WASHINGTON — Senior citizens who hit the so-called doughnut hole in Medicare's drug benefit will begin getting $250 rebate checks in two weeks, the Obama administration announced Thursday, providing one of the first benefits of the recently enacted health care law.
The rebates, designed in part to bolster support for the still controversial new law, are the first step in a decade-long phase-out of the unpopular gap in Medicare Part D drug coverage.
"Seniors do not have to do anything to get this check," Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said Thursday.
Alaska oil pipeline may resume service
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JUNEAU, Alaska — The operator of the trans-Alaska pipeline system was hopeful that the flow of oil could resume as early as Thursday evening after the 800-mile line was shut down this week due to a contained spill.
Operator Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. reported "significant progress" since Wednesday, with power restored to a pump station, crews draining oil from a storage tank that overflowed, and cleanup and oil recovery under way.
Spokeswoman Michelle Egan said the company was on track to restart the line Thursday evening before storage facilities fill up.
Army must check enlistees' background
DALLAS — The Army is instituting a new procedure for checking the backgrounds of enlistees who claim to have a military record after a report that a reservist apparently faked a background as a Marine to enter the service.
Recruiters can no longer simply accept discharge papers as proof of service, Douglas Smith, public information officer for the Army recruiting command, said Thursday. They now must also seek to verify the documents through a military database, he said.