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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Republican leaders unveiled what they called a "discussion draft" of their long-awaited health care bill, a part of the party's ongoing efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.Five Republican senators have already come out in opposition to the Senate bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, jeopardizing its passage.Critics on both sides of the aisle said the bill, which was drafted behind closed doors by a small group of Senate leaders and committee staffers, has been shrouded in secrecy.Trump told reporters Thursday that there will be "a little negotiation, but it's going to be very good."Republicans 'not ready' to support the billGOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky released a joint statement saying, "Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor."They added, "There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current health care system, but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care costs."In a separate statement, Paul said he'll oppose the bill "in its current form, but I remain open to negotiations.""The current bill does not repeal Obamacare. It does not keep our promises to the American people," he said.On Friday, Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., joined the group, saying at a press conference that "this bill is not the answer, it's simply not the answer.""In this form, I will not support it," said Heller.Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, told reporters Thursday she has "not yet had the opportunity to read the text of the bill, and the details really matter.""I see some positive features of this bill that are improvements over the House, and I see some negative features based on my first analysis," she said. "I don't like the provision that eliminates federal funding for Planned Parenthood. It makes no sense to single out Planned Parenthood from all the Medicaid providers. There's already a ban against using federal funds for abortions, so there's absolutely no need for that."A vote from Collins, who has been willing to break from her party, would be key to ensuring the bill's passage.Senate Republicans can afford to lose only two of their members to pass the bill, assuming Democrats remain united in their opposition.Republicans acknowledge tough road ahead for billAs members left a meeting about the bill, many said they were encouraged by their first impressions of the text but were hesitant to say if it would clear the 50 vote threshold for passage."There's a lot to digest. It's very complicated," Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said as he left the gathering.Some Republicans said they liked how the Senate bill calculates the value of tax credits to help individuals pay for insurance.While the House bill linked the tax credits to age only, the Senate bill considers age, income and geographical area."A person making about $12,000 a year will have more access and a lower cost of health insurance. And that's a really good thing," said Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.But Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., a member of Senate leadership, acknowledged that the draft would not pass in its current form."Right now the challenge is, how do we get to 50?" he said.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated that he wants to get a vote before the July 4 legislative recess.Democrats and ACA supporters unhappyThe bill's release was met with significant opposition from Democrats and other supporters of the Affordable Care Act.Under current law, all insurance plans have to include, at a minimum, specified essential health benefits, including ambulance service, hospitalization, maternity care and prescription drug coverage. Under the Senate bill, states would be allowed to apply for waivers from thos
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  • Courtesy Wendy Freden(TYLER, Texas) -- A Texas teen celebrated her mother beating cancer last week by sharing triumphant photos from the day doctors told her she no longer had evidence of cancer in her body.Cameron Stokes shared photos on Twitter of her mom walking out of Texas Oncology-Tyler in Tyler, Texas, while wearing boxing gloves -- and a huge smile on her face.The photos quickly went viral, with more than 40,000 shares and over 200,000 likes.Wendy Freden said she was recovering from hip surgery over Christmas when she discovered a lump in her breast."I was immobile, and just so happened to do a breast exam," Freden, 45, told ABC News, adding that she found a lump, but didn't possibly think it would be cancer -- especially since she had just had a mammogram nine months prior.Still, on February 1 doctors diagnosed her with stage 1A multifocal invasive breast cancer.Freden remembered thinking to herself, "Seriously? I just got back to work after being off for my hip surgery."Part of Freden's job as a physician assistant is to educate women about the importance of doing self breast exams."Now, this just brings it to a whole new level," she explained. "I understand the fear. I’m upset. I’m scared. I’m anxious. But I have to view it as a journey for a higher purpose."Three weeks later, Freden underwent bilateral surgery to remove the cancer, and also had three months of chemotherapy. On June 15, she was told by doctors she no longer had evidence of cancer in her body.Traditionally, patients at Texas Oncology-Tyler ring a golden bell when they leave the hospital. But Freden had other plans, and put on boxing gloves, which were gifted to her."I never had any intentions of ringing that bell. I was going to punch it off the wall," Freden said.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(OKLAHOMA CITY) -- The Oklahoma attorney general has charged a 67-year-old doctor with five counts of second-degree murder, accusing her of prescribing excessive amounts of "dangerous" medications to patients "without legitimate medical need" and causing the deaths of at least five patients.The charges were filed in the District Court of Oklahoma County against Regan Nichols, an osteopathic physician in Midwest City, Oklahoma, on Friday morning. Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has accused Nichols of being involved in five deaths, all of which occurred between 2010 and 2013, according to the probable cause affidavit. The patients who died ranged in age from 21 to 55.Reports from the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's office stated that all five of the deaths were the result of multi-drug toxicity, according to a press release from the attorney general's office.Three of the individuals were allegedly prescribed "deadly" and "addictive" combination "cocktails," which included Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Alprazolam and Carisoprodol, according to the affidavit, which stated that all of the prescriptions were signed by Nichols.Nichols also allegedly prescribed more than 3 million dosage units of controlled dangerous substances between Jan. 1, 2010 and Oct. 7, 2014, based on data gathered by agents with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control's Prescription Monitoring Program, according to the affidavit.The attorney general also alleged that 10 of Nichols' patients died from overdoses during that time period. Nichols is being charged with five counts of second-degree murder.After the September 2015 hearing, the Oklahoma State Board of Osteopathic Examiners stripped Nichols of her ability to prescribe controlled dangerous substance for five years, according to court documents. She then voluntarily surrendered her credentials.During the 2015 hearing, when asked if she thought she overprescribed, Nichols responded that she believed the patients had developed a tolerance to their medications.Earlier that year, in a March 2015 interview with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control, Nichols told investigators that she would "fire" or dismiss patients who did not comply with the office's drug screen policies, but she would "unfire" them or give them second and third chances if the abused drug was marijuana, according to the affidavit.An Oklahoma County judge issued a warrant for Nichols' arrest on Friday. She will be held on $50,000 bond."Dr. Nichols prescribed extremely large quantities of controlled substances in suspect combinations, including the most abused and sought after drugs on the street, to numerous patients with very little medical examination or the establishment of a valid doctor-patient relationship and for no legitimate medical need," the probable cause affidavit states.In a statement, Hunter said that "Nichols' blatant disregard for the lives of her patients is unconscionable.""The dangers associated with opioid drugs have been well documented and most doctors follow strict guidelines when prescribing opioids to their patients," Hunter said. "Nichols prescribed patients, who entrusted their well-being to her, a horrifyingly excessive amount of opioid medications."Nichols was not on law enforcement's radar until May 2014, when a concerned former patient reported her to authorities, according to the affidavit. The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control said it began investigating her in October 2014.As of Friday afternoon, Nichols had not yet been arraigned, according to the Oklahoma County Court Clerk. An administrator at the Oklahoma County Jail confirmed to ABC News that she had not yet been booked.ABC News could not immediately reach Nichols for comment, and it is unclear if she retained an attorney. Calls to her medical office were not returned and the phone there appeared to be disconnected.
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  • WPVI-TV(EVESHAM, N.J.) -- The newest member of the Evesham Police Department was sworn in on Thursday, and the rest of the force couldn't help but smile.Four-year-old Chase Gilchrist has been battling a rare brain cancer and it was his dream to get to be a cop for the day, his family told ABC station WPVI-TV.Officers in Evesham, New Jersey, helped make it happen, making Gilchrist an honorary member on Thursday.WPVI reported that the boy's day started with a ride in a police car, where he got his own uniform and ID."Doesn't feel really comfortable when you're wearing a vest," Chase Gilchrist remarked after donning his uniform for the first time."Now that he's got the official shirt on and the official police car, he's going to go nuts. He's loving it," Chase's father, Scott Gilchrist, told WPVI-TV.The newest member of the force also inspired his much-older colleagues."Many little kids want to be police officers. This one truly has it in his heart," Evesham Police Lt. Ron Ritter told WPVI-TV.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Less than an hour after White House press secretary Sean Spicer admitted that neither President Donald Trump nor his advisers had viewed a draft of Senate Republicans' health care bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced that it will make its debut on Thursday.The announcement comes as Democrats, and some Republicans, on Capitol Hill have voiced concerns that the process to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act has been shrouded in secrecy."I expect to have a discussion draft on Thursday and we will go to the floor once we have a CBO score, likely next week," said McConnell Tuesday afternoon.The majority leader insisted that Americans will have "plenty of time" to review the bill, saying, "We've been discussing all the elements of this endlessly for seven years. Everybody pretty well understands it. Everybody will have adequate time to take a look at it. I think this will be about as transparent as it can be."Earlier Tuesday, in response to a question at the day's press briefing, Spicer told reporters that he didn't know if Trump had seen the bill."I know the president has been on the phone extensively with the leader and with key senators so I don't know if he's seen the legislation or not," said Spicer. "I know that they've been working extremely hard and the president has been giving his input and his ideas, feedback to them, and he's very excited about where this thing is headed."Pressed whether the president's advisers had viewed a bill, Spicer again said that he was unaware and added that he himself did not know "where we are in terms of a final plan.""I know that they are up there working hand in glove with them," said Spicer, adding, "I know that the staff has been working very closely with the leader's staff, with [the Senate Finance Committee] and others, so I don't want to get ahead of an announcement on Sen. McConnell saying when that final product is done."Earlier in the briefing, Spicer expounded upon a CNBC report from earlier Tuesday that Trump told a group of technology CEOs that the health care plan needed to have "more heart."“I mean, the president clearly wants a bill that has heart in it,” said Spicer. “He believes that health care is something that is near and dear to so many families and individuals.”McConnell declined to describe how the Senate bill will have more "heart" than the House bill, saying only that it will "speak for itself" and "be different."
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