One-Sided NPR Cues ‘Abortion Providers and Seekers’ to Rip ‘Cruel’ Pro-Life Law in Texas

National Public Radio cannot be expected to offer any fraction of “fair and balanced” when it comes to abortion. On Monday’s Morning Edition, Dallas-based correspondent Wade Goodwyn uncorked a completely one-sided propaganda piece against the new pro-life law in Texas. The sympathetic center of the piece was “K.T.” because “they” were accidentally pregnant. 

WADE GOODWYN: Last month, 23-year-old K.T., who lives in the San Antonio area, discovered they’d accidentally gotten pregnant. NPR is not using K.T.’s full name to protect medical and legal privacy. A single nurse with a full-time job who’s also still in school, K.T. was not ready to have a child. But the timing couldn’t have been worse because Texas’ new abortion bill, known as SB8, was about to become law.

K T: I needed to have an abortion, and unfortunately, all the clinics were completely booked because, like, other people knew that, like, SB8 was coming. And I did the math, and I definitely was, like, on that cusp of, like, five to six weeks. It was just a very nerve-wracking experience, knowing that, like, literally days before something went into effect, like, my access was already taken away from me.

So much for transparency. Do we really know “they” got a chemical abortion, as we’re told? 

Then, painting by numbers, Goodwyn turned to a local affiliate of the Planned Parenthood conglomerate (annual death toll, 350-000-plus). They tweeted it out, because let’s face it, NPR makes a good Planned Parenthood advertisement — in part with the tax dollars of pro-life Americans.

Dr. Amna Dermish thinks denying abortions is “cruel” in a “raging pandemic.”

GOODWYN: …the law already generated a wave of fear and anxiety that’s flowed through abortion providers and seekers. Women’s health clinics saw a drop in their number of patients. Dr. Dermish says it’s just over two weeks in, and she already has a bevy of stories of women wiping away tears, and teens curling up in her office chair.

DERMISH: I would invite any of these legislators to come and sit in the clinic with me and listen to my patients’ stories. And why don’t you be the one to tell them that they can’t have an abortion? Because it feels supremely unfair that it has to be, you know, me and my clinic’s staff. It’s cruel. It is cruel for all of us involved.

GOODWYN: Texas is so geographically large, just getting abortion-seekers to Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, even Louisiana, can be no small feat.

NPR kept hammering this term “abortion seekers.” Anchor Rachel Martin’s first sentence was “The new anti-abortion law in Texas has generated an unprecedented level of fear and anxiety for both providers and abortion-seekers in the state.” Goodwyn concluded “some abortion-seekers cannot travel out of state”.





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Biden Administration Announces Support for Abortion Providers in Texas Amid Legal Battle

President Joe Biden’s administration on Friday pledged support for abortion providers and patients in Texas after losing an initial step in a legal case against the state’s new anti-abortion law.

Biden’s health secretary, Xavier Becerra, said that his department was providing funding to Every Body Texas, a nonprofit that says it supports abortions by administering Title X funding.

The funding is to help the organization “respond to the anticipated increase in clients’ needs for emergency contraception and family planning services,” the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said in a statement.

The agency also plans to award up to $10 million in grants to other Title X eligible organizations, including in other states, that can demonstrate “a need resulting from an influx of clients” as a result of the new law, Texas Senate Bill 8.

New Mexico—among other states—has said it has already seen more women than normal seeking abortions after the bill went into effect on Sept. 1.

The other prongs are emphasizing existing law that is applicable in the matter.

HHS emphasized that it will enforce the Church Amendments, which protect healthcare workers who performed or assisted with abortions. If healthcare workers believe they have been discriminated against due to work on abortions, they can file a complaint with the HHS.

The new law allows civil lawsuits to be brought against doctors or others who allegedly perform or assist with illegal abortions.

In addition, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, an office in HHS, issued a memorandum telling abortion providers that the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act outlines how doctors must provide “stabilizing medical treatment” to pregnant women who go to a hospital emergency room and request a specific treatment.

If an emergency medical condition is identified, then that “preempts any directly conflicting state law or mandate that might otherwise prohibit or prevent such treatment,” the memo stated.

“Every American deserves access to health care no matter where they live—including access to safe and legal abortions,” Becerra said in a statement.

“In response to President Biden’s directive, HHS is taking actions to support and protect both patients and providers from this dangerous attack on Texans’ health care. Today we are making clear that doctors and hospitals have an obligation under federal law to make medical decisions regarding when it’s appropriate to treat their patients. And we are telling doctors and others involved in the provision of abortion care, that we have your back,” he added.

Every Body Texas thanked the Biden administration in a social media post, writing that in light of the new law, “free and low-cost access to [emergency contraception] is more important than ever.”

The Biden administration and abortion providers in Texas have sought to overturn the pro-life law, but have failed so far in the courts. The Supreme Court rejected an attempt by providers to block the law until the matter was fully adjudicated, and a lower court this week kept the law in effect until at least Oct. 1, when the judge will hear arguments for and against the measure.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Susan B. Anthony List, a national pro-life group, denounced the Biden administration’s announcement.

“There are no lengths the Biden administration won’t go to in their drive to prop up the abortion industry and impose abortion on demand up to birth nationwide, on a public that resoundingly rejects their agenda,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, the group’s president, said in a statement.

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Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.



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Texas abortion providers receive narrow win from state judge over heartbeat bill

On Friday, a Texas judge temporarily blocked a pro-life group from enforcing Texas’s new heartbeat bill, which bans abortions after a child’s heartbeat is detected at six weeks, against Planned Parenthood.

The ruling by Judge Maya Guerra Gamble (D) prevented Texas Right to Life from suing Planned Parenthood clinic workers and abortion providers under the new Texas abortion law that took effect on Wednesday, The Hill reported.

“The Court finds that S.B. 8 creates a probable, irreparable, and imminent injury in the interim for which plaintiffs and their physicians, staff and patients throughout Texas have no adequate remedy at law if plaintiffs, their physicians, and staff are subjected to private enforcement lawsuits against them under S.B. 8,” Gamble wrote in her ruling.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday denied an emergency appeal from abortion providers in a 5-4 decision to block enforcement of the Texas law.

Following the Texas judge’s ruling on Friday, Helene Krasnoff of Planned Parenthood Federation of America said, “This restraining order offers protection to the brave health care providers and staff at Planned Parenthood health centers throughout Texas, who have continued to offer care as best they can within the law while facing surveillance, harassment, and threats from vigilantes eager to stop them.

“But make no mistake: this is not enough relief for Texas. Planned Parenthood will continue fighting for the millions of Texans affected by S.B. 8., doing everything we can under the law to restore Texans’ federal constitutional right to access abortion,” Krasnoff added, according to The Hill.

Texas Right to Life’s vice president, Elizabeth Graham, also responded to the ruling, saying, “This lawsuit will not stop the work of Texas Right to Life. Estimates are that approximately 150 babies per day are being saved because of Texas Right to Life’s leadership on the Texas Heartbeat Act.

“Planned Parenthood can keep suing us, but Texas Right to Life will never back down from protecting pregnant women and preborn children from abortion.”



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EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Biggs, House Republicans Call On HHS To Rescind Proposal That Allows Title X Funding For Abortion Providers

Republican Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs and a group of House Republicans sent a letter Tuesday to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra calling on him to rescind a proposal that allows Title X funding for abortion providers.

The Daily Caller first obtained the letter, which mentions the Biden administration’s proposal to permit Title X grants to be awarded to providers who include abortion as a part of family planning. Biggs called out the Biden administration in a statement to the Daily Caller, saying taxpayers should not be responsible to pay for abortions and said the Biden administration “disdains the sanctity of life.”

The letter was signed by Biggs and 24 other House Republicans. In the letter, the Republicans called on Becerra to “ensure that HHS complies with its statutory obligations under Title X and never allow taxpayer funding to be used in connection with abortion activities.”

Becerra and the Biden administration would be undoing the Trump administration’s rules which required organizations that perform abortions or send abortion referrals in separate buildings from those that receive Title X federal funding.

In June 2019, HHS told clinics they would be enforcing the Trump administration’s ban, causing Planned Parenthood to withdraw from the Title X federal family planning program in August 2019.

READ THE LETTER HERE: 

(DAILY CALLER OBTAINED) — … by Henry Rodgers

President Joe Biden signs executive order as (L-R) Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Chairperson of the Federal Trade Commission Lina Khan, Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Attorney General Merrick Garland, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, and Acting Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission Jessica Rosenworcel look on during an event at the State Dining Room of the White House July 9, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“The Biden Administration’s proposal is a clear violation of federal law. Programs that include abortion as a method of family planning are not eligible to receive federal funds under Title X,” Biggs told the Daily Caller before sending the letter. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Over 40 Republicans Send Letter To McCarthy, McConnell Calling On Them To Reject Any Budget Legislation That Doesn’t Defend Hyde Amendment)

“The Biden Administration disdains the sanctity of life and will force the American people, no matter their moral beliefs, to foot the bill when it comes to abortion. There is a clear line between providing family planning services and abortion. The Biden Administration has blatantly crossed the line and needs to be held accountable,” Biggs added. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Over 100 Republicans Send Letter To Biden’s HHS Secretary Urging Him Against Title X Funding Of Abortion)

The Daily Caller contacted the HHS about the letter to which they did not immediately respond.



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Pro-abortion activists and abortion providers sue to block Texas heartbeat law

Pro-abortion activists and abortion providers filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Texas Tuesday in an attempt to block a pro-life law that bans abortions after a preborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected and allows citizens to enforce the law with lawsuits.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, an abortion rights group, partnered with Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Texas, and various abortion providers, including Whole Women’s Health, as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which seeks to block the Texas heartbeat law from taking effect on Sept. 1.

“If this oppressive law takes effect, it will decimate abortion access in Texas–and that’s exactly what it is designed to do,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “The state has put a bounty on the head of any person or entity who so much as gives a patient money for an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, before most people know they are pregnant. Worse, it will intimidate loved ones from providing support for fear of being sued. And this is happening to Texans as we are fighting another direct challenge to Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court, out of Mississippi. We will pursue every legal avenue we can to block this and other pernicious laws.”

Texas’ heartbeat law requires abortionists to check for a baby’s heartbeat and makes it illegal to kill that baby if a heartbeat can be heard. The enforcement mechanism of the law is unique — it empowers “any person,” with exceptions for sexual abusers, to sue anyone who “aids or abets” an illegal abortion for up to $10,000 per defendant.

The language of the law means that organizations that provide support to women seeking an abortion, not just direct abortion providers, could be the target of citizen lawsuits by pro-life activists.

“This radical law will isolate people seeking to exercise their constitutional right to abortion care by targeting their entire support network and discouraging their loved ones from providing help and support for fear of being sued,” said Marc Hearron, senior counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights. “This is just the latest attempt by Texas politicians to ban abortion, but this time they’ve gone to a new extreme.”

Abortion rights groups say the overwhelming volume of lawsuits they could receive under the law would prevent them from providing their services and could potentially cause them to shut down.

The lawsuit against Texas claims the heartbeat law violates a woman’s supposed constitutional right to kill her preborn child. It also alleges that the law’s enforcement mechanism is designed to make it difficult for courts to stop. Texas has “created an enforcement scheme of private lawsuits brought by the general public in an attempt to evade all legal accountability and prevent the federal courts from blocking this unconstitutional ban before it takes effect,” the Center for Reproductive Rights said.

“Approximately 85-90% of people who obtain abortions in Texas are at least six weeks into pregnancy, meaning this law would prohibit nearly all abortions in the state,” the organization noted. It also claims that “people living on a low income and people of color will be harmed the most by this ban” because only women with enough means to travel out of state will be able to seek abortions.





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Medical equipment providers look to New York lawmakers for relief from partial reimbursements

As the New York State Legislature wraps up this week, providers of durable medical equipment hope lawmakers will take up their cause before the session ends.

A bill is before both chambers that would require Medicaid managed care organizations to pay durable medical equipment providers 100 percent of the fee schedule for equipment that can help keep patients at home instead of a hospital.

In other cases, durable medical equipment can help an individual function more independently and rely less on a caregiver to assist them.

Durable medical equipment runs the gamut ranging from wheelchairs and power mobility equipment to prosthetics to hospital beds to ventilators and oxygen systems.

The Northeast Medical Equipment Providers Association, which represents about 150 providers in the state, says a change is needed because the managed care organizations often reimburse at less than half the fee schedule. They may get even less if a third-party administrator is involved.

As a result, more than 20% of the durable medical equipment businesses in New York have closed, said John Quinlan, the association’s president.

“There are 12 counties in New York that don’t even have a DME provider,” said Quinlan, who is also president of Quinlan’s Pharmacy and Medical Equipment based in Wayland. “So when you’re trying to get a patient out of the hospital for that walker. … If they can’t get out because there’s no DME provider, that’s a big deal.”

Other states, including Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia, have passed fee-parity laws.

The bill, Senate Bill 5118/Assembly Bill 5368, has received a third reading in the Senate, but in the Assembly, it was sent to the Ways and Means Committee on May 20 after the Health Committee voted 22-4 to pass the bill.

State Sen. Gustavo Rivera, D-Bronx, sponsors the Senate bill. In his sponsor memo, he said that managed care organizations make up about 75 percent of the business for durable medical equipment providers.

Rivera, who also chairs the Senate Health Committee, also noted that the state requires such parity for behavioral health needs.

“Without reimbursement parity, additional DME providers will close and consumers will no longer be able to access medically necessary services,” Rivera wrote in the sponsor memo.





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Judges side with pro-life activists after New York tries to block them from protesting abortion providers​

A federal appeals court sided with pro-life activists after New York tried to block them from protesting an abortion clinic in the New York City borough of Queens.

The three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan decided to reverse its own prior decision allowing New York authorities to keep protesters away from the Choices Women’s Medical Center in Jamaica.

On March 10, the panel had originally rejected the argument from the activists that blocking them from the abortion clinic was a violation of their First Amendment free speech rights.

New York Attorney General Letitia James praised the ruling at the time.

“Every woman has the constitutional right to access an abortion and this order makes clear that everyone must be granted access to these facilities without obstruction and harassment,” James said. “The court has given us another opportunity to make our case and we will not waver in our fight to protect women’s reproductive freedoms.”

The suit was first filed by former state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in 2017 after an investigation into the pro-life protesters involving undercover investigators, surveillance cameras and hidden recording devices.

The tactics used by the pro-life protesters involved speaking to abortion-seekers despite their being asked to be left alone, “slow-walking” in front of patients, and leaning into cars to distribute campaign literature.

Judge Rosemary Pooler, who was appointed to the court by former President Bill Clinton, argued in the March 10 decision that those tactics presented an undue restriction on the patients’ rights.

“Even if such conduct is innocuous in other situations, given the health risks women needing reproductive care face because of the increased stress, anxiety and agitation from protester misconduct, the negative effects of de minimis conduct are amplified when dealing with reproductive health,” said Pooler.

According to Reuters, the panel did not explain its reasoning in overturning its own decision.

Here’s more about the original lawsuit in 2017:


NY attorney general accusing pro-life activists of violence

www.youtube.com





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Dems push to bar federally funded adoption providers from excluding LGBTQ parents

Democratic lawmakers are pushing for passage of a bill that would prevent adoption providers from implementing guidelines that exclude lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) parents. 

Rep. Danny Davis and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand have formally reintroduced the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, which would prohibit “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, or religion in the provision of child welfare programs and services by entities receiving federal funding,” according to an official summary of the bill. The legislation has been renamed the John Lewis Every Child Deserves a Family Act for its previous sponsor, the late Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis.

Davis said that children in foster care are among the most vulnerable individuals in society.

“Government has a unique responsibility to ensure that each and every child in foster care finds a loving, affirming family, not just the right ones, not just the black ones, not just the Christian ones, and not just the straight ones,” Davis, an Illinois Democrat, said during a news conference about the bill hosted by the organization Family Equality. “Although there is a shortage of foster parents in every state, several states allow taxpayer-funded agencies to turn away otherwise qualified, caring parents due to their religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.”

Gillibrand said that no adoption providers should be allowed to turn away parents based on their religion, marital status or gender.

“There are so many families who are ready, willing and waiting to bring these children into their homes but are blocked from doing so by organizations that discriminate against potential parents based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or religion, and this has to change,” she said. 

“Organizations that receive taxpayer dollars cannot be allowed to discriminate against caring and responsible foster and adoptive parents,” she added. “Our legislation would end this outrageous discriminatory policy, help give more children a loving home and create a system that supports the best interest of our children, foster and adoptive parents alike.” 

Gillibrand also said the bill would ban conversion therapy in foster care.

“Our bill would prohibit discrimination against children and youth in foster care systems on the basis of religion, gender identity, sexual orientation and would bar harmful practices like conversion therapy in foster care,” she said. “That is especially important because LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in foster care. Our legislation would require data collection on LGBTQ youth and families so that we can better monitor those trends and issues, and it would establish a dedicated National Resource Center for the LGBTQ youth in foster care within the Department of HHS.”

The New York Democrat argued that the bill is long overdue.

“I believe that everyone has a right to have a loving and supportive family and this legislation will help us make that right a reality for more parents and more children,” she said.



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Health care providers, advocates cry foul over stalled action on pharmacare

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OTTAWA — Doctors and nurses on the front lines of Canada’s health system are sounding the alarm after the Liberal government appears to have put its promise of a national pharmacare program on the back burner.

When the Trudeau government delivered its first federal budget in two years last month, it included more than $100 billion in new spending over the three years.

But while there was one brief mention of pharmacare in the 739-page document, it only re-stated a commitment from the 2019 budget of $500 million for a national program for high-cost drugs for rare diseases.

Dr. Melanie Bechard, a pediatric emergency room physician and chair of Doctors for Medicare, says she was disappointed at the lack of new funding for pharmacare in the budget. She believes it’s an indication the government is not making it a priority.

“I was very disappointed because the government has promised national pharmacare. They’ve conducted a study that really outlined the path to get there,” she said.

Even the Budget 2021 document itself acknowledges that “the case for universal pharmacare is well-established,” Bechard noted.

“The budget acknowledges that it makes sense. It’s good public policy. But unfortunately, we’re just getting words instead of any funding towards it, so that’s completely ineffectual.”

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The Liberals campaigned on a promise to “take the critical next steps to implement national universal pharmacare” in their 2019 election platform, and similar commitments have since appeared in throne speeches and mandate letters to the federal health minister.

In 2019, an expert panel appointed by the Liberals recommended a universal, single-payer public pharmacare system should be created in Canada to replace the current patchwork of prescription drug plans. This panel, which was led by former Ontario health minister Eric Hoskins, reported that such a plan would result in savings of an estimated $5 billion annually.

Canadians spent $34 billion on prescription medicines in 2018, the panel report said, adding drugs are the second-biggest expenditure in health care after hospitals.

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Bechard says emergency room doctors and primary care physicians see patients every day whose health conditions have worsened from trying to ration medications they can’t afford.

“I have seen instances where kids have come into the emergency department having asthma attacks, and the parents show me inhalers and they’re nearly empty. And when I say, ‘We need to refill this so that we can avoid situations like this,’ the parents say, ‘Well, these are expensive to refill, Dr. Melanie, we can’t always afford to get a new one every couple of months.’

“And it’s sad because arguably the child did not need to come into the emergency department if they had sufficient medication at home.”

While she also expressed disappointment at not seeing new spending for pharmacare in the budget, Sharon Batt, adjunct professor of bioethics and political science at Dalhousie University and a health policy expert, said she was not surprised.

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“It does seem like it’s taken a back burner,” she said.

“Certainly there’s a huge resistance to this plan… on the part of the pharmaceutical industry, some of the patient groups and some researchers, and I think that is definitely playing out within the government’s priorities and making it harder for them to move forward with pharmacare.”

Some provinces and territories have also been lukewarm toward the idea of pharmacare, pushing instead for increases to federal health transfers.

Batt attributes this resistance to the reason Ottawa is instead focusing its efforts on creating a program to fund medications for rare diseases, which has more political buy-in.

“I think they’re just kind of kicking the can down the road and hoping that the industry will back off or that there will be more public pressure against the industry,” Batt said of the federal government.

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“I think they don’t know what to do. I think they probably would like to bring a plan in, but they want to have the public support. And that would include patient support.”

Earlier this year, the NDP tabled a private member’s bill to establish the legal framework for a national pharmacare plan, but it was defeated at second reading by a vote of 295-32. Only two Liberal MPs supported the bill.

NDP health critic Don Davies said he worries Canadians are increasingly becoming cynical about politicians who promise things, such as pharmacare, during elections and then don’t follow through.

“They continue to tell Canadians that they believe in pharmacare, yet opportunity after opportunity after opportunity to act on that promise passes.”

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Health Minister Patty Hajdu was not available for an interview, but her spokesman, Cole Davidson, pointed to the paragraph in Budget 2021 that commits to work with provinces and stakeholders to “build on the foundational elements that are already in progress, like the national strategy on high-cost drugs for rare diseases, toward the goal of a universal national program.”

He also noted Ottawa has established a “transition office to create a new Canada Drug Agency and a national formulary” and officials are currently working with provinces and experts to create a drug plan for Canadians with rare diseases, with a target launch date of 2022-23.

“No Canadian should have to choose between paying for prescriptions and putting food on the table,” Davidson said in a statement.

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“We’re committed to working collaboratively with willing jurisdictions to develop a national, universal pharmacare program, and that important work continues.”

Linda Silas, who presides over the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, said nurses across Canada were sure that pharmacare was a “done deal” after the last election.

The budget’s lack of focus on making it a reality is concerning, she said.

“You’d think, because we’re in the middle of a health crisis, they would have put a big focus on a health crisis that already exists. One in four families do not have prescription drug coverage, that’s a crisis for those families.”

However, Silas said she wasn’t entirely surprised not to see new money in the budget for pharmacare. In the lead-up to its release, she said her organization was consulted numerous times by Liberal cabinet ministers and officials asking for input on what should be in the budget.

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When she told them pharmacare was at the top of the list, she said there was a notable change in tone.

“The messages we were hearing was, ‘Well, Linda, is there something else (other) than pharmacare?…You know, Linda, our priorities are pharmacare. But if pharmacare is not there, what else should be in there?’ ” she said, recalling the conversations.

Speaking ahead of her shift at the children’s hospital in Ottawa, Bechard said she doesn’t understand how pharmacare has seemingly fallen off the radar when she believes the case for bringing in a national medicare plan is “even more dire” due to COVID-19.

“The pandemic has brought with it massive amounts of job losses and unemployment, and in our current system people rely on employment to get coverage for medications,” she said.

“Arguably now, more than ever, we need to have national, universal pharmacare to make sure that people can actually access the meds they need to stay healthy.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2021.

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Vaccine hesitancy among longterm care workers a complex issue, Pennsylvania providers group says

Vaccine hesitancy among long-term care staff remains a complex issue that goes beyond “selfishness,” the Pennsylvania Health Care Association said Thursday.

“Two weeks ago, there were headlines that painted a picture of selfish, uninformed workers who refused to take the vaccine,” said Zach Shamberg, president and CEO of PHCA. “It’s not that simple.”

The association, which represents more than 400 long-term care and senior service providers that treat 50,000 elderly and disabled residents, said an internal survey revealed that 63% of workers had been immunized since late December. A day later, the Department of Health released the results of its own survey that placed this figure closer to 55%.

Shamberg said reporting errors explain the discrepancies in the department’s data, but the conclusion remains the same.

“It’s become abundantly clear that we are not seeing 100% vaccination rates among workers and residents, and we may never see that,” he said. “[But] we should not cast immediate judgment.”

The association said its internal survey revealed many reasons why workers may have refused the vaccine, so far. Many were waiting for the Johnson & Johnson one-shot immunization, while others said their physicians advised them to delay vaccination due to pregnancy or a prior COVID-19 infection. Rumors of infertility following vaccination played a role, too, Shamberg said.

“It’s clear vaccination education in our communities, including long-term care facilities, must continue,” he said. “We stand ready to work with community groups and leaders to ensure that all front line workers and residents receive the information they need to make an informed decision.”

Distrust of the government and vaccinations, in general, persists, particularly in communities of color. Many staff and residents felt uneasy about the newness of the vaccine – a factor that’s dissipated since the first federal vaccine clinics began inside facilities on Dec. 28, 2020.

“There are personal and multipronged reasons people have not taken it,” said Kathy Derleth, the chief nursing officer for Bedrock Care in Philadelphia. “It was two weeks after federal approval that we had our clinics. It was just so new.”

Immunization rates among residents fared better on the association’s survey, with 83% of those living in nursing homes and 97% of those in assisted living and personal care facilities reported full vaccination.

Still, the issue isn’t moot, Derleth said. An influx of new residents and employees means the federal pharmacy partnership to vaccinate this particular population must continue. Mass vaccination clinics in surrounding communities don’t work for immobile residents in long-term care facilities, she said.

As of Thursday, about 8.3 million vaccinations have been administered statewide. The department data suggests about 40% of residents are fully immunized.





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