Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
Sequestration cuts have forced cancer clinics to turn away Medicare patients because of the high cost of chemotherapy drugs, and the Obama administration does not have the authority to intervene, according to a declaration from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The memo, via the Huffington Post:
The Department of Health and Human Services assessed whether the law allows discretion to administer the sequestration reductions in a manner that is different from the across the board approach that has been used to implement it.
We do not believe that we have the authority under the Budget Control Act of 2011 to exempt Medicare payment for Part B drugs. Exemptions from the sequestration are specified in 2 U.S.C. sections 905(g) and (h) and 906(d)(7), which do not encompass payment for Medicare Part B drugs. The Office of Management and Budget memorandums M-13-03 and M-13-06 referenced in your letter pertain to any flexibility regarding the agency’s budgetary resources for internal operations such as the hiring of new employees. This is separate from the agency’s administration of Medicare payments, which are subject to the sequestration reductions, as noted above.
Lawmakers had requested the agency use “any available flexibility” to “direct the cuts away from patients,” but the response from CMS means that Congress will have to act to scale back the cuts to cancer clinics, something critics say they should have done much sooner.
Chiding lawmakers for acting to restore aviation cuts before taking on the Medicare budget, Ted Okon, executive director of the Community Oncology Alliance, told the Hill in April: “Unfortunately, this doesn’t [hit] home directly to members, as traveling does.”
“I would invite anyone in Washington to come look my patients in the eye and tell them that waiting for a flight is a bigger problem than traveling farther and waiting longer for chemotherapy,” added William Nibley, a doctor at Utah Cancer Specialists in Salt Lake City.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.