Trending News Today: ACA Tax Penalties in Question

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

Follow-up breast cancer surgeries may be reduced with the device MarginProbe, according to The Wall Street Journal. The MarginProbe detects subtle electromagnetic differences between breast cancer cells and normal breast tissue. The test takes just 3 to 5 minutes, and allows surgeons to test the margins to determine whether more tissue needs to be removed during a lumpectomy, according to the nonprofit organization breastcancer.org. Currently, several surgeons are using the tool, which is showing promise in reducing the number of repeat procedures.

Physician Bernard Greenspan is on trial for allegedly reaping $200,000 in illegal bribes from Biodiagnositic Laboratory Services (BLS), who came to his office seeking referrals. According to The New York Times, BLS bribed Greenspan and a network of other physicians by paying them inflated rents for office space and paying for holiday office parties. BLS allegedly made $200 million between 2006 and 2013, with more than $100 million as a result of the bribery scheme. Attorney Paul Fishman estimates that Medicare was defrauded out of tens of millions of dollars during this period, according to the report. Greenspan faces maximum penalties of serving life in prison, the Times reported. Open statements are scheduled for Tuesday in federal court.

As the future of the Affordable Care Act remains uncertain, uninsured individuals are inquiring whether they should bother paying the tax penalty when filing their taxes next year, Kaiser Health News reported. Tara Straw, senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, told Kaiser that as long as the individual mandate is the law of the land, uninsured individuals should pay the fine for not having coverage in 2016 unless they qualify for an exemption. Some accountants are advising taxpayers to either not pay the penalty, or to delay filing because they expect changes in the law. However, Straw strongly advises against this advice, saying that the requirement for people to have health insurance is still in effect.