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GOP Senate health bill would cut Medicaid, end ACA tax increases

Top Senate Republicans plan to release a health care bill Thursday that would do away with the individual mandate, Obamacare's taxes and cut back the expansion of Medicaid, although at a slower rate than the House-passed bill, CBS News' John Nolen reports.

The Senate's proposal for dismantling President Obama's signature health care law would also keep more protections for people with preexisting conditions than the House bill did. The Senate bill will also provide tax credits based on income, providing more money to lower income recipients to help them buy insurance. 

The House bill tied its tax credits to age, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said would boost out-of-pocket costs to many lower earners. Starting in 2020, the Senate version would begin shifting increasing amounts of tax credits away from higher earners, making more funds available to lower-income recipients, some of the officials said, the Associated Press reports.

The Senate bill would also eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Many Republicans have long fought that organization because it provides abortions.

Senate GOP leaders hope to have the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score by Monday in order to hold a vote by the end of next week .   

On Wednesday night White House staff met with Senate Republican staffers on Capitol Hill to review the bill, Nolen reports. White House staff and Senate GOP staff met frequently during the crafting of the bill.

Departing from the House-approved version of the legislation - which President Trump privately called "mean" last week - the Senate plan would drop the House bill's waivers allowing states to let insurers boost premiums on some people with pre-existing conditions.

It would also largely retain the subsidies Obama provided to help millions buy insurance, which are pegged mostly to people's incomes and the premiums they pay.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell planned to release the measure Thursday morning. Some of its provisions were described by people on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss them publicly.

"We believe we can do better than the Obamacare status quo, and we fully intend to do so," said McConnell, R-Kentucky.

McConnell was unveiling his plan even as GOP senators from across the party's political spectrum complained about the package and the secretive, behind-closed-doors meetings he used to draft a measure reshaping the country's medical system, which comprises one-sixth of the U.S. economy.

Facing unanimous Democratic opposition, Republicans can suffer defections by no more than two of their 52 senators and still push the measure through the Senate. Enough have voiced concerns to make clear that McConnell and other leaders have work to do before passage is assured.

GOP Senate leaders were eager to get a seal of approval from Mr. Trump, who had urged them to produce a bill more "generous" than the House's.

"They seem to be enthusiastic about what we're producing tomorrow," No. 2 Senate GOP leader John Cornyn of Texas told reporters. "It's going to be important to get the president's support to


Are today's teens more responsible about sex?

When it comes to sex, teens may be more responsible than they're often given credit for.

According to new government data, the percentage of American teens having sex is lower than in decades past – and more teens who do have sex are now using contraception.

The report, published by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, finds an estimated 55 percent of U.S. teens have had sex at least once by the time they turn 18.

Among adolescent females aged 15 to 19, 42 percent report having sex at least once. For males, that number was 44 percent. The numbers have gradually dropped since 1988, when 51 percent of female and 60 percent of male teens reported having had sex.

For the study, the researchers interviewed more than 4,100 male and female teens aged 15 to 19 from across the U.S. from 2011 through 2015.

The data showed that virtually all of the sexually-experienced female teens (99.4 percent) had at some point used a method of contraception, up from 97.7 percent in 2002.

However, that doesn't mean they used it effectively every time.

"The teen pregnancy rate in the U.S. is higher than most other developed countries and it often has negative consequences as well individual and societal costs," study author Joyce C. Abma, Ph.D., of the National Center for Health Statistics, told CBS News. "That in addition to sexually transmitted infections , these are public health issues that we need to get a hold on what the causes are. Sexual activity and contraceptive use are the direct mechanisms that drive these trends."

Eighty-one percent of teen girls said they used birth control the first time they had sex, while about 90 percent said they used it during their last sexual encounter within the previous three months.

The most commonly used contraceptive method was the condom, with 97 percent of adolescent girls reporting having used them, followed by withdrawal (60 percent) and oral contraceptive pills (56 percent).

"These trends make sense in light of the reduction over time since the 1990s in the rates of teen pregnancy and childbearing," Abma said. Earlier this year, the CDC reported that the teen birth rate in the U.S. hit a historic low of 24 births per 1,000 women.

However, experts say the number of teens using withdrawal as a form of birth control is concerning.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, even with "perfect use" an estimated 4 percent of couples relying on withdrawal will become pregnant within a year. However, "perfect use" is difficult to attain, and more realistic estimates suggest that with "typical use" about 18 percent of couples will become pregnant within a year.

Experts say the number for inexperienced teens is likely much higher.

"The overall trends [in the CDC report] are positive. We have more kids choosing not to have sex and that's great news," Dr. Ellen Rome, head of Cleveland Clinic Children's Center for Adolescent Medicine, told CBS News. "We have more kids using some form of


Dad bikes 1,400 miles to hear daughter's heartbeat on Father's Day

It had been five months since Bill Conner suddenly lost his 20-year-old daughter, Abbey, and he felt like he had to do something to honor her short life.

So, on May 22, a day after his son, Austin, graduated from college, Conner hopped on a bike and began riding across the country.

"This is what she would want me to do," Conner told CBS News. 

The dad decided to travel 2,600 miles -- from his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida -- to visit Broward Health Medical Center, the hospital that recovered Abbey's organs for donation back in January.

Abbey and her brother were found unconscious, face down in a resort pool over winter break in Cancun. By the time the pair were discovered and pulled out of the water, Abbey had suffered irreversible brain injury.

She was flown to Fort Lauderdale, where she was kept on life support until doctors could harvest her organs for transplant. 


Bill Conner (left), with daughter Abbey and son Austin.


At the age of 16, as soon as she got her license, Abbey made the decision to be an organ donor . It was something her family had previously discussed.

"She registered. It's something that she knew a long time ago. Unfortunately, it came to fruition, but that's Abbey," Conner said. "If you had her as a friend she always had your back, and for her to be helping people in need -- that fits who she is."

As Conner said his final goodbye to his "baby girl," another family's drama was playing out at another hospital a few states south. There, 21-year-old Loumonth Jack, Jr. was told his days were numbered.


Loumonth Jack Jr., 21, was given 10 days to live before he was saved by Abbey's heart.

Donate Life Louisiana

The young man from Lafayette, Louisiana, suffered a heart attack and his heart was quickly failing. 

He needed a miracle, and then came Abbey.

"He was given 10 days to live," Conner said. "With Abbey and the way things went -- he's alive today."

Abbey donated four organs, allowing four males, ages 20 to 60, to live, Conner said. She also donated her eyes and other tissues.

When Conner informed the Florida donation center that handled Abbey's organs about his decision to ride on her behalf, the group sent letters to every recipient, asking if they'd be interested in meeting the woman's father.

"The only person who has responded at this point is Jack Jr., the heart recipient," Conner said.

Conner was given Jack's contact information and reached out to the young man several times before they arranged to meet in Baton Rouge on Father's Day -- 1,400 miles into Conner's trip.

"He's a really humble kid," Conner said. "Obviously, you know, I'm a dad. His parents raised him well. He's very courteous and respectful and he's got an old soul."

When Conner met Jack Sunday afternoon he felt like he already knew him. The pair walked toward one


Missouri AG sues 3 drug companies over opioid crisis

ST. LOUIS -- Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley on Wednesday filed suit against three large pharmaceutical companies, saying their "campaign of fraud and deception" led to a startling opioid crisis in the state.

Hawley, a Republican, filed suit St. Louis Circuit Court, naming Endo Pharmaceuticals, Purdue Pharmaceuticals and Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Hawley said at a news conference that the suit will seek "hundreds of millions of dollars" in both damages and civil penalties.

Hawley said the three companies over several years misrepresented the addictive risks of opioids, often using fraudulent science to back their claims. As a result, thousands of Missourians dealing with chronic pain were given unnecessary opioid prescriptions.

"For years now, the citizens of Missouri have been the victims of a coordinated campaign of fraud and deception about the nature of drugs known as opioids," Hawley said. The companies named in the suit "have profited from the suffering of Missourians," he said.

Officials with Janssen and Purdue Pharma said in statements that their companies share concerns about the opioid crisis, but both denied wrongdoing. Janssen spokeswoman Jessica Castles Smith said the company "has acted appropriately, responsibly and in the best interests of patients regarding our opioid pain medications..." Purdue Pharma said the company "vigorously" denied the allegations in the lawsuit and is an industry leader in developing "abuse-deterrent technology."

Messages seeking comment from Endo Pharmaceuticals were not immediately returned.

Hawley said any money awarded in the suit should go toward drug rehabilitation services and efforts to help families affected by drug addiction.



He was joined at the news conference by Eddie Bunnell, a recovering opioid addict, and Jammie Fabick of St. Louis, whose 17-year-old daughter, Helen, was an honor student who loved horses. Her father found Helen dead in her bed in February 2014, the morning before a father-daughter dance at her high school.

"If this sounds like a nightmare, it has definitely been a nightmare for our family," Fabick, 45, said. "It's something no parent should ever have to do, to bury her own child, to something so senseless."

Opioids are a class of drugs that range from prescription pain medications like oxycodone, codeine and morphine to illegal drugs like heroin. The lawsuit said about 500 people in Missouri died from non-heroin opioid overdoses in 2015. Thousands of others were hospitalized.

Yet Missouri remains the only state that has failed to create a prescription drug monitoring system, a database that allows doctors and pharmacists to keep track of patients' prescriptions. Lawmakers again this year considered a monitoring system but failed to approve it.

Hawley said the Legislature "should act to pass a prescription drug monitoring program" as part of a multi-pronged effort "to address what is a national epidemic but one that has had serious consequences here in the state of Missouri."

Last month, Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, began an investigation of the pharmaceutical industry, including two of the same companies named in Hawley's lawsuit, Purdue Pharma and Janssen.

Other states have also sued pharmaceutical


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