- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 22, 2010

SENATE

Panel rebuffs effort to fund Yucca site

Lawmakers who support a nuclear-waste repository under Nevada’s Yucca Mountain continue to fall short of finding additional money for the project.

The Obama administration and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada favor scrapping the Yucca Mountain site, and the president’s budget for next year provides no funding for it.

But Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state says the administration has failed to provide valid scientific reasons for doing away with the repository.

Mrs. Murray proposed on Thursday spending $200 million on developing the application needed to construct the storage site, but her efforts were defeated largely along party lines during a Senate committee hearing.

HEALTH CARE

Feds spell out appeal rights

The Obama administration is spelling out new rights for consumers to appeal to a neutral referee if their health insurance company denies a claim.

Federal regulations issued Thursday will require a two-stage process.

First, consumers will appeal directly to the insurer. If they get a second denial, they can appeal to an independent reviewer whose decision is binding. Consumers can also use the system if their coverage gets canceled.

Many health plans already have a system for appeals, although not as friendly to consumers. The number of people covered by the new safeguards will grow from about 40 million next year to as many as 88 million by 2013.

The rules are part of President Obama’s health care overhaul law.

DEFENSE

Officials limit education grants for spouses

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