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Missouri's Republican and Democratic U.S. Senate nominees are divided over policies backed by President Joe Biden as they begin their campaigns with a visit to the Missouri State Fair. Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Democrat Trudy Busch Valentine met for the first time at the Governor’s Ham Breakfast on Thursday. Independent candidate John Wood did not attend. Valentine supports legislation Biden signed that caps out-of-pocket prescription drug costs at $2,000 for Medicare recipients. The law also includes the biggest U.S. investment ever to fight climate change. Schmitt says the law will increase inflation and hurt agriculture.

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Medical groups and states across the U.S. are watching as a legal battle over abortion rights pits the deep-red state of Idaho against the Department of Justice. As of Wednesday, 20 states, the American College of Emergency Physicians and other medical groups have filed “friend of the court” briefs in the lawsuit over Idaho's near-total abortion ban. The Idaho law makes performing nearly any abortion a felony, but allows physicians to defend themselves in court by showing that the procedure was necessary to save a patient’s life. But federal health care law requires Medicaid-funded hospitals to provide “stabilizing” treatment to patients, and the Department of Justice says that includes some emergency abortions.

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North Carolina State is ready for heightened expectations in coach Dave Doeren's 10th season. The Wolfpack's No. 13 ranking matches the football program's best for the preseason AP Top 25 set in 1975. N.C. State was also the second-leading vote-getter as preseason pick to win the Atlantic Coast Conference, though the Wolfpack would need to beat out fourth-ranked favorite Clemson in the Atlantic Division to reach the league title game. N.C. State has 10 returning defensive starters and an offense led by preseason ACC player of the year Devin Leary at quarterback. N.C. State opens at East Carolina on Sept. 3 and closes at rival North Carolina on Nov. 25.

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President Joe Biden has signed Democrats’ landmark climate change and health care bill. It's the “final piece” of the president's pared-down domestic agenda as he aims to boost his party’s standing with voters ahead of midterm elections. Biden says, “The American people won, and the special interests lost.” The legislation includes the biggest federal investment ever to fight climate change — some $375 billion over a decade. It also caps prescription drug costs at $2,000 out-of-pocket annually for Medicare recipients, and helps an estimated 13 million Americans pay for health care insurance by extending subsidies provided during the coronavirus pandemic.

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President Joe Biden arrived at the White House promising to “build back” America, and now he has signed into law legislation with a slimmer version of that idea. It includes the biggest U.S. investment ever to fight climate change, a $2,000 out-of-pocket cap on prescription drug costs for people in the Medicare program and a new corporate minimum tax to ensure big businesses pay their share. And billions will be leftover to pay down federal deficits. All told, the Democrats’ “Inflation Reduction Act” may not do much to immediately tame inflationary prices hikes.

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With inflation raging near its highest level in four decades, President Joe Biden is poised to sign into law his landmark Inflation Reduction Act Tuesday afternoon. Its title raises a tantalizing question: Will the measure actually do what it says? Economic analyses suggest that the likely answer is no — not anytime soon, anyway. The legislation, which now heads to the White House for Biden's signature, won’t directly address some of the main drivers of surging prices — from gas and food to rents and restaurant meals. Still, over time, the bill could save money for some Americans by lessening the cost of certain prescription drugs for the elderly, extending health insurance subsidies and reducing energy prices.

A federal judge says the Idaho Legislature can intervene in the U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit targeting Idaho’s total abortion ban, but only to present evidence about emergency abortions performed in Medicaid-funded emergency rooms. In the written ruling handed down Saturday, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill said the Legislature’s interests are already well-represented by the Idaho Attorney General’s office so there’s no reason to add another party. The Justice Department sued Idaho last week over the state’s strict abortion ban, saying it would force doctors to violate the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, a federal law that requires anyone coming to a medical facility for emergency treatment to be stabilized and treated.

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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp says he will spend up to $1.2 billion on payments of $350 apiece to poorer Georgians. More than 3 million people who were benefitting from Medicaid, subsidized child health insurance, food stamps or cash welfare assistance as of July 31 will get the money. A Kemp spokesperson said Monday that payments will start as early as September. The decision will put money in the hands of less affluent Georgians as November's election approaches. Democrat Stacey Abrams criticizes the decision as one of Kemp's "election-year vote buying schemes.” Kemp's challenger for governor says it's hypocritical for Kemp to tout federal spending that he has criticized.

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The flagship climate change and health care bill passed by Democrats and soon to be signed by President Joe Biden will bring U.S. taxpayers one step closer to a government-operated electronic free-file tax return system. It’s something lawmakers and advocates have been seeking for years. For many Americans, it’s frustrating that beyond having to pay sometimes hefty tax bills, they also have to shell out additional money for tax preparation programs or preparers because of an increasingly complex U.S. tax system. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says, “It’s definitely something we should do, and when the IRS is adequately resourced, it’s something that will happen."

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Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman is acknowledging he is lucky to be alive as he officially returns to the campaign trail. He's been sidelined for more than 90 days after suffering a stroke that threatened the Democrat's life and political strength in one of the nation’s premier Senate contests. Fetterman spoke Friday for nearly 11 minutes, haltingly at times, as he addressed several hundred voters packed inside an Erie convention center. The 52-year-old lieutenant governor says: “Tonight for me, it’s about being grateful — just grateful. Three months ago my life could have ended.” Republican opponent Dr. Mehmet Oz has railed against Fetterman's prolonged absence throughout the summer.

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The biggest investment ever in the U.S. to fight climate change. A hard-fought cap on out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for people in the Medicare program. A new corporate minimum tax to ensure big businesses pay their share. And billions leftover to pay down federal deficits. All told, the Democrats’ “Inflation Reduction Act” may not do much to immediately tame inflationary price hikes. But the package approved by Congress and headed to the White House for President Joe Biden’s signature will touch countless American lives with longtime party proposals. Here's a look at what's in the estimated $740 billion economic package.

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Democrats have pushed their landmark climate and health care bill through Congress, handing an election-year victory to President Joe Biden. The House approved the bill over solid Republican opposition Friday, five days after the Senate did the same. The vote means a win for Biden that until late July seemed out of reach. The package is much smaller than Biden's original environment and social legislation that failed in Congress last year. But after long, bitter talks, Democrats agreed to a smaller but still substantive compromise. It includes Washington's biggest ever effort on climate change, pharmaceutical price curbs and tax boosts on big corporations, long-held party goals.

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LGBTQ and health groups have denounced a new rule by Florida health officials set to take effect later this month to restrict Medicaid insurance coverage for gender dysphoria treatments for transgender people. Online records show the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration filed the new rule Aug. 1, and it is set to take effect Aug. 21. The state agency previously released a report stating that puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and sex reassignment surgery have not been proven safe or effective in treating gender dysphoria. Several LGBTQ groups issued a statement Thursday saying the AHCA is ignoring thousands of public comments and expert testimony by finalizing a discriminatory and medically unsound rule.

A Superior Court judge has denied a motion by Delaware’s Department of Health and Social Services to quash a subpoena from the state auditor’s office seeking information regarding eligibility for Medicaid programs. The judge on Wednesday rejected the notion that Auditor Kathleen McGuiness does not have the authority under Delaware law to conduct performance audits of state agencies such as the Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance. DHSS attorneys had argued that the auditor’s duties were limited to conducting after-the-fact “postaudits” of financial transactions by state agencies. McGuiness says DHSS for the past several years has been unable to demonstrate that it is effectively screening Medicaid applicants for eligibility before approving or denying benefits.

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Eviction filings around the country are returning to pre-pandemic levels in many cities and states. The numbers have spiked from Connecticut to Utah, driven in part by rising rental prices and dwindling federal rental assistance. Legal advocates say some landlords are choosing not to take rental assistance, in favor or finding new tenants who will pay higher rents. Advocates are calling for states and cities to enact greater legal protections for tenants and support a federal bill that would make rental assistance permanent. Evictions dropped significantly during the pandemic and started rising after a federal eviction moratorium went away about a year ago.

At its current pace, Medicare’s Hospital Insurance trust fund will run out of money in 2028, according to the latest Medicare trustees report. That’s a two-year extension on the previous estimate, but experts say it’s still not good news, and the government needs to stop twiddling its thumbs. If Medicare exhausts its Part A reserves, hospital insurance spending will be cut by 10% starting as soon as 2029. Shoring up Medicare could mean doing things like shifting some benefits from Part A to Part B, revamping Medicare prescription drug coverage, reducing payments to providers or moving some money over from other parts of the government’s budget.

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Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams says it's time for Georgia to use its budget surplus to invest in its residents. Abrams said in an Atlanta speech Tuesday that Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has been hurting the state by prioritizing low taxes and low spending. She's also backing legalizing sports and casino gambling to fund an expansion of college scholarship programs. Abrams also argues that abortion restrictions and loose gun laws threaten Georgia's economy, weaving in multiple themes. Kemp hopes the economy is an especially potent issue for him in Georgia as he points to billions of new investment in the state under his administration. He plans to unveil his own plans for Georgia’s surplus on Thursday.

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The U.S. Department of Justice asked a federal judge this week to bar Idaho from enforcing its near-total abortion ban while a lawsuit pitting federal health care law against state anti-abortion legislation is underway. The Idaho law is set to automatically take effect on Aug. 25. It makes it a crime for anyone to perform abortions, punishable by up to five years in prison. Physicians who are charged can defend themselves at trial by arguing that the abortions are necessary to save a patient's life or that they were performed because of rape or incest. Meanwhile, a Wyoming judge is considering whether to put that state's abortion ban on hold while another lawsuit moves forward.

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A new report says California delayed or improperly denied unemployment benefits for roughly 6 million people during the pandemic. The report released Monday by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office says the state does not prioritize getting benefits to workers quickly. The report said California is focused too much on preventing fraud instead of processing payments quickly. The Employment Development Department estimates the state paid about $20 billion in fraudulent benefits during the pandemic. Nearly all of that money came from a federal program aimed at independent contractors and the self-employed. That program has since ended.

A new philanthropic project hopes to invest $100 million in up to 10 countries mostly in Africa by 2030 to support up to 200,000 community health workers. These workers serve as a critical bridge to treatment for people with limited access to medical care. The Skoll Foundation and The Johnson & Johnson Foundation announced Monday that they donated $25 million to the initiative. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria will oversee the project.

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Support has coalesced around Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes to be the Democratic choice to take on Republican Sen. Ron Johnson in the state's closely watched U.S. Senate race. The question heading into Tuesday’s primary more than ever turns to whether Barnes can actually knock off the two-term incumbent. Who is best to beat Johnson dominated the Democratic primary, so much so the candidates largely followed exhortations from party leaders not to attack one another but instead remain focused on the ultimate goal. Barnes' top Democratic rival dropped out two weeks ago and endorsed Barnes, making the lieutenant governor the presumptive nominee.

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The estimated $740 billion economic package from Democrats is nowhere near what President Joe Biden first envisioned with his effort to rebuild America’s public infrastructure and family support systems. The Senate has approved the slimmer but still substantial compromise package, and it heads next to the House. It's made up of health care, climate change and deficit-reduction strategies, in hopes of tackling inflation and making the most sizable investment ever in fighting global warming. A major component is capping out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for seniors in the Medicare program at $2,000 a year. It also applies $300 billion federal deficit reduction.

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The Senate has approved Democrats' big election-year economic package. The legislation is less ambitious than President Joe Biden’s original domestic goals. But it embodies deep-rooted party dreams of slowing global warming, moderating pharmaceutical costs and taxing big corporations. Debate began Saturday and went around the clock into Sunday afternoon. Democrats had swatted down some three dozen Republican efforts to torpedo the legislation. Biden is urging swift House passage, and the House seems on track to provide final congressional approval when it returns briefly from summer recess on Friday.

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