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Teva settles Medicaid false billing case tied to Chicago doctor

By Jonathan Stempel (Reuters) - Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd agreed to pay $27.6 million to settle charges that it paid kickbacks to a Chicago psychiatrist to induce him to prescribe an anti-schizophrenia drug to patients, resulting in more than 100,000 false Medicaid and Medicare claims.

US administration pulls back on Medicare drug benefit proposals

By David Morgan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration, in an abrupt about-face, said on Monday it would drop proposed changes to Medicare drug coverage that met wide opposition on grounds they would harm health benefits for the elderly and disabled. Late last week, more than 370 organizations representing insurers, drug makers, pharmacies, health providers and patients urged the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to withdraw changes it had proposed for Medicare Part D.

35 Pct of Puerto Ricans rely on food stamps

San Juan, Mar 10 (EFE).- Thirty-five percent of the population in Puerto Rico receives food stamps, an abnormally large proportion due in part to a 31 percent increase in the number of Puerto Ricans over 60 who qualify for benefits. Seniors account for 264,000 of the 1.3 million people on the island receiving help under the Puerto Rican equivalent of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Facing strong opposition, Obama administration drops proposed changes to Medicare drug plan

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration says it's pulling the plug on proposed changes to the Medicare prescription program that ran into strong opposition on Capitol Hill. Among other changes, the regulation proposed to remove three classes of drugs from a special protected list that guarantees seniors access to a wide selection of critical medications. The three classes of drugs facing removal were antidepressants, antipsychotics and drugs that suppress the immune system to prevent rejection of a transplanted organ.

Arkansas lawmakers vote to fund state's alternative to Obamacare

By Steve Barnes LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (Reuters) - The Arkansas House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to fund the state's so-called "Private Option" medical insurance program that has drawn interest from lawmakers in other states as an alternative to Obamacare. The measure, which had earlier passed the state Senate, received 76 votes, one more than necessary in the 100-member House. This ended a more than week-long standoff over the health insurance program for lower-income residents.

U.S. expands healthy food assistance to women, infants and children

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Some 9 million poor women and young children who receive federal food assistance under the U.S. government's so-called WIC program will have greater access to fruits, vegetables and whole grains under an overhaul of the program unveiled on Friday. The U.S. Department of Agriculture hailed the revamping of its Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children as the first comprehensive revisions to WIC food voucher allowances since 1980.

Utah GOP governor rejects traditional Medicaid expansion, wants federal grant to help poor

SALT LAKE CITY - Utah's Republican governor announced Thursday he wants to reject a full Medicaid expansion that would enrol more people in the government program, and instead seek federal dollars to cover the poor in private plans. Gov. Gary Herbert's decision came after months of pushing back an announcement, making him one of the last governors in the country to announce his intentions about expanding Medicaid. Herbert, like many Republican governors, is opposed to President Barack Obama's health law but has said the state has an obligation to help the poor.

Obamacare insurers in Louisiana delay HIV policy change

By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and two smaller insurers will delay implementing policies to stop poor HIV patients from paying for Obamacare plans with funds from the federal Ryan White HIV/AIDS assistance program. The decision, which the insurers revealed at a federal court hearing on Tuesday, prompted the judge to lift a temporary restraining order that forced them to delay the change in policy for 14 days.

U.S. Medicare chief defends proposed Part D drug benefit reforms

By David Morgan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration's top Medicare official on Tuesday defended proposed changes to the popular Part D drug benefits program for the elderly and disabled that are fiercely opposed by a broad network of drugmakers, insurers, healthcare providers and patient advocates.

More than 100,000 migrants eligible for California health program

Los Angeles, Feb 25 (EFE).- Close to 125,000 young immigrants in California who benefit from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals are eligible for Medi-Cal, the Golden State's Medicaid program, a report released Tuesday said. The analysis, presented by the UC Berkeley Labor Center, the UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, says that many of those young people are unaware they are eligible for Medi-Cal or run into obstacles in signing up.
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