Cost of x-rays and ultrasounds to drop under Coalition pledge to increase Medicare rebates

All ultrasound and diagnostic radiology services to be cheaper under plan

Patients who need x-rays and ultrasounds will end up paying less under a new Morrison government pledge to reduce out-of-pocket expenses for the services.

The health minister, Greg Hunt, announced on Sunday the government would expand indexation of Medicare payments to all ultrasound and diagnostic radiology services over three years from 1 July 2020 – for the first time in 20 years.

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Fox News condemns host Jeanine Pirro’s attack on Ilhan Omar – live

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s advisers are skeptical to say the least about his potential presidential bid.

De Blasio, who traveled to South Carolina this weekend, has said he won’t rule out jumping into the already crowded 2020 Democratic primary field.

Donald Trump will be unveiling his proposal for the federal budget today.

The president’s budget doesn’t carry the weight that it once did, Reuters reports. Congress is expected to largely ignore it. The proposed budget for 2020 comes a month after its deadline, which the White House has blamed on the government shutdown.

Trump’s plan for the 2020 budget year will propose cuts to many domestic programs favored by lawmakers in both parties but leave alone politically popular retirement programs such as Medicare and Social Security.

Washington probably will devote months to wrestling over erasing the last remnants of a failed 2011 budget deal that would otherwise cut core Pentagon operations by $71 billion and domestic agencies and foreign aid by $55 billion. Top lawmakers are pushing for a reprise of three prior deals to use spending cuts or new revenues and prop up additional spending rather than defray deficits that are again approaching $1 trillion.

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Trump ‘unhappy’ with new shutdown deal – live updates

A House vote on the border security deal to avoid another government shutdown could come as early as tomorrow according to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.

Hoyer says Hse could vote on border security pkg "maybe as early as tomorrow"

A number of Democrats will unveil legislation on Wednesday that will allow people between the ages of 50-64 to buy into Medicare. The idea of expanding Medicare has long been popular among Democrats. There were past proposals to allow people over 55 to buy in and, on the left, Medicare for All has become a rallying cry.

A new name to add to your Democratic health proposal lexicon: “Medicare at 50.”

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Trump gets ready for State of the Union address – live news

Donald Trump is expected to pick Treasury Department official David Malpass to head the World Bank, Politico reports.

The choice is a clear sign the Trump administration is looking to rein in international financial institutions, according to Politico. Malpass has been critical of the World Bank, global organizations like it “have grown larger and more intrusive” and “the challenge of refocusing them has become urgent and more difficult.”

A top aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told health insurance executives that Democratic leadership has deep reservations about single payer healthcare, the Intercept reports.

Wendell Primus, Pelosi’s top healthcare adviser, met with Blue Cross Blue Shield executives in December and told them Democrats were more focused on lowering prescription drug prices, rather than pushing for “Medicare for All” as some progressives would prefer.

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Momentum founders push benefits of NHS-style healthcare in US

Emma Rees and Adam Klug seek British volunteers to back free healthcare campaign

Two of the founders of the leftwing pressure group Momentum are to launch a campaign asking British volunteers to back a campaign for free healthcare in the US by telling Americans about the benefits of the NHS.

The idea is to sign up activists who are prepared to talk up the British healthcare system as a good example of how a campaign such as “National Medicare For All” in the US would work. It comes as part of a campaign by America’s National Nurses United union.

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Will Florida’s new Republican governor keep his vow of bipartisanship?

So far, Ron DeSantis has nominated prominent Democrats to lead and pledged his support to the environment and clean water

Two months after narrowly winning a contentious election in which he nailed his colors firmly to the mast of Trumpism, Ron DeSantis will be sworn in as Florida’s 46th governor on Tuesday with voters in the nation’s third most populous state still unsure exactly what they will be getting.

Many of the Republican’s picks for his new administration during the seven weeks’ transition since his progressive Democratic opponent Andrew Gillum conceded have, predictably, followed his predecessor Rick Scott’s brand of hardline conservatism. For example, Mary Mayhew, his choice to lead Florida’s healthcare agency, served the White House in blocking expansion of the Medicaid program that provides health insurance for the poor. And DeSantis’s key advisor and former state House speaker, Richard Corcoran, is a right-wing ideologue who will become the next commissioner of education.

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Rashida Tlaib: Democrat defends call for Trump’s impeachment – live

Michigan congresswoman stood by impeachment comment as her office says: ‘Tlaib was elected to shake up Washington’

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On their first full day in power, House Democrats voted to jump into into a court battle defending the Affordable Care Act as part of their rules package.

From Politico:

From the Associated Press, new poll shows Americans increasingly concerned with immigration:

As much of the U.S. government remains shut down over President Donald Trump’s insistence on funding for his border wall, nearly half of Americans identify immigration as a top issue for the government to work on this year.

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Medicare for All: ‘huge step’ for proposal as Pelosi agrees to hold hearings – live

Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, one of the two first Muslim Congresswomen who will take office today, will take her oath of office on a copy of the Koran owned by Thomas Jefferson, per the Detroit Free Press.

Fun fact: When Rashida Tlaib, a Muslim, is sworn in as the first Palestinian-American woman in Congress today, she will take the oath of office using Thomas Jefferson’s personal copy of the Quran.

The new 116th Congress has now officially convened.

Vice President Mike Pence is swearing in members of the Senate. House members are preparing to be sworn in.

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Fate of Obama’s health law set to be decided by supreme court – again

Democratic state attorneys pledge to appeal Texas judge’s decision to strike down Affordable Care Act

The future of the Affordable Care Act is once again set to be decided by the US supreme court, amid warnings from experts that healthcare access for millions of Americans hangs in the balance.

A coalition of Democratic state attorneys has vowed to appeal a late-Friday decision by a federal judge in Texas to strike down the entire ACA, also known as Obamacare, as unconstitutional.

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