility to administer health coverage for poorer residents while protecting states from absorbing the costs of repealing the affordable care act. democratic governors said saturday that their republican counterparts were being dishonest about the effects of their plan."they want to spend less money on people's health care so they can do tax cuts for the rich. they've tried to put this camouflage on it that somehow they're giving governors flexib






democrats, gop spar over medicaid reform at govs' meeting


washington — tensions emerged saturday between democratic and republican u.s. governors over a gop-led proposal for a major overhaul to medicaid, with democrats saying the changes would take away people's health coverage to finance tax cuts for the wealthy.gop governors intend to present congress with a plan that they say would give states more flexibility to administer health coverage for poorer residents while protecting states from absorbing the costs of repealing the affordable care act. democratic governors said saturday that their republican counterparts were being dishonest about the effects of their plan."they want to spend less money on people's health care so they can do tax cuts for the rich. they've tried to put this camouflage on it that somehow they're giving governors flexib






democrats: gop medicaid reform plan is really about tax cuts


washington (ap) — tensions emerged saturday between democratic and republican u.s. governors over a gop-led proposal for a major overhaul to medicaid, with democrats saying the changes would take away people’s health coverage to finance tax cuts for the wealthy.gop governors intend to present congress with a plan that they say would give states more flexibility to administer health coverage for poorer residents while protecting states from absorbing the costs of repealing the affordable care act. democratic governors said saturday that their republican counterparts were being dishonest about the effects of their plan.“they want to spend less money on people’s health care so they can do tax cuts for the rich. they’ve tried to put this camouflage on it that somehow they’re giving governors f






trump comes before congress, a body he has largely bypassed


the u.s. capitol is seen at sunset on feb. 8, 2017.(photo: michael reynolds, european pressphoto agency) 11 connect 4 linkedinemailmorewashington — when president trump heads to capitol hill on tuesday to address congress for the first time, he will be talking to lawmakers he sees more as nuisances than allies and has largely bypassed so far by issuing executive orders that don't need their approval, analysts say."what's clear to me is that president trump has no real respect for congress and would like to govern by executive order, but that's not how our system works," said elizabeth sherman, an assistant professor of government in the school of public affairs at american university. "he seems totally uncomfortable with the idea that 535 members of congress are making these major decision






trump comes before congress, a body he has largely bypassed


the u.s. capitol is seen at sunset on feb. 8, 2017.(photo: michael reynolds, european pressphoto agency) 5 connect 3 linkedinemailmorewashington — when president trump heads to capitol hill on tuesday to address congress for the first time, he will be talking to lawmakers he sees more as nuisances than allies and has largely bypassed so far by issuing executive orders that don't need their approval, analysts say."what's clear to me is that president trump has no real respect for congress and would like to govern by executive order, but that's not how our system works," said elizabeth sherman, an assistant professor of government in the school of public affairs at american university. "he seems totally uncomfortable with the idea that 535 members of congress are making these major decisions






trump comes before congress, a body he has largely bypassed


the u.s. capitol is seen at sunset on feb. 8, 2017.(photo: michael reynolds, european pressphoto agency) 14 connect 6 linkedinemailmorewashington — when president trump heads to capitol hill on tuesday to address congress for the first time, he will be talking to lawmakers he sees more as nuisances than allies and has largely bypassed so far by issuing executive orders that don't need their approval, analysts say."what's clear to me is that president trump has no real respect for congress and would like to govern by executive order, but that's not how our system works," said elizabeth sherman, an assistant professor of government in the school of public affairs at american university. "he seems totally uncomfortable with the idea that 535 members of congress are making these major decision






gop members of congress meet with protests at town halls


fairview, tenn. (ap) — republican rep. marsha blackburn returned to her district tuesday in tennessee and was greeted by tough questions on topics from health care reform to president donald trump’s cabinet appointees. she also was met with protests.while 100 people crammed into her town hall gathering about 30 miles from nashville, another 100 people outside chanted about immigrant rights, planned parenthood and other topics in protest against the congresswoman and the president.blackburn’s town hall was among several protests lobbed at gop members of congress returning home this week on break to their districts around the u.s. now many republican lawmakers are opting against holding public town halls, instead organizing conference calls or meeting privately.the crowd inside blackburn’s e






gop health care plan is a disaster for california


so much for president trump’s promise to deliver a health care plan that will “have insurance for everybody” and health care “that is far less expensive and far better.”ryancare is an unmitigated disaster.house speaker paul ryan released the plan monday, and trump enthusiastically endorsed it tuesday — even though it covers fewer americans, increases costs for low-income and senior citizens, increases the deficit, defunds planned parenthood and does zero to reduce overall health care costs. zero.who does it help? the wealthiest americans and the profits of insurance companies.the plan would be cataclysmic for health care in california, where one-third of the  population — 13 million people — are covered by medi-cal. by a conservative estimate, the state stands to receive $8 billion less a






gop health care plan is a disaster for california


so much for president trump’s promise to deliver a health care plan that will “have insurance for everybody” and health care “that is far less expensive and far better.”trumpcare is an unmitigated disaster.house speaker paul ryan released the plan monday, and trump enthusiastically endorsed it tuesday — even though it covers fewer americans, increases costs for low-income and senior citizens, increases the deficit, defunds planned parenthood and does zero to reduce overall health care costs. zero.who does it help? the wealthiest americans and the profits of insurance companies.the plan would be cataclysmic for health care in california, where one-third of the  population — 13 million people — are covered by medi-cal. by a conservative estimate, the state stands to receive $8 billion less a






rep. collins sees only 'gratitude' from republicans for trump's presidency so fa


rep. chris collins, r-n.y., listens at right as president trump speaks during a meeting with members of congress in the roosevelt room of the white house on feb. 16, 2017.(photo: evan vucci, ap) 5 connectlinkedinemailmorealmost exactly one year ago, rep. chris collins, r-n.y., became the first member of congress to endorse candidate donald trump for president. then, most of his congressional republican colleagues were skeptical of the real-estate mogul and reality tv star. now, president trump will deliver his first address to a joint session of congress on tuesday to outline his legislative agenda. in an interview with capital download on monday, collins, 66, discusses changing attitudes toward trump and dismisses allegations of contacts between russia and the trump campaign. questions an






the american health care act: what's in it for you


now that health care experts and consumer advocates have had a chance to review a plan by republican lawmakers to replace obamacare, answers to burning questions -- especially from health care exchange members -- are starting to take shape. the proposed changes in the bill, called the american health care act, are by no means final. house republicans are expecting the ways and means and energy and commerce committees to take up the legislation this week and move the bill to the full house by early next month. but republicans have launched the bill with no information from the congressional budget office, which analyses legislation on behalf of lawmakers.as a result, congress and health care experts are having trouble estimating how much the changes will cost and what effect the changes may






gop governors outline health care plan, medicaid changes


des moines, iowa (ap) — republican governors are sending a clear message to congress: don’t scrap the health care law without a viable alternative.seven republican governors from all regions of the country are presenting a proposal to the republican governors association meeting in washington on saturday. and it would call for major changes to medicaid, the joint federal and state health care program that covers more than 70 million poor and low-income americans.according to a draft of the proposal obtained by the associated press, the governors are urging congress to adopt an alternative that would essentially end medicaid as a federal entitlement and allow each state to design its own approach.the proposal, if adopted by the rga, would be submitted to congressional leaders as house repub






gop governors outline health care plan, medicaid changes


des moines, iowa (ap) — republican governors are sending a clear message to congress: don’t scrap the health care law without a viable alternative.eight republican governors from all regions of the country are presenting a proposal to the republican governors association meeting in washington on saturday. and it would call for major changes to medicaid, the joint federal and state health care program that covers more than 70 million poor and low-income americans.according to a draft of the proposal obtained by the associated press, the governors are urging congress to adopt an alternative that would essentially end medicaid as a federal entitlement and allow each state to design its own approach.the proposal, if adopted by the rga, would be submitted to congressional leaders as house repub






cuomo urges democrats to fight trump on repealing affordable care act


gov. andrew m. cuomo on wednesday urged congressional democrats to “stand up” and “fight” against the trump administration’s plans to repeal the affordable care act, suggesting they “take a page” from republican lawmakers who blocked the obama and clinton administrations’ major policy initiatives.at a rally in the bronx, organized by the local 1199 seiu health care workers union, cuomo said he had a message for democrats in congress: “it’s not time to make a deal. it’s not time to get political. it’s time to get principled.”most populardemocrats “have to stand up and learn from what the republicans did when they didn’t agree with something,” cuomo said. “the republican congress fought bill clinton every step of the way, and the republican congress fought barack obama every step of the way,






gop obstetrician in congress out to deliver obamacare repeal


rep. michael burgess, an obstetrician-gynecologist from texas who chairs the house subcommittee that will decide the fate of barack obama’s health-care law, has close ties to the health-care industry.denton, texas — republicans are under pressure to deliver an affordable care act repeal plan, and one of the crucial behind-the-scenes players is congress’ longest-serving doctor, a low-key policy wonk with close ties to the health-care industry.rep. michael burgess, r-texas, who previously worked as an obstetrician-gynecologist, is chairman of the house subcommittee assigned to determine what parts — if any — of barack obama’s health-care law would remain in trump’s america.“i favor success over and above everything else,” burgess said in an interview. “to me, success means we got rid of the






trump prepares to address a divided audience: the republican congress


washington – president donald trump is coming to capitol hill on tuesday night to address the nation — and, perhaps more importantly, his fellow republicans in congress who stand divided on key aspects of his legislative agenda.on health care, tax reform and federal spending, gop lawmakers hold differences of opinion within their own party that are obstructing passage of ambitious republican policies, and so far trump has shown little desire to openly referee those disputes.the discord was on display monday as trump prepared to deliver his first speech as president to a joint session of congress. the speech, set for prime time tuesday night, is expected to outline trump’s budget goals and other administration priorities.many republican members said this week they are eager for trump to pro






obamacare repeal in jeopardy — and not (just) because of democrats


closeskip in skipxembedxshare in his first speech to a joint session of congress, president donald trump embraced a key element of the emerging house gop health plan, in comments that cheered republican house leaders and could help bring conservatives back in line. (feb. 28) appresident trump and his staff host congressional leaders on march 1, 2017. the president and congress are working together to try and come up with a plan to repeal and replace the affordable care act that doesn't alienate members of their party.(photo: chip somodevilla, getty images) 295 connect 3 linkedinemailmorewashington — republicans have vowed for years to repeal the affordable care act, but now that they have a gop president asking for a repeal bill, a massive divide within the party threatens to derail the ef






obamacare repeal in jeopardy -- and not (just) because of democrats


closeskip in skipxembedxshare in his first speech to a joint session of congress, president donald trump embraced a key element of the emerging house gop health plan, in comments that cheered republican house leaders and could help bring conservatives back in line. (feb. 28) appresident trump and his staff host congressional leaders on march 1, 2017. the president and congress are working together to try and come up with a plan to repeal and replace the affordable care act that doesn't alienate members of their party.(photo: chip somodevilla, getty images) 246 connect 1 linkedinemailmorewashington — republicans have vowed for years to repeal the affordable care act, but now that they have a gop president asking for a repeal bill, a massive divide within the party threatens to derail the ef






obamacare repeal in jeopardy — and not (just) because of democrats


closeskip in skipxembedxshare in his first speech to a joint session of congress, president donald trump embraced a key element of the emerging house gop health plan, in comments that cheered republican house leaders and could help bring conservatives back in line. (feb. 28) appresident trump and his staff host congressional leaders on march 1, 2017. the president and congress are working together to try and come up with a plan to repeal and replace the affordable care act that doesn't alienate members of their party.(photo: chip somodevilla, getty images) 266 connect 3 linkedinemailmorewashington — republicans have vowed for years to repeal the affordable care act, but now that they have a gop president asking for a repeal bill, a massive divide within the party threatens to derail the ef






pre-existing conditions complicate health care replacement


chicago — as republicans try to unite around a replacement for the affordable care act, one of the most popular parts of the law will be among the most difficult to replace: the guarantee of health coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.the challenge of providing insurance for americans who have no other alternative has some congressional republicans considering whether to ask the states to reboot high-risk pools, an option with a rocky history. in the past, the pools served as insurers of last resort for people in poor health who could not get an individual policy from a commercial insurer."it's definitely a hand-off to the states," said economist douglas holtz-eakin, who has reviewed the gop plans and a recent briefing document for members of congress. "it's a commitment for mo






pre-existing conditions complicate health care replacement


chicago (ap) — as republicans try to unite around a replacement for the affordable care act, one of the most popular parts of the law will be among the most difficult to replace: the guarantee of health coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.the challenge of providing insurance for americans who have no other alternative has some congressional republicans considering whether to ask the states to reboot high-risk pools, an option with a rocky history. in the past, the pools served as insurers of last resort for people in poor health who could not get an individual policy from a commercial insurer.“it’s definitely a hand-off to the states,” said economist douglas holtz-eakin, who has reviewed the gop plans and a recent briefing document for members of congress. “it’s a commitment f






america's spooks want congress to extend massive spying powers but still won't a


two of the nsa's mass surveillance programs revealed by edward snowden are prism (which give the nsa "bulk data" access to the servers of apple, facebook, google, microsoft, yahoo and others) and upstream (through which the nsa taps the internet's fiber optic backbones). both are possible because of section 702 of the foreign intelligence surveillance act, which expires this year. report this ad the nsa have come back to congress for reauthorization of 702, with the support of both the outgoing obama administration and the trump administration. members of the house and senate committees that oversee 702 have renewed their longstanding requests for the most basic facts about these programs, such as number of americans that the nsa is spying on through these programs. the obama administratio






apple collaborates with rivals to a nce ai research


apple has joined rivals as it takes a step ahead to a nce research and development of artificial intelligence technologies. after months of collaborating, apple is joining the partnership on ai, with other founding members including google, ibm, microsoft, facebook, and amazon. the partnership of ai was founded in september last year to also steer debate on best practices on ai. the group believes ai could help in the areas of health care, transportation, and automation in factories. apple's most visible ai technology is siri, a voice istant that can answer questions. but a larger ai strategy is still a subject of speculation. microsoft, facebook, ibm, amazon, and google have well established ai strategies. speech and recognition are well-known use cases for ai. apple will likely impl