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What We’re Reading: US Hits Debt Limit; More Oversight of Organics; Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea


As the country hits the debt limit spending on Medicare and Medicaid may be at risk; the Agriculture Department targets fraudulent claims in products labeled as organic; first cases of drug-resistant gonorrhea strain found.

Medicare, Medicaid Eyed as a Bargaining Tool as US Hits Debt Ceiling

Republicans are looking for spending cuts, including changes to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, in exchange for a vote to prevent the government from defaulting on its debts. CNBC reported that the United States hit the debt limit Thursday. The Treasury Department would have to prioritize which bills get paid and which don't, which could lead to fluctuations in some payments. Republicans are also considering means testing for benefits or raising the eligibility age for some programs.

New USDA Rule Targets Products Falsely Labeled as Organic

The Agriculture Department released a new rule, strengthening enforcement of strict definitions of being organic, “which must rely on natural substances and physical, mechanical, or biologically based farming methods to the fullest extent possible," according to The Associated Press. The rule requires increases in business and supply chain inspections of certification by the USDA’s National Organic Program for all imported organic foods. This new rule represents the biggest change to organic regulations since the creation of the USDA organic food program, according to The Organic Trade Association, which lobbied for the rule.

US Investigates First Cases of Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea

Two new cases of a new strain of gonorrhea have been identified by health authorities in Massachusetts, according to CBS News. This stain of gonorrhea appears to have developed a resistance to a broad range of antibiotic treatments, causing concern for investigators. Investigators are now working with the CDC to test other samples of gonorrhea collected in the state.

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