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Congress Health News Top Story

New fight opens in Congress over VA policy that sidesteps state abortion bans

WASHINGTON — Democrats in the U.S. Senate are confident the Department of Veterans Affairs can implement a new policy that allows its doctors to provide abortions when the pregnancy threatens the patient’s life or health, or when it's the result of rape or incest.  The VA announced the new policy last week to cheers from Democrats who have been searching for ways to broaden abortion access in states where the procedure has been outlawed since the U.S. Supreme Court ended the constitutional right to abortion in June.

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Health News Top Story

Duke physicians express worry about the new abortion restrictions – and those to come

Duke Health physicians gathered Tuesday in an online round-table discussion of how new abortion restrictions - and those on the horizon - hurt their ability to treat pregnant patients and are likely to lead to more maternal deaths. When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion, North Carolina became a destination for women from surrounding states that quickly moved to strictly limit abortion access or impose total bans.

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Congress Health News Top Story

Twenty states, D.C. join in opposing Texas lawsuit on emergency abortion care

North Carolina's Josh Stein is among the signatories WASHINGTON — Attorneys general from 20 states and the District of Columbia filed a brief in federal court on Tuesday, challenging Texas’ assertion that states shouldn’t have to comply with a federal law that protects doctors who end a pregnancy to save the patient’s life.  The brief argues the judge in the case shouldn’t grant Texas’ request for preliminary injunctive relief...

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Health News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Fentanyl in NC: An epidemic within the opioid epidemic

A year ago this month, Barb Walsh was enjoying a feeling of pride for which every parent longs. Sophia, the second of her four daughters, had come through the COVID-19 pandemic, graduating from Appalachian State University’s business school in 2020 and getting a good job with Milwaukee Tool. Driven, competitive and self-sufficient, Sophia was never the sort of kid her mother had to worry about.

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Congress Health News Top Story

Biden signs landmark bill aiding veterans exposed to burn pits overseas

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden signed legislation into law Wednesday that will provide health care and benefits to veterans exposed to burn pits in Afghanistan and Iraq, achieving a long-term, personal goal. “I was in and out of Iraq over 20 times,” Biden said of prior trips to the war zone he took as both a U.S. senator and as vice president.

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Health News Top Story

Monday numbers: As U.S. states struggle with post-Roe abortion laws, a look at public opinion around the globe

A lot has happened since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in late June, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion. Republican-led states have made moves to revive previous abortion restrictions or enact new and sweeping ones. Democratic-led states have rushed to enshrine the right in state law.

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Health News Top Story

The monkeypox outbreak: Where things stand in NC, what you should know

With the monkeypox outbreak spreading across the country, North Carolina has reported more than 70 cases of the virus so far, according to data compiled by the state Department of Health and Human Services. Nearly half of the cases have been in Mecklenburg County.

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Health News Top Story

A community ravaged by opioids looks to heal with settlement funds

On Tuesday morning, Wake County held its first community meeting on how it will spend its share of a historic $26 billion National Opioid Settlement – more than $35 million over the next 18 years. But before the crowd of nearly 200 talked about solutions, Megan Peevey took them on a guided tour of the dark corners of opioid addiction most North Carolinians are lucky to never to see for themselves.

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Health News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at the scourge of opioid abuse, and your chance to shape where recovery resources go

It has been a year since a coalition of state attorneys general first announced the National Opioid Settlement. That historic $26 billion agreement with three major pharmaceutical distributors (Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen) and manufacturer Johnson & Johnson is intended to help communities dramatically harmed by the opioid epidemic.

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Congress Health News Top Story

Members of U.S. Senate panel fight over effects of abortion ruling on Black patients

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday began wading through the dozens of state laws that have taken effect in the two weeks since the Supreme Court ended the constitutional right to an abortion, and heard from witnesses who said the effect on Black patients will be especially harsh. “People of color, specifically Black people, will feel the impact of the court's decision in Dobbs more than any other racial group,” said Khiara M. Bridges, professor of law at UC Berkeley School of Law, referring to the decision, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

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Health News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Medicaid expansion would help people incarcerated in jails and prisons — the ‘black hole of the mental health system’

Thousands of people currently cycling in and out of jails and prisons are among the roughly 600,000 who would get health coverage under Medicaid expansion, potentially transforming North Carolina’s justice system. Dorel Clayton became unmoored after his mother died of ovarian cancer, in 2001.

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Health Law and the Courts News Top Story

‘More than a vessel’: North Carolina doctors raise red flags over the realities of a post-Roe world

North Carolina obstetricians and gynecologists are raising concerns over the burden tighter restrictions on abortion could have on women as well as the medical profession. Dr. Jonas Swartz is an assistant professor in Duke University's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a researcher in reproductive health equity issues.

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Health Law and the Courts News Top Story

Overturning Roe would hand power over abortion to states. Many would ban it.

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down a nearly 50-year-old right to abortion would lead to strict restrictions or bans by states across nearly half the country almost immediately. The court is poised to overturn the landmark 1973 case Roe v. Wade, as well as a subsequent ruling on fetal viability, according to an initial draft of a majority opinion in a pending abortion case published Monday by Politico.

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Congress Health Law and the Courts News Top Story

U.S. Senate to try again on abortion rights after bombshell disclosure of draft opinion

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Democrats on Tuesday pledged a new vote codifying the right to an abortion after publication of a draft court ruling that showed the Supreme Court on track to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion decision. Democrats, who likely won’t have the votes to advance that bill, also predicted that abortion will emerge as a major issue in the upcoming midterm elections for members of Congress.

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Congress Health News Top Story

Health risks for families in military private housing probed by U.S. Senate panel

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs panel on Tuesday grilled officials running private housing for service members about reports of deplorable living conditions from military families. The hearing, led by Chairman Sen. Jon Ossoff, a Georgia Democrat, and top GOP member Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, followed a joint release of a report by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

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Congress Health News Top Story

Nine rare cancers tied to burn pit exposure added to VA benefits list

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is adding nine rare respiratory cancers linked to burn pit exposure to the list of illnesses eligible for disability and health benefits. President Joe Biden, who has said his son Beau Biden’s exposure to toxic fumes from the pits could have led to his death, announced the policy change Monday, saying in a statement he hopes to avoid repeating mistakes of the past.

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