Health Care

Democrats Cast Wide for Response to Trump Address
Kentucky governor, immigration activist frame minority party debate

Beshear will deliver the Democratic response to the president's address to Congress Tuesday. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Kentucky Gov. Steven Beshear will deliver the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s address to Congress on Tuesday and immigration activist Astrid Silva will deliver the Spanish language response, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced Friday.

Beshear, Kentucky’s governor from 2007 to 2015, presided over one of the 2010 health care law's successes as he implemented the law smoothly, a marked contrast to the debacle of the Healthcare.gov roll out. During his tenure, Beshear expanded affordable health care access by expanding Medicaid and shepherding the insurance exchanges on the state's own health website. His administration is credited with lowering the state’s uninsured rate from more than 20 percent to 7.5 percent.

Giffords to GOP: ’Have Some Courage,’ Don’t Dodge Town Halls
Louie Gohmert raises Giffords shooting as reason to duck meetings

Giffords is uring Republicans to “have some courage” and hold town halls after Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert referenced her shooting in his explanation for not holding one. Giffords has held more than 50 public events this past year, including this Nov. 5 appearance at a campaign office in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Thursday urged congressional Republicans to “have some courage” and hold town halls, after Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert referenced her shooting in his explanation for not holding one. 

In a letter to his constituents who had requested a town hall meeting with him, Gohmert referred to “groups from the more violent strains of the leftist ideology, some even being paid, who are preying on public town halls to wreak havoc and threaten public safety.”

Conservatives Want Obamacare Repeal, and They Want It Now
Ted Cruz rejects John Boehner's contention that repeal and replace won't happen

Jim DeMint president of the Heritage Foundation, told conservatives at CPAC to keep the charge going to repeal the 2010 health care law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By NIELS LESNIEWSKI and LINDSEY McPHERSON, CQ Roll Call 

OXON HILL, Md. — Conservatives rallying here are calling for their congressional brethren to keep the faith and quickly gut the 2010 health care law, dismissing concerns about lost health coverage and motivated voters at town halls.

New Pro-Obamacare Ad Features Trump Voter
Ad to run in Tennessee, home to key GOP senator

The new ad features a Trump voter. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A campaign encouraging lawmakers not to repeal the 2010 health care law will launch two new television ads, one featuring a man who voted for President Donald Trump.

The ads are part of a “six figure” ad buy from the “Save My Care” campaign that will run in Ohio and Tennessee, according to an advance copy of the press release announcing the ads. Tennessee is home to Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander, a key player in the Obamacare debate.

Issa Skips Town Hall, But Has Impromptu One Outside Office
Greeted critics and supporters

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., spoke with protesters and supporters outside of a district office for more than an hour, local media reported. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Darrell Issa skipped a town hall event organized by local groups on Wednesday, but did meet with protesters and supporters outside a district office earlier in the day.

The California Republican had been invited to a town hall event organized to pin him down on his views on the 2010 health care law, but his office said he already had a commitment, the San Diego Union Tribune reported.

White House Signals Own Path on Health Care
Reference to president’s own plan signals dual tracks for GOP

That President Donald Trump could roll out his own health care overhaul plan was something his top spokesman would not rule out on Wednesday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Updated 4:40 p.m. | The White House declined Wednesday to rule out that President Donald Trump will push his own plan to replace the 2010 health care law rather than pursue one course with congressional Republicans.

When asked if there will be a single White House-congressional GOP plan, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer left the door open for Trump to roll out his own plan — no matter what lawmakers do. Minutes later, Spicer referred to “the president’s plan” when discussing how the administration intends to achieve one of its top campaign goals.

Ryan-Aligned Group Drops $2.2 Million on Ads to Oppose Obamacare
Will be featured in multiple swing congressional districts

American Action Network, which supports Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., is spending big on anti-Obamacare ads in swing districts across the country. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A conservative outside spending group is dropping $2.2 million in multiple districts that Democrats are targeting in efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

The ads from American Action Network, a 501(c)(4) sister organization of the Congressional Leadership Fund, feature a pregnant woman named Elizabeth Jacinto talking about how her health care plan was canceled.

Club for Growth Singles Out Noem in Border Tax Fight

Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., center, leaves a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol, May 17, 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Club for Growth has begun an advertising campaign aimed at pressuring Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., a tax writer, to oppose a contentious House GOP proposal to tax imports and exempt exports, the latest salvo in the battle to shape lawmakers’ attempts to overhaul the tax code.

David McIntosh, a former Republican representative from Indiana and now president of the conservative advocacy group, said he strongly opposed the plan’s call for border adjustments to taxes. The group still supports parts of the House GOP tax blueprint, issued by Speaker Paul D. Ryan last year, that would lower rates and end the estate tax.

Health Coverage Questions Persist for Republicans
Chances of House GOP blueprint passing the Senate remain unclear

Speaker Paul D. Ryan told reporters the House GOP health care measure will be introduced after the Presidents Day recess but it might face opposition from Republicans in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Republican lawmakers face questions from constituents and colleagues about their plans to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, there are few answers available, starting with what kind of legislation can pass the Senate. 

Republicans do not need Democratic support to undo much of the law, since they will move the legislation through the budget reconciliation process that only requires majority support in the Senate. But with only 52 Republican senators, the GOP plan will have to get support from both their conservatives and moderates, and it’s not clear what can get everyone onboard.

Appropriators Watch Trump’s Next Move on Obamacare Lawsuit

Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, arrives on the West Front of the Capitol before President Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, January 20, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

BY TODD RUGER AND KELLIE MEJDRICH, CQ ROLL CALL

The Trump administration faces a key legal deadline Tuesday in the push to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law — and it could prompt Republican lawmakers to appropriate funds for a part of the statute they once sued to stop.

One Thing Congress Agrees On: Vaccines Work
They said lawmakers should support the use of vaccines

From left, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., at a HELP hearing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A bipartisan group of lawmakers are stressing the need to highlight benefits of vaccines amid reports of local outbreaks of infectious diseases.

“The science is clear: FDA-licensed vaccines are proven to be safe and effective, and save the lives both of those who receive them and vulnerable individuals around them,” the lawmakers wrote in a Tuesday letter sent to their colleagues. “As Members of Congress, we have a critical role to play in supporting the availability and use of vaccines to protect Americans from deadly diseases.”

Robbing the Poor to Pay Paul Ryan’s Pals
Speaker may have powerful ally for assault on Medicaid

Speaker Paul D. Ryan Ryan has another shot at Medicaid with longtime ally Tom Price running the Department of Health and Human Services, Jonathan Allen writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan wants you to know that he cares about the poor. He wants you to know that his deeply held Catholic convictions drive him to seek opportunity for those in poverty, particularly people of color.

He speaks in the compassionate tones of someone who means to help not harm, and I believe that these are his real values, even if I often don’t agree with his policy prescriptions.

Emerging GOP Plan Would Replace Parts of Obamacare as It’s Repealed
Ryan, Walden, Brady present plan that includes provisions that are controversial among some Republicans

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan told reporters Thursday that legislation to repeal the 2010 health care law would be announced after the Presidents Day recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Developing House Republican legislation to repeal the 2010 health care law would also include replacement provisions that are controversial among the GOP rank and file, like a refundable tax credit to help individuals purchase insurance and a plan for dealing with Medicaid expansion.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden, and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady on Thursday presented to the House Republican Conference their vision for a “repeal plus” bill that would undo most of the health care law and set up some pieces of a yet undeveloped Republican replacement. 

Ted Cruz Wants to Repeal Obamacare Now, Then Work Out Replacement Details
Texas Republican says they must 'honor the promise we've made to voters for six years running now'

Sen. Ted Cruz wants quick action on the Obamacare repeal bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Even no with no consensus replacement for Obamacare in sight, Sen. Ted Cruz is pushing for action on the repeal long promised by Republicans.

“What I think is critical at the outset is that we honor the promise we've made to voters for six years running now to repeal Obamacare. We've had three elections — 2010, 2014 and 2016 — that were referenda on repealing Obamacare, and we need to honor that promise,” Cruz said. “Once Obamacare’s repealed, then we need common sense health care reform that expands choices, that lowers prices, and empowers patients to make their own health care decisions."

Pro-Pot Lawmakers to Join Forces, Launch Cannabis Caucus
Move comes amid uncertainty for state marijuana laws under Trump

Inventory including “Merry N’Berry” on display at the medical marijuana dispensary Takoma Wellness Center, in Washington, D.C. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers looking to draw attention to pet issues have formed groups in favor of everything from auto care to zoos. Now, there’s a caucus for cannabis. 

Rep. Earl Bluemenauer said the move — to be announced at a press conference Thursday — is a sign of how mainstream the drive for marijuana legalization has become.