Jul 5, 2017

Veterans' medical care program running out of money

Susan Walsh / AP

Add another health care task to the July to-do list: Congress also has to save the Veterans Affairs Choice program from running out of funds. Military Times reports that the program, which lets veterans seek private medical care if they live too far from a VA clinic or would have to wait too long for an appointment, is spending money faster than expected and could run out of funds before the end of September.

Why it matters: It will be a good test of whether Congress has the bandwidth to handle any health care issues other than the Affordable Care Act repeal bill that's struggling in the Senate. Veterans Affairs secretary David Shulkin told senators last month that all he needs is authority to move money around to keep the program running.

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Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and U.S. ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. Meanwhile, Italy reported its first virus-related death on Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,359 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 8 hours ago - Health

Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.