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Saturday, Nov 29th

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Challenge To Obamacare On Contraceptives Rejected

contraceptive challenge rejectedA federal appeals court on Friday rejected a challenge to Obamacare that would have enabled non-profit religious organizations to avoid government-approved contraception programs.

In a 3-0 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit concluded that the challenged regulations do not impose a substantial burden on religious groups.

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US bishops may tighten restrictions on Catholic hospital mergers

Catholic hopsital mergersU.S. bishops may soon ramp up efforts to restrict reproductive health care, including women’s access to abortions, at facilities where Catholic hospitals have merged or partnered with their secular counterparts.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) this week voted almost unanimously — in a 213-2 vote — to review its policy on “forming new partnerships with health care organizations” to address a directive issued in February from the Vatican’s conservative Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith that, in essence, prohibits Catholic hospitals from merging with secular hospitals that do not uphold the same values.

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Nurses stage global protests over Ebola

Nurses stage ebola protestTens of thousands of nurses in the United States and around the world are expected to participate in a global day of action over Ebola on Wednesday, demanding better training and equipment to help them combat the deadly virus.

A day ahead of the protests, America’s largest nurses union, National Nurses United (NNU) estimated that some 100,000 of its members would participate in strikes and vigils to highlight perceived failings in the national response to the Ebola threat.

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U.N.'s Ban warns against quarantining Ebola health workers

UN; don't quarantine health workersU.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned on Monday against "unnecessarily" strict restrictions on the movement of health workers who have been fighting the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa.

In some U.S. states officials have imposed quarantines on health professionals returning from three Ebola-ravaged West African countries, but the U.S. federal government opposes such measures.

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Terminally ill Brittany Maynard takes her own life

Brittany MaynardBrittany Maynard stuck by her decision.

The terminally ill woman who revived a national debate about physician-assisted suicide ended her life Saturday by swallowing lethal drugs made available under an Oregon law allowing terminally ill people to choose when to die. She would have been 30 on Nov. 19.

Maynard had been in the spotlight for about a month since publicizing that she and her husband, Dan Diaz, moved to Portland from Northern California so that she could take advantage of the Oregon law. She told journalists she planned to die Nov. 1, shortly after her husband's birthday, but reserved the right to move the date forward or push it back.

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Judge rejects Ebola quarantine for Maine nurse

Kaci  quarantine rejected by courtKaci Hickox is free to travel unrestricted after a Maine judge on Friday rejected the state’s bid to limit her movements as a medical worker who has treated Ebola patients.

Judge Charles C. LaVerdiere ruled Hickox must continue daily monitoring and coordinate travel with state health officials to ensure continuity of monitoring. The judge said there’s no need to restrict her movements because she’s not infectious because she’s showing no symptoms.

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Medicare bought meds for dead people

Marilyn TavennerCall it drugs for the departed: Medicare's prescription program kept paying for costly medications even after patients were dead.

The problem was traced back to a head-scratching bureaucratic rule that's now getting a second look.

A report coming out Friday from the Health and Human Services Department's inspector general says the Medicare rule allows payment for prescriptions filled up to 32 days after a patient's death — at odds with the program's basic principles, not to mention common sense.

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