- The U.S. Justice Department, responding to a temporary Supreme Court injunction, said Roman Catholic nuns running a national chain of nursing homes don't need additional religious liberty protection from a federal Obamacare rule requiring employers and insurers to cover contraceptives. An order from the high court on the injunction in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Sebelius was expected as early as the end of last Friday, after deadline. The Justice Department filed a brief with the Supreme Court on Friday asking Justice Sonia Sotomayor to undo the temporary injunction she issued Dec. 31 blocking the government from enforcing the rule as of Jan. 1.
U.S. Justice Department responds to injunction on Obamacare contraceptives, and other news
- Unnecessary emergency department use increased for uninsured working-age adults in Oregon who gained Medicaid coverage, researchers reported in Science. That's compared to adults who were excluded from Medicaid under the state's lottery for safety net insurance. ED use was higher among the newly insured overall, by about 40%, at an estimated additional cost of $120 per insured person a year. Some observers say the findings suggest that the Obamacare insurance expansion, rather than leading to less ED use, may result in more.
- The federal government plans to intervene in four federal whistle-blower suits against Health Management Associates, the hospital chain said in a stock exchange filing after three federal district courts unsealed the complaints. Whistle-blower suits that have the support of the government are historically more likely to succeed. HMA also disclosed that the government plans to intervene in four additional qui tam cases. The chain said in the filing that it intends to contest the complaints and seek dismissal of the suits. Two of the unsealed complaints, filed in Georgia and Florida, allege that HMA inappropriately admitted patients to its hospitals and then violated the False Claims Act in submitting the claims for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.
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