This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. First Edition: July 11, 2012 Today’s headlines include reports about the scheduled House vote on repealing the health law as well as how stakeholders — whether it be certain governors or wall street investors — are responding to the Supreme Court’s decision on the Medicaid expansion. Kaiser Health News: Health On The Hill: Court Ruling Triggers Tax Debate On Capitol Hill Kaiser Health News staff writer Mary Agnes Carey talks to Jackie Judd about Tuesday’s House Ways and Means Committee session on the individual mandate and congressional taxing authority. They also preview Wednesday’s House vote to repeal the health law. Listen to the audio or read the transcript.Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Report: Nation Isn’t Ready For Seniors’ Mental Health NeedsNow on Kaiser Health News’ blog, Christian Torres reports: “A continued lack of specialists and other trained providers including primary care physicians and nurses will likely make it difficult for aging patients to receive treatment for depression, dementia and other conditions” (Torres, 7/10). Check out what else is on the blog.Los Angeles Times: Republicans Focus On Repealing, Not Replacing, ‘Obamacare’And as the House prepares to take its 33rd vote to repeal all or part of the Affordable Care Act, senior Republicans say they will not try to move a replacement plan until 2013 at the earliest. “There might be a chance for us to do this next year,” House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-San Dimas) said Tuesday (Levey, 7/11).The Associated Press/Washington Post: GOP Casts Repeal Of Obama’s Health Care Law As A Chance To Stop A TaxHouse Republicans, stung by the Supreme Court decision upholding President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, are seizing on one wrinkle to bolster their election-year case for repeal — the court’s judgment that the penalty for failing to get insurance is a tax (7/11).Reuters/Chicago Tribune: New Name, Old Campaign As Republicans Wage War On ‘Obamacare’On Tuesday they began debate on the 31st, the “Repeal of the Obamacare Act,” which is certain to win passage when the House votes on Wednesday and just as certain to go no further, since the Senate and White House are both in Democratic hands. It will be the second time the House has voted an outright repeal of the Obama administration’s healthcare law. The first came just after Republicans won control of the chamber in the 2010 election. The main change between then and now was the Supreme Court’s ruling on June 28 upholding the law as a valid exercise of Congress’ taxing power (Ferraro and Smith, 7/10).The Wall Street Journal: House Set To Vote On Health-Law RepealThe House is expected to vote Wednesday to repeal President Barack Obama’s health-care law, as Republicans continue their furious response to the Supreme Court decision to uphold the law. … GOP leaders want to reaffirm their opposition to it in advance of November’s elections. The arguments on the House floor Tuesday ahead of the vote weren’t new, but the urgency was greater (Bendavid and Radnofsky, 7/11).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Feds To Waive Insurance Mandate For Low-Income People In States That Don’t Expand MedicaidIn a letter to governors Tuesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said low-income residents in those states who would have been eligible for the coverage will not face the individual insurance mandate (7/10).NPR: Will Medicaid Bring The Uninsured Out Of The Woodwork? Ever since the Supreme Court decided last month that an expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act should be optional, quite a few Republican governors have been vowing to take a pass (Rovner, 7/11).Politico: Southern Governors Secede From MedicaidHouse Republicans are lining up to repeal the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday, but GOP governors in the South have a real plan to gut the law. Govs. Rick Perry in Texas and Rick Scott in Florida have both said they won’t expand Medicaid to more of the working poor in their states — rejecting a central part of the law designed to cover 15 million more Americans (Allen and Smith, 7/10).The Associated Press/Washington Post: GOP Governors Doubt Feds Can Deliver Health Care To Uninsured On ScheduleIn a letter Tuesday to Obama, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said GOP governors think it’s unlikely the federal government will meet deadlines for new health insurance markets in each state by 2014. If that’s the case, the governors said Obama should acknowledge it now (7/10).The Washington Post: McDonnell Considers Opting Out Of Medicaid ExpansionGov. Bob McDonnell sent a letter to legislators Tuesday saying that he is considering whether Virginia should opt out of the federal health law’s Medicaid expansion, but needs more information (Kumar, 7/10).Politico: Experts On Medicaid: Go SlowThree former administrators of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services who served Republican presidents have a bit of advice for Democrats trying to get conservative governors to go ahead with Medicaid expansion: Be flexible. Don’t make it a political litmus test. And try not to pour fuel on what’s already a hot-burning fire. The unexpected Medicaid ruling by the Supreme Court left the states with unexpected options and dozens of questions — and the three former CMS chiefs doubt they will be answered quickly, maybe not until after the elections (Norman, 7/10).Politico: Medicaid Expansion Could Pay Off For InvestorsFor all the Republican governors saying they’ll block President Barack Obama’s plan to expand Medicaid in their states — now at least five — the market seems to think they’re bluffing. There are clear signs that Wall Street is anticipating a spike in Medicaid spending that would come from the expansion (Reis, 7/10).Reuters/Chicago Tribune: Tax Businesses See Profits In Healthcare LawWhile some see the new healthcare law as a source of controversy, tax preparation companies see it as an opportunity, hoping it will bring in millions of new and confused customers (Temple-West, 7/10).Los Angeles Times: Buying Health Insurance Is A ‘Moral Duty,’ Bioethicists SayIn the debate over the legitimacy of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known by many as “Obamacare,” the question that keeps coming up is this: If the government can force you to buy health insurance because it’s good for society as a whole, what’s to stop lawmakers from requiring you to eat broccoli and join a gym? But that’s not the right way to look at it, according to a Viewpoint essay to be published in Wednesday’s edition of the Journal of the American Medical Assn (Kaplan, 7/10).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Report: Contractors Hired To Weed Out Medicare Fraud Have Connections To Cos. They InvestigateFirms that are paid tens of millions of dollars to root out Medicare fraud are bidding on contracts to investigate companies they are doing business with — sometimes their own parent companies, according to a government report released Tuesday (7/10).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Aging Boomers To Face Hard Time Finding Mental Health Care; Report Urges Geriatric TrainingGetting older doesn’t just mean a risk for physical ailments like heart disease and bum knees: A new report finds as many as 1 in 5 seniors has a mental health or substance abuse problem (7/10).The Associated Press/Washington Post: White House Says 8,000 Seasonal Firefighters Win Right To Buy Federal Health InsurancePresident Barack Obama will make federal health insurance available to about 8,000 temporary wildland firefighters, a White House official said Tuesday. Despite the grueling and dangerous work they do, the 8,000 firefighters aren’t covered by federal health insurance because they are temporary seasonal employees. Under federal personnel rules, such employees can’t buy into federal health insurance plans (7/11).Check out all of Kaiser Health News’ e-mail options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page.
Looking beyond the final vote tallies, news outlets delve into exit poll findings in order to gain insights into how voters feel about the health law, the economy and other issues.The Wall Street Journal: Economy’s Fate A Central Concern Of VotersFears over the economy and unemployment were the central focus of voters who cast ballots in the presidential election Tuesday, with issues such as health care, the federal budget deficit and foreign policy rated far lower in importance. Exit polls showed that many voters see Mitt Romney as better positioned to fix the economy and President Barack Obama as having a better feel for the middle class and how to handle Medicare (King, 11/6).Politico: Exit Polls 2012: Split On ObamacareVoters are deeply divided on whether some or all of the Obama health care law should be repealed, according to early exit polls. Forty-five percent of voters said they think the 2010 law should be either fully or partially repealed, compared with 47 percent who want to see the law remain as-is or see it expanded further (Schultheis, 11/6).CNN: Exit Polls: Obamacare Remains A Hot-Button IssuePresident Obama’s health care reform law — Obamacare — continues to be very controversial, exit polls indicated Tuesday. In Florida, the exit polls showed 49 percent of voters say the 2010 law should be repealed completely or in part. Forty-three percent said it should be expanded or kept as is. Florida voters also had the opportunity to vote on amending the state constitution to prohibit individuals and businesses from being compelled to participate in any health care system. Exit polls show that vote is very close. Exit polls in Ohio, show 52 percent said they think the president’s health care reform law should be repealed completely or in part while 42 percent said it should be expanded or left as is. There’s a similar split in other swing states. Iowa: 53 percent for change or repeal and 38 percent for leaving it or expanding it. New Hampshire: 50 percent for change or repeal and 47 percent for leaving it. Colorado: 55 percent-37 percent for repeal. Even in the president’s home state of Illinois, 49 percent said they want Obamacare changed or repealed while 47 percent want it expanded or left as is (Kanel, 11/7).Also in the news, The New York Times notes that the outcome could cause the GOP to revisit the “antigovernment focus” that stemmed from the opposition to the Affordable Care Act –The New York Times: Republicans Face Struggle Over Party’s DirectionThe coming debate will be centered on whether the party should keep pursuing the antigovernment focus that grew out of resistance to the health care law and won them the House in 2010, or whether it should focus on a strategy that recognizes the demographic tide running strongly against it. … The first test of whether Republicans see any political need to be more conciliatory will come quickly in the lame duck session of Congress this month, when they will face pressure from the White House, Congressional Democrats and perhaps the Senate Republican leadership to strike a deal to avert the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and the beginning of automatic across-the-board spending cuts (Hulse, 11/7). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Exit Polls Find That The Health Law Remains Controversial
Every week reporter Ankita Rao selects interesting reading from around the Web.The Atlantic: How Price Transparency Could End Up Increasing Health-Care CostsGetting your appendix out can cost between $2,000 and $180,000. Hip replacements run from $10,000 to more than $100,000. Hospitals, we have also learned, frequently mark up the price of cotton swabs and routine X-rays by 300 or 400 percent, with most patients oblivious to the reason their health care bills are so large. As a response to the hidden variability in health care prices, an increasing number of states have passed price transparency legislation. Federal legislators have even introduced several bills into Congress to make health care prices more transparent. Expect more such bills to follow (Peter Ubel, 4/9)The New Yorker: The D.S.M. And The Nature Of DiseaseWhen the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders hits the stores on May 22nd, it will signal the end of a fraught thirteen-year campaign. Every revision of the D.S.M. causes controversy; that’s what happens when experts argue in public about the nature of human suffering. But never has the process provoked warfare so brutal, with attacks coming from within the profession as well from psychiatry’s usual opponents. Indeed, it’s possible that no book has ever been subject to such scrutiny in the course of being written. It is as if J. K. Rowling had produced her Harry Potter sequels in a glass studio with fans looking on and banging the windows whenever she typed something they didn’t like (Gary Greenberg, 4/9). The Washington Post: Eating Made Her Sick, But It Took Doctors Years To Figure Out WhyA year after her daughter’s stomach problems began, Margaret Kaplow began having pains of her own. When she sat down to dinner with her family, Kaplow’s gut would clench involuntarily as she waited to see if this was one of the nights Madeline would eat a few bites before putting down her fork, pushing away from the table and announcing, “I don’t feel good.” For nearly six years, Maddie Kaplow’s severe, recurrent abdominal pain, which began shortly before her 13th birthday, was attributed to a host of ailments (Sandra G. Boodman, 3/25).Health Affairs: Tackling The Weight Of The WorldWorking with an obese young woman in Gabon prompts US medical and public health fellows to seek solutions to obesity and its related health problems in the developing world. … We were intrigued by Marie’s case. Her condition was familiar to us because we had trained in the United States, where diet-linked chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes are pervasive. But it was strange to see a morbidly obese young woman being treated in the same hospital where one of us was also developing a protocol for the nutritional needs of undernourished children. The world’s rapidly changing caloric and nutritional imbalance—evident in the fact that the number of obese people worldwide is now estimated to exceed the number with malnutrition—was brought vividly home to us (Laura M. Blinkhorn and Mascha A. Davis, April 2013). Longer Looks: Global Obesity, Health Care Cost Transparency, A Medical Puzzle This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
State Roundup: Calif. Lawmakers Push For Health Plan For Immigrants In U.S. Illegally This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. A selection of health policy stories from Massachusetts, California, Michigan, Texas, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Tennessee.Los Angeles Times: Boston Bombing Amputees Face Tough, Costly RecoveryFor many of the injured, even those who have health insurance, the process may also be costly. Health insurance plans often restrict coverage for therapy and prosthetics. But a decade of wars has helped fuel breakthroughs that could help many Boston victims — including those with amputated limbs — live full, active lives (Levey, 4/21).Sacramento Bee: Some California Leaders Want Low-Cost Health Care For Undocumented Immigrants About a million of California’s poorest undocumented immigrants would have access to basic low-cost health care under a plan being pushed at the Capitol. President Barack Obama’s federal health care overhaul excludes undocumented immigrants, but some California leaders want to fill that gap by offering a safety net of primary and preventive care that does not consider immigration status. The county-run program would give undocumented immigrants – and legal residents who can’t afford health insurance but don’t qualify for Medi-Cal – the ongoing opportunity to see a doctor, get tested and receive treatment before minor health problems become severe (Sanders, 4/19). The Associated Press: Bill Allows Refusal Of Health Care On Moral BasisFor 35 years, Michigan law has protected health care providers who refuse to perform an abortion on moral or religious grounds. … Legislation that could be voted on as early as this week in the Republican-led Legislature would extend the same legal protections for any medical service such as providing contraception or medical marijuana, or taking someone off life support. Employers and health insurers — not just medical providers — also could opt out of paying for services as a matter of conscience (Eggert, 4/21).The Texas Tribune/New York Times: Optometrists Seek Negotiating Power With InsurersA group of Texas optometrists is lobbying the State Legislature for more power to negotiate contracts with health insurance companies, and the measure they are supporting could hit consumers’ wallets, some business advocates say (Aaronson, 4/20).The New York Times: California Tries To Regain Fuller Control Of PrisonsIn 1995, a federal court appointed a special master to carry out reforms in mental health care [at California’s prison system], which it found inadequate at the time and in violation of the Constitution. The court ruled this month that the federal overseer was necessary to remedy continuing constitutional violations behind problems like the high suicide rate. The state is arguing that mental health care meets or exceeds constitutional standards. It is spending $400 million a year on mental health care in its prisons, and a dozen new facilities valued at a total of $1.2 billion have been built in the past three years or are under construction (Onishi, 4/20).The Washington Post: Chartered Could Owe D.C. Health Providers $85 MillionThe city’s doctors, clinics and hospitals could be owed a combined $85 million from the soon-to-be-defunct D.C. Chartered Health Plan, and it remains unclear how the once-dominant city health contractor will be able to pay the vast majority of those claims. … The $85 million figure, which is about double previous estimates of Chartered’s potential liabilities to providers, represents about $60 million in Medicaid claims that have been incurred but have yet to be paid. An additional $25 million could be owed to providers due to litigation — likely related to a pending battle between Chartered and the MedStar hospital chain (DeBonis, 4/19).The Washington Post: Problems At Pa. Abortion Clinic Point To Lack Of Facilities OversightThere was no shortage of red flags about what was allegedly going on in the three-story brick building on a bustling stretch of Lancaster Avenue in West Philadelphia. A routine inspection of Kermit Gosnell’s abortion clinic had turned up problems as early as 1989, according to official reports. … The case has captivated and repulsed a nation where back-alley abortion clinics have become a rarity since 1973, when the Supreme Court legalized abortion. The catalogue of horrors delineated by prosecutors has raised questions about whether there is adequate inspection and regulation of the 1,800 facilities nationwide that provide abortions (Dennis and Somashekhar, 4/20).Boston Globe: New Spaulding Hospital Is Rehab RethoughtDavid Estrada, paralyzed from the chest down in a motorcycle accident 18 years ago, remembers well his miserable three months in a rehabilitation hospital room he shared with three other patients. That experience inspired him to help others with disabilities, which is why Estrada stopped short as he rolled his wheelchair through the new Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown during its construction last winter. He’d heard there was a panoramic water view from the hospital’s third-floor gymnasium, but he was not seeing it. The sills blocked the view of anyone in a wheelchair. … Estrada’s observation prompted the lowering of the sills. Price tag for the redo: $300,000 (Lazar, 4/22).Modern Healthcare: HCA To Grow Presence In Behavioral Health, Official SaysHCA, the Nashville-based hospital giant, is building its presence in the behavioral health space at a time when the field is poised to grow. The publicly traded company has been a “re-start-up” in the sector since late 2009, said Terry Bridges, president of behavioral health care services, who spoke at an Avondale Partners’ behavioral health conference this week in Nashville. Bridges joined HCA that year from Psychiatric Solutions, where he was co-chief operating officer. Universal Health Solutions bought Psychiatric Solutions in 2010, and Bridges’ arrival at HCA was seen as sign that it planned to boost its own mental health services (Kutscher, 4/19).California Healthline: Attorney: Decision Overdue In Suit Challenging Medi-Cal Disabled CutsA federal judge is “about to decide” a case with large ramifications for the developmentally disabled community. William McLaughlin, an attorney representing The Arc of California, a national disabled-rights group, said a final ruling from U.S. District Court judge Morrison England is coming “any time now.” In a Jan. 24 hearing, McLaughlin argued for a preliminary injunction to halt the rate reductions. He contends a decision is overdue (Gorn, 4/19).
A selection of health policy stories from Colorado, Minnesota, Georgia, Virginia, California, New York, Michigan and Tennessee.The New York Times: Heroin’s Death Toll Rising In New York, Amid A Shift In Who Uses ItA heroin crisis gripping communities across the country deepened in New York last year, with more people in the city dying in overdoses from the drug than in any year since 2003. In all, 420 people fatally overdosed on heroin in 2013 out of a total of 782 drug overdoses, rising to a level not seen in a decade in both absolute numbers and as a population-adjusted rate, according to preliminary year-end data from the city’s health department (Goodman, 8/28).McClatchy: TennCare Computer System Delay Draws Federal CriticismJust days before TennCare leaders head to court over accusations that state failures have created months-long delays in coverage, the agency’s director faced questions from lawmakers about the unfinished computer system that led to those delays. TennCare Director Darin Gordon told lawmakers Tuesday that nearly a year after the new state’s new Medicaid eligibility system was supposed to be completed, the contractors building the system have not finished even the first of four testing phases (Harrison Belz, 8/27).Health News Colorado: Race To Win $87 Million Could Fuel Blended Physical, Behavioral HealthIntegration is a hot buzzword to describe efforts to blend physical and behavioral health care. But the sad truth from experts who have been doing integration for decades is that most efforts won’t work, either because managers don’t know how to fully integrate their health systems or because they can’t pay for it. Colorado health policy leaders are trying to strengthen and expand integration pilot programs with a jolt of federal cash. Much like “Race for the Top” funds in education, states are competing for a new pot of $700 million in federal cash to fuel innovations in health. Colorado officials are applying for $87 million and could get an answer by the end of October (Kerwin McCrimmon, 8/27).Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Minnesota Doctors Now Must Report Dense Breast Tissue On MammogramsThe standard “all-clear” letter sent after mammograms to tell women they are cancer-free is going to contain new and potentially troubling information for thousands of Minnesota women — the disclosure that they have dense tissue in their breasts that could cloud their cancer screenings. Minnesota mandated as of Aug. 1 that doctors notify women if their mammograms discover dense breast tissue, which can mask the presence of a tumor on an X-ray (Olson, 8/27).Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Increased Medicaid Pay For Doctors Set To End This YearDr. Sean Lynch is forced to turn away as many as seven low-income patients every day, and that number could soon grow. For the past two years, Lynch and other Georgia doctors have received more money for treating Medicaid. … But the reimbursement hike — fully paid for by the federal government for two years — is set to end on Dec. 31 unless the state opts to extend the increase with its own money (Murchison, 8/28).Stateline: Fighting Financial Scams Aimed At SeniorsSally Hurme figured that if anyone knew about financial scams targeted at older Americans, it would be her family and friends. After all, Hurme, an attorney and AARP project advisor, had spent two decades educating seniors across the country about fraud and how to avoid it. That’s why she was so shocked when her own husband, Art, 71, became the victim of a fraud in January. The retired Army Corps of Engineers marine biologist wound up losing $3,000 in an “imposter scam” after receiving a call at his Alexandria, Va., home from a sobbing woman claiming to be his daughter (Bergal, 8/27).Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Urgent Care Centers Opening For People With Mental lllnessMental health urgent care centers, also known as crisis stabilization units, are opening throughout California in response to the shortage of psychiatric beds and the increase in patients with mental illnesses showing up at hospital emergency rooms with nowhere else to go, experts and advocates said. In Los Angeles County, four such centers have opened and several more are planned. L.A. County’s mental health director Marvin Southard said the centers are a more effective way to care for many patients with mental illness and are less disruptive to hospitals. And county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who led the effort to open the center, said they are “more humane” and a smarter approach (Gorman, 8/28).The Associated Press: Deal On Health Care Aids Port Contract TalksNegotiators hoping to forge a new contract for dockworkers and keep hundreds of billions of dollars in cargo moving smoothly through West Coast seaports made significant progress with a tentative deal on health care benefits, a knotty issue that tied up talks for months. West Coast dockworkers already have unusually generous health benefits — so generous, argue their employers who pay for the coverage, that the insurance plan has become riddled with fraud (8/27).The Associated Press: Firm Allegedly Gipped Workers Out Of Jobs, $100KProsecutors hammered a Brooklyn contractor Wednesday with allegations he cheated workers out of $100,000 and reneged on promises of permanent jobs and health care. Contractor Anthony Miller and his firm Bael Out Enterprises were arraigned in Brooklyn Supreme Court on charges they schemed to defraud more than 70 workers and failed to obtain workers’ compensation insurance (8/27).Kaiser Health News: Health Law Spurs Focus On Faster Drug DevelopmentImagine if scientists could recreate you — or at least part of you — on a chip. That might help doctors identify drugs that would help you heal faster, bypassing the sometimes painful trial-and-error process and hefty health care costs that accompany arriving at the right treatment. Right now, at the University of California, Berkeley, researchers in bioengineer Kevin Healy’s lab are working to make that happen. Funded under a provision of the health law, they’re trying to grow human organ tissue, like heart and liver, on tiny chips (Hernandez, 8/28). Pioneer Press: Minnesota Health Care Union Vote Bucks National Labor TrendThe creation of a new bargaining unit to represent the state’s 27,000 home health care workers could boost the dwindling ranks of union membership in once labor-strong Minnesota. While the percentage of Minnesota workers affiliated with unions is still above the national average, it has been steadily declining since its peak at 22 percent in 1992, according to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (Woltman, 8/26).Detroit Free Press: New Nonprofit Aims To Boost Michigan Women’s Access To Health CareA new nonprofit dedicated to informing Michiganders about the types of laws passed or being considered by the state Legislature that it sees as detrimental to women’s access to health care will officially get off the ground today. Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, is the spokeswoman for the new group — Right to Health — that will travel the state to talk to women about obstacles to obtaining quality health care (Gray, 8/28). State Highlights: Heroin Deaths Rise In N.Y.; TennCare Computer System Delay; Colo. Races To Win $87M To Integrate Care; This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Arizona Republic: VA Secretary McDonald Presses For Veterans’ Care Reform President Barack Obama is making a first-time visit to the Arizona veterans’ hospital that triggered a national examination into how the government cares for its former service members to get an appraisal on the health system’s progress and its lingering needs. Obama will travel to Phoenix on Friday to draw attention to the Veterans Affairs Department response to widespread mismanagement where VA workers falsified waiting lists to conceal chronic delays in care. (3/13) The Washington Post: VA Manager Helped Pick Relative’s Property For New Medical Center Department of Veterans Affairs manager Wendy Gillis seemed to understand the trouble with serving on a selection committee that was considering five of her family’s properties for a new VA medical center in Fayetteville, N.C. “I don’t think I need to be here … Oh my god, I shouldn’t be here,” a VA official remembered her saying during a 2010 evaluation of one relative’s plot. (Hicks, 3/13) The Associated Press: Obama To Visit VA Hospital, Check Progress On Veterans Care This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. On the eve of a presidential visit to the Phoenix VA hospital, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald stressed that reforming his massive federal agency is a process with two key elements: leadership and time. (Wagner, 3/12) Whether President Barack Obama thinks things are getting better at the Phoenix VA may depend on whether he talks to patients or staff. Current and former employees at the veterans hospital that spawned a nationwide scandal last year warn that a culture of sloppy service and reprisals against whistleblowers persists and should make vets think twice before renewing their trust in the agency. (Wheaton, 3/12) Kansas Health Institute News Service: Moran Questions VA Commitment To Veterans Choice Program Obama Pays Visit To Troubled VA Hospital President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit the Arizona veterans hospital which triggered national scrutiny of the VA health care system. On the eve of that visit, VA Secretary Robert McDonald says it will take time and leadership to reform the massive system. Millions of veterans nationwide now have a card that’s supposed to improve their access to health care. But a Kansas senator and some other members of Congress doubt the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is really serious about the new Veterans Choice Program. The program is meant to let veterans get care from private providers if they live at least 40 miles from a VA health care facility or if they face a wait of more than 30 days for an appointment. … At a recent hearing, [Sen. Jerry] Moran told McDonald the VA seems to be putting its own welfare ahead of what’s best for veterans. “The concern I have is that the VA has a mentality against outside care, even in the circumstances of (when veterans) can’t get care within 30 days or within 40 miles,” Moran said. (Thompson, 3/12) Politico Pro: Obama Confronts VA Mess In other news related to veterans’ health –
Health insurance is supposed to help you pay for your health care, but it’s also supposed to protect you from financial ruin. A large new survey finds that, for nearly a quarter of insured adults, insurance has provided flimsy protection against huge medical bills. The survey, from the health research group the Commonwealth Fund, looked at around 3,000 adults who had been insured all year, and found that in 2014, 23 percent of them were “underinsured,” according to a definition of financial exposure developed by the researchers. (Margot Sanger-Katz, 5/20) The New York Times’ The Upshot: Why Insurance Doesn’t Always Prevent Giant Medical Bills The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is charged with administering many key provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). One might expect the IRS to follow the law when doing so. In drafting regulations to implement the PPACA’s tax credit provisions, however, the IRS seems to have a habit of ignoring the statutory text where the IRS does not like the result. (Jonathan H. Adler, 5/19) JAMA: Measuring Vital Signs A traditionally marginalized component of the health care system, mental health and substance use issues have long been treated separately from physical health—despite the fact that we know they can have an impact on our physical well-being. Bridging the divide between behavioral and primary health care not only makes sense, it’s what patients want. Recent Blue Shield of California Foundation research reveals that low-income patients prefer to receive behavioral health services in the same setting as they receive their primary care. It also shows that a broad gap still exists between need and available treatment. (Rachel Wick, 5/16) The budding enthusiasm for performance measurement … has begun to create serious problems for public health and for health care. Not only are many measures imperfect, but they are proliferating at an astonishing rate, increasing the burden and blurring the ability to focus on issues most important to better health and health care. Measures of the same phenomenon also vary in specification and application, leading to confusion and inefficiency that make health care more expensive and undermine the very purpose of measurement, namely, to facilitate improvement. … In response to these issues, a new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), Vital Signs: Core Metrics for Health and Health Care Progress, addresses the major opportunities and current problems in the health care measurement enterprise. (David Blumenthal and J. Michael McGinnis, 5/19) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Huffington Post: It’s Not Just You — Those Health Insurance Deductibles Are Getting Scary Viewpoints: Too Many Consumers Underinsured; Getting A Grip On Performance Measures A selection of opinions on health care from around the country. The Washington Post: Yet Another Example Of The IRS Disregarding The Plain Text Of The PPACA Health Affairs Blog: Bridging The Gap Between Behavioral And Primary Health Care For Low-Income Patients The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Are More Americans Benefiting From Obamacare Than Realize It? One reason the Affordable Care Act gets mixed reviews is the persistent and sharp partisan divide in public opinion on the law. But a less appreciated reason for this is simply that many more people benefit from the ACA than may realize it. More than half of Americans say the health reform law has had no impact on them or their family, Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Polls have found. As the chart above shows, that’s true of Democrats (60%), independents (54%), and Republicans (55%). But the ACA benefits more people than say it has affected them and far more than the approximately 23 million more people who have signed up for a marketplace plan or Medicaid as a result of the law. (Drew Altman, 5/20) Debates about health care frequently focus on the number of people with and without insurance, because it’s a relatively straightforward thing to measure. … But an equally important question is what kind of insurance you have — and that includes whether your policy leaves you exposed to large, potentially crippling out-of-pocket expenses. … If you get sick and end up in the hospital, a high deductible could leave you owing many thousands of dollars, forcing you into financial distress. You wouldn’t be uninsured, but you would be underinsured. You’d also have lots of company. (Jonathan Cohn, 5/20)
Oakland-based Asian Health Services received a $120,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to pilot a microloan program for nail salons in Alameda, San Francisco, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties that want to achieve the status of “Healthy Nail Salon” — a designation established by the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative for salons that avoid certain toxic ingredients and commit to certain requirements. The microloan program will help nail salons get no-interest, no-fee loans to buy nail products without toxic ingredients (including what health experts call “the toxic trio”: dibutyl phthalate, toluene and formaldehyde) and to purchase equipment to better ventilate their spaces. (Sciacca, 11/30) Health News Florida: Insurance Regulators Appeal Workers’ Comp Ruling Atlanta Journal Constitution: Dr. Oz Being Sued In Georgia By Olive Oil Trade Group Crisis Text Line, launched in 2013, is already available to “anyone, anytime, anywhere,” said Mary Gloner, executive director of Project Safety Net, another Crisis Text Line partner. Through Crisis Text Line, 2,400 volunteer counselors nationwide provide crisis help purely via text messaging. The service is free, confidential and available 24/7. (Lee, 11/30) TraceLink Inc., a North Reading startup that develops software to help drug companies fight counterfeiting by tracking their medicine shipments, said Wednesday that it has raised $51.5 million in venture capital to speed its growth. The company will use the cash infusion to beef up its sales and marketing operations in Europe and elsewhere while working on new health care and patient adherence software application, said chief executive Shabbir Dahod. (Weisman, 11/30) WBUR: After Soda Tax Proposals Pass Elsewhere, Issue To Be Raised Again In Mass. Kansas Health Institute: State Medical Malpractice Fund To Reduce Surcharge Following the lead of other states, a South Florida House member filed a proposal Tuesday to create a sales-tax exemption for feminine hygiene products. The bill, (HB 63), filed by Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation, for consideration during the 2017 legislative session, calls for a tax exemption on the sales of products such as tampons, sanitary napkins and pantiliners. Similar proposals to eliminate what has become known as the “tampon tax” have moved forward in other states. (11/30) The policy, released in September and open for public comment until Dec. 9, would ban pesticide application by aircraft, sprinkler, powder and gas between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday to Friday within a quarter-mile of schools and child care facilities. Farmers have historically needed county permits for pesticide applications near schools, but the new rule would be the first state policy to put a blanket restriction on such aerial spraying. (Caiola, 11/30) Health News Florida: State Reports 7 New Zika Cases State health officials said Tuesday that seven more Zika cases have been reported in Florida, bringing the overall number of cases in the state to 1,213. Two of the cases involved Miami-Dade County residents who were infected with the mosquito-borne virus locally, according to information posted on the Florida Department of Health website. The department said it was investigating to determine where exposure occurred. (11/30) Retiree health care would get more expensive for employees of cities, villages, townships and counties under a package of 12 bills introduced Wednesday by Republicans in the House of Representatives. The bills would require municipalities who offer retiree health care and whose funds for those costs are less than 80% funded to make the public employees pick up at least 20% of the cost of their retiree health care. The package would cover current retirees and existing employees even if the benefits were negotiated under a union contract and would cut off nearly all retiree health care for new employees hired after April 2017. (Gray, 11/30) A bill filed to the General Assembly by a lawmaker representing Clayton County could outlaw the use of cell phones by drivers, except for hands-free calls.Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta), who represents a portion of Clayton County in the Georgia House of Representatives, filed House Bill 7 on Nov. 15. The bill would prohibit the use of a cell phone by drivers of motor vehicles in the state, if the phone is not being used for a hands-free call. (Adgie, 11/30) The North American Olive Oil Association filed a lawsuit in Fulton County Superior Court this week against Oz claiming that he’d made “disparaging statements,” about the purity of olive oil sold in the United States. Michael Kohler, an Atlanta attorney representing the industry, declined comment on the lawsuit Wednesday. There was no immediate response from Oz’s production company. (Bentley, 11/30) Detroit Free Press: House GOP Bills Would Boost Some Retiree Health Care Costs State Highlights: Fees To Med-Mal Fund Reduced For Kan. Providers; Fla. Reports 7 New Zika Cases Outlets report on health news from Kansas, Florida, Michigan, Massachusetts, California and Georgia. Sacramento Bee: New California Pesticide Rules Worry Farmers, Satisfy Some Parents San Jose Mercury News: Bay Area Nail Salons Get Help To Improve Worker Health Suddenly, soda taxes are fizzing up around the country: in Philadelphia this summer, then in votes this month in locales from the Chicago area, to San Francisco and Oakland, to Boulder. But if this is an idea whose time has come — combining a big new stream of revenue with the public health appeal of cutting sugar consumption — it has yet to catch on in Massachusetts. Proponents have pushed a soda tax here for several years to no avail, even when they had the hearty backing of then-Gov. Deval Patrick. (Goldberg, 11/30) Many Kansas health care providers will see a lower cost next year for participating in a state fund that backs them up if a malpractice claim exceeds their primary insurance. All Kansas health care providers are required to participate in the Health Care Stabilization Fund, which is paid for through a surcharge on their primary liability insurance. Russ Sutter, an actuary with the firm Willis Towers Watson, told an oversight committee Wednesday that the fund’s board of governors had approved a reduction after claims and related legal fees came in below expectations in the fiscal year that ended June 30. (Marso, 11/30) Boston Globe: TraceLink Raises $51.1 Million To Speed Growth Health News Florida: Bill Seeks Repeal Of Florida’s ‘Tampon Tax’ The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation said Tuesday it is appealing a circuit judge’s ruling that would block a 14.5 percent increase in workers’ compensation insurance rates. The office filed a notice of appeal, a move that is expected to allow the rate increase to start taking effect Thursday as originally planned. Though Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers issued an order to block the increase, appeals by state agencies typically lead to legal stays of such orders. (11/30) San Jose Mercury News: Caltrain Promotes Bay Area Suicide Crisis Line: ‘Help Is Just A Text Away’ Henry Herald: Local Lawmaker Proposes Cell Phone Ban Usage In Vehicles This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Reddit More Facebook Share this storyInnovation gets a further boost as Ottawa overhauls grant programs Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn February 27, 20187:42 PM ESTLast UpdatedFebruary 28, 201812:49 PM EST Filed under News Economy Innovation gets a further boost as Ottawa overhauls grant programs Streamlining of grant programs — from 92 to 35 — is said to be the most significant in recent memory Jesse Snyder Email Twitter Recommended For YouAll 23 crew of seized British-operated tanker are safe -Iranian TVOptiv Security Brings Cybersecurity Innovation to Dallas-Fort WorthThe storm is coming and investors need a financial ark to see them throughTrans Mountain construction work can go ahead as National Energy Board re-validates permitsDavid Rosenberg: Deflation is still the No. 1 threat to global economic stability — and central banks know it OTTAWA — The federal government is boosting funding for research and innovation while dramatically reorganizing how it doles out money to industry and academic institutions, reducing the number of grant programs from 92 to 35.In its 2018 budget released Tuesday, Ottawa also said it was mulling ways to “simplify” the 22 grant programs administered by Canada’s five regional development agencies — a move that is likely to cause a rift between local agencies and the feds.The changes come as part of broader efforts by the Trudeau government to spur innovation. The 2018 budget layers new, albeit smaller, funding increases on top of the massive spending on innovation introduced in 2016.The moves announced in the budget are said to be the most significant streamlining in recent memory.The 17 programs administered by the National Research Council of Canada will be reduced to around five programs; six programs under the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada will be consolidated into one “collaborative research and development” program.Five ways the federal budget may affect average CanadiansFederal budget aims to boost the number of women in the work forceHey big spender, it’s time to turn in those $1,000 billsOttawa to study merits of ‘open banking,’ a catalyst for fintechThe nine grant programs currently administered by Natural Resources Canada, including the Forest Research Institutes Initiative and the Energy Innovation Program, will be consolidated into three separate programs focused on forestry, energy and mining.The government also said it was looking to reorganize the programs offered under Canada’s regional agencies to focus more directly on “helping firms scale up, develop new markets and expand.” The country’s five regional development agencies are locally governed and autonomous from Ottawa, unlike federal bodies that allocate subsidies for businesses.Private firms have long complained that applying for funds is a difficult process, largely due to a confusing thicket of grant programs, advisory services and financial supports offered to Canadian businesses. Last month, the government set up its Innovate Canada online portal, which is meant to funnel all funding applicants through a single, centralized service.Ottawa’s program reorganization comes alongside a spending boost.Funding for academic institutions for research-related activities is set to rise $340 million in fiscal year 2018-19, for a total increase of $3.2 billion over five years, or 25 per cent, from current levels. Direct research funding, excluding program costs, is currently around $3.1 billion every year.“Researchers can make a big, long-term impact on our economy,” Finance Minister Bill Morneau told reporters Tuesday.Meanwhile, direct funding to industry for innovation is set to rise $434 million in 2018-19, for a total increase of $2.5 billion over five years. Ottawa currently spends roughly $1.7 billion, excluding operating costs.The federal government’s advisory council on economic growth, set up in 2016 and headed by Dominic Barton of consulting firm McKinsey & Company, called for spending on innovation to rise, coupled with a scrapping of many decades-old grant programs offered to businesses. Funding for innovation as a percentage of GDP has tapered off in Canada over the past 10 years, dipping well below two per cent. South Korea spends as much as four per cent of GDP on innovation.“Doing more of the same is not going to create a successful Canadian innovation eco-system,” said Barton’s report released in February 2017.A separate report last year by University of Toronto president David Naylor, who was appointed by Science Minister Kirsty Duncan in June 2016 to assess research funding in Canada, called for research-related funding to be boosted from $3.5 billion to $4.8 billion. Ottawa’s spending plans fell short of the higher end of that target.The budget included little detail around how programs under regional agencies might be reshuffled, but simply said government officials would spend the next year exploring possibilities. It only said those agencies would “maintain their current functions that support communities in advancing and diversifying their economies.”There are currently 22 innovation grant programs administered by Canada’s five regional agencies, including Western Economic Diversification Canada, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and others.Adjusting the structure of grant programs under regional agencies is a politically sensitive issue for the Trudeau Liberals. Oversight of the agencies was placed under the Innovation, Science and Economic Development department in 2016, but they have long said they need to maintain some level of autonomy in order to allocate funds in the most effective way possible.Ottawa also announced new funding for some regional agencies, including an annual $20 million cash injection, beginning 2018-19, for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and a $920 million cash injection, over six years, for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.It said it plans to introduce legislation to enable Western Economic Diversification Canada to “collaborate more effectively with the provinces” in its region.Ottawa also declined to implement a recommendation by Barton to cut tax credits offered to corporations for innovative activities, which currently amounts to roughly $3 billion per year. The government is said to be currently assessing the recommendation.• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: Comment Join the conversation → 0 Comments
Postmedia partners with tech news service The Logic: ‘Another bet on journalism’ The deal will see Postmedia invest in The Logic and offer a selection of its work through online products including the National Post and various city papers Postmedia Network, Inc., the company that owns the National Post, will take a minority interest in The Logic, a subscription-based online news service that reports on the innovation economy.The deal is in its early stages and terms have not yet been agreed, but a letter of intent signed Wednesday will see Postmedia invest in The Logic and offer a selection of its work through online products including the National Post and various city papers.Some of The Logic’s content will be available to National Post readers, while some will remain restricted to paying subscribers.The Logic launched last year as a subscription based news service that also offers conference calls and daily briefings focused on tech and innovation. It has published ground-breaking work on issues such as Toronto’s dealings with Sidewalk Labs, and Facebook’s controversial advertising policies.The innovation economy is thriving in Canada and The Logic has tapped into the stories and insights that make it tick What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation May 22, 201910:07 PM EDTLast UpdatedMay 22, 201910:11 PM EDT Filed under News 0 Comments Share this storyPostmedia partners with tech news service The Logic: ‘Another bet on journalism’ Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Twitter Reddit Email Facebook advertisement Headed by David Skok, formerly of the Toronto Star and Boston Globe, The Logic will retain its independence, and will continue to serve its community of subscribers, while also trying to expand it through the vastly larger distribution network of Postmedia.“The premise is that tech is not a siloed vertical, it really is the future of Canada,” Skok said in an interview. For a small startup, he said the investment and access to distribution will allow the news operation to grow and hire more journalists.Skok said that offering for free what it has so far charged money for will not dilute the value of his team’s work any more than the syndication strategies used by large American media outlets such as The New York Times and Washington Post. On the contrary, he expects it to lead to more subscribers through greater visibility.“It’s another bet on journalism for Postmedia,” said Postmedia CEO Andrew MacLeod in an interview.He described the partnership as a “graceful” way of simultaneously chasing the proven potential of digital subscriptions, while not threatening the company’s broader strategy of digital advertising.Putting up increasingly strict paywalls in pursuit of subscription dollars is a common strategy, but can be at cross-purposes to a digital advertising strategy that aims at the largest possible audience.MacLeod said there is evidence, however, that people are willing to pay for certain “bespoke” content bundles, such as The Logic, and these can be profitable.MacLeod also described the investment as something of a test for that strategy, which could be replicated in areas other than the innovation economy, such as food and wine or sports.“The innovation economy is thriving in Canada and The Logic has tapped into the stories and insights that make it tick while demonstrating, in a very short period of time, its strength and credibility in the space,” MacLeod said in a statement. “Partnering with The Logic provides the opportunity to build, grow and validate digital subscription models which are showing increasing traction around the world.”• Email: email@example.com | Twitter: Comment More Joseph Brean Join the conversation → Sponsored By: Postmedia CEO Andrew MacLeod: “Partnering with The Logic provides the opportunity to build, grow and validate digital subscription models which are showing increasing traction around the world.”Peter J. Thompson/Financial Post/File Recommended For YouRimini Street Becomes Support Service Provider for Hyundai-Kia Motors’ Global Database PortfolioN.Y. Fed ‘Empire State’ factory index posts biggest gain in over two yearsWith hip hop and bumper home loans, big banks target South Africa’s youthN.Y. Fed ‘Empire State’ business index posts biggest gain in over two yearsBalfour Beatty appoints counsel to probe U.S. Air Force base allegations Featured Stories ← Previous Next →
Honda took to the Tokyo Motorcycle Show yesterday to debut its latest EV work. The company unveiled two models including a CR Electric dirt bike and Benly Electric city delivery scooter. more…The post Honda unveils electric version of CRF450 dirt bike & new electric scooter appeared first on Electrek. Source: Charge Forward
Source: Charge Forward A proposed bill in the Illinois legislature would raise the state’s annual registration fee for all-electric vehicles from $17.50 to a whopping $1,000. more…Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09bIEmS_KdYThe post Proposed Illinois bill would force EV owners to pay $1,000 annual registration fee appeared first on Electrek.
Source: Charge Forward Tesla confirmed today that it has increased the prices of all Model 3 variants by $400 and it has also made changes to its ‘off-the-menu’ Model 3 variants. more…Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqMH4mh99DcThe post Tesla increases price of all Model 3 variants, even ‘off-the-menu’ base model appeared first on Electrek.
Range and recharge times are perhaps the two biggest issues currently facing electric vehicles. But StoreDot is ready to solve at least one of those. The company just showed off its fast charging batteries by topping up an empty electric scooter battery in just 5 minutes. more…Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1zk7Eb8r-s&list=PL_Qf0A10763mA7Byw9ncZqxjke6Gjz0MtThe post Electric scooter recharges in 5 minutes with StoreDot’s new battery, coming to cars next appeared first on Electrek. Source: Charge Forward
Colombian capital Bogotá will add 594 new all-electric buses to its TransMilenio public bus system in 2020, giving the city the largest electric bus fleet in Latin America, Bogotá Mayor Enrique Peñalosa said. more…Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1zk7Eb8r-s&list=PL_Qf0A10763mA7Byw9ncZqxjke6Gjz0MtThe post Bogotá, Colombia to add nearly 600 electric buses in 2020, makes claim for largest fleet in Latin America appeared first on Electrek. Source: Charge Forward
Chinese chemical manufacturers Haiyi and East Chem are launching local production of OCSiAl’s TUBALL BATT, a single-wall carbon nanotube (SWCNT) additive for silicon anodes for EVs. SWCNTs are designed to improve battery performance and cycle life when added into the silicon anode. Haiyi and East Chem aim for a combined annual production volume of 7,000 metric tons of the TUBALL BATT.Zhijun Liu, General Manager of Haiyi, said, “With the guidance and support of the OCSiAl technical team over the past 3 years, we have now launched the production of TUBALL SWCNT dispersions in China. Local production allows Chinese battery manufacturers to greatly reduce the costs by using TUBALL BATT conductive additive. We have obtained certification from local battery manufacturers, and have now started to sell large batches. Haiyi will continue to expand its production capacity of SWCNT dispersions, and we welcome visits from colleagues from the industry to our production plant.”Jian Lin, Vice President of R&D at BAK Power Battery, said, “SWCNTs are the best currently available solution on the market, with their excellent performance being far superior to that of other similar conductive additives. Due to their high aspect ratio and G/D ratio, dispersed SWCNTs are very effective in batteries. The addition of SWCNTs in anodes hugely reduces capacity loss with aging and improves cycle life.” MORE: Solving the energy density challenge with single wall carbon nanotubesSource: OCSiAI Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on July 10, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News Source: Electric Vehicles Magazine
In need of an electric car platform? You may want to contact REE.Source: Electric Vehicle News
Ewan Murray and Dominic Fifield Share via Email news McCoist bullish but Rangers beset by injuries and suspensions Share on Facebook Thu 17 Apr 2008 21.11 EDT Share on LinkedIn This article is more than 11 years old Share on Twitter First published on Thu 17 Apr 2008 21.11 EDT Rangers’ disappointment at losing Wednesday night’s Old Firm encounter intensified yesterday with the news that injuries to Lee McCulloch and Allan McGregor will cause them to miss a crucial part of the season’s run-in.Both players suffered damaged ankles in the 2-1 defeat at Parkhead and McCulloch could be absent for the rest of the campaign while McGregor, the goalkeeper who has been in tremendous form of late, faces at least a fortnight of recuperation. Rangers will be without them for the next Glasgow derby on Sunday week – a game for which Carlos Cuéllar is suspended – and both legs of the forthcoming Uefa Cup semi-final against Fiorentina.”It’s a blow to lose both players,” conceded Ally McCoist, the Rangers assistant manager. Kevin Thomson and Barry Ferguson are also out of Fiorentina’s visit to Ibrox in six days’ time through suspension.The Scottish Football Association, meanwhile, has confirmed that one-match bans have been imposed on Gary Caldwell and David Weir after the pair traded blows, moments after Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink scored a 94th-minute winner for Celtic. Weir will sit out Rangers’ Scottish Cup semi-final against St Johnstone on Sunday and Caldwell misses Celtic’s visit by Aberdeen tomorrow.Yet a bullish McCoist has predicted that the experience of Walter Smith, the Rangers manager, should be sufficient to guide the team to the Premier League title. Smith’s team remain a point ahead of Celtic with two games in hand. “The players will look to the manager, who has been over the course and distance on numerous occasions,” McCoist said. “We couldn’t have anybody better than Walter in these circumstances to look up to.”Rangers, meanwhile, will give 2,500 free tickets to their supporters for the away leg of the Uefa Cup semi-final at a cost of £50,000.Jens Lehmann may have played his last game for Arsenal with Arsène Wenger hopeful his first-choice goalkeeper, Manuel Almunia, will have recovered from a wrist injury to regain his place against Reading tomorrow.Almunia sustained the injury in training before last weekend’s trip to Manchester United, handing Lehmann only his fifth Premier League appearance of the season and his first start since mid-February. The German, who is out of contract in the summer and may retire following Euro 2008, performed capably enough at Old Trafford but would be replaced if Almunia proves his fitness today. “Maybe Manuel Almunia will be available, I don’t know,” said Wenger yesterday. “I will make a decision on Friday morning. He got injured in training on the Friday before Manchester. We sent him for a scan and there was an inflammation so he could not play.”Doubts remain over Mathieu Flamini’s long-term future at the Emirates and the France midfielder will miss the Reading match as he continues his rehabilitation from the ankle injury sustained at Anfield. Talks remain at an impasse betweenArsenal and Flamini’s agent over a new contract with a number of European clubs – including Juventus and Bayern Munich – keen to secure his services in the summer under the Bosman ruling. This article is more than 11 years old Soccer Rangers Topics Share on Pinterest Soccer Share on WhatsApp Share on Facebook Share via Email Share on Messenger Share on Twitter Shares00 Ally McCoist Reuse this content
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