Health Care

Health Care Leaks Get the Clampdown From McConnell
Obamacare repeal working group now open to all GOP senators

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly expressed annoyance at the number of leaks regarding the health care working group’s private discussions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

BY JOE WILLIAMS AND ERIN MERSHON

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sent a warning to staffers last week amid growing frustration at the amount of information leaking from private Republican discussions on repealing the 2010 health care law.

Tax Overhaul Challenges Unified Republican Government
Contentious House provisions spark interest in bipartisan Senate plan

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had planned to pass a tax overhaul by August, a timeline that has slipped amid intraparty divisions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

BY LINDSEY MCPHERSON AND JOE WILLIAMS

Republican leaders are applying a lesson learned from health care to the tax overhaul debate: build consensus before releasing a bill.

Trump Seeks Further Delay in Health Care Subsidy Lawsuit
Insurance plans, Democrats say uncertainty will continue

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said the administration's actions will lead to more uncertainty in the health insurance markets. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Trump administration again delayed a decision in a major case that could upend the health insurance markets created by the 2010 health care law, in a motion filed in federal court Monday.

Justice Department lawyers asked in the motion for another 90-day delay in a case that centers on about $7 billion of annual subsidies that are aimed at making health care services more affordable for low-income people who gained coverage under the 2010 law.

Sparring Over Women’s Health in Georgia’s 6th District
Handel, Ossoff trade jabs over Planned Parenthood

Karen Handel, candidate for the Georgia 6th Congressional district, speaks with reporters during a campaign stop at Rhea’s restaurant in Roswell, Ga., on Monday, April 17, 2017, one day before the special election to fill Tom Price’s seat . (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As the June 20 runoff election in Georgia’s 6th district approaches, Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel are facing off with competing ads on women’s health and anti-abortion groups have joined in the fight.

Ossoff’s broadcast cable ad, released Tuesday, features an ob-gyn doctor criticizing Handel for her move to “cut off funding for Planned Parenthood cancer screenings when she was an executive at Susan G. Komen.”

Having Fun With the Health Care Bill Holdup
Hoyer needles McCarthy about delay in sending House bill to Senate

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer had some fun with Republican delays in transmitting their health care measure to the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Minority Leader Steny H. Hoyer had a little fun with his Republican colleagues’ delay in transmitting their health care overhaul legislation to the Senate.

“You can imagine my shock, chagrin and surprise when I learned yesterday that bill has not gone to the Senate. Apparently it’s gone from one chair to the other chair in the desks before me,” the Maryland Democrat needled House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in their colloquy on the floor Friday. He asked McCarthy if there would need to be another vote on the bill and when it will be sent to the Senate.

New Mail Campaign Highlights AHCA Impact on Older Voters
Save My Care highlights higher cost for seniors under GOP bill in two GOP districts

Older voters in Amodei’s district will be reminded of his health care vote. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Older voters in two GOP districts are the targets of a new direct mail campaign highlighting higher costs for seniors under the GOP health care bill.

The liberal advocacy group Save My Care is launching a direct mail campaign this weekend aimed at 30,000 voters between the ages of 50 and 64 in Arizona’s 2nd District, home to Rep. Martha McSally, and Nevada’s 2nd District, represented by Rep. Mark Amodei

Democratic AGs Move to Protect Obamacare Subsidies
Filed motion in case filed by Republican-controlled House

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., was among state attorneys general who filed a motion to protect subsidies in the 2010 health care law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sixteen Democratic state attorneys general filed a motion to protect the subsidies to insurance companies for low-income people in the 2010 health care law.

“The stakes are very high. In Maryland we have more than 400,000 people who depend on the Affordable Care Act to get normal health care. It sounds alarming, but it’s true: lives are at stake,” said Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, according Reuters reported.

Senators Push Back on Trump Drug Abuse Actions
Republicans pledge to fight funding cuts, shifts in criminal enforcement policy

West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito says she will push back against efforts to cut funds to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump pledged to tackle prescription drug abuse and the flow of illegal drugs into the country. But his White House efforts are off to a rocky start so far.

Earlier this year, Trump appointed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to lead a opioid crisis task force. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, along with other administration officials including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, have embarked on a listening tour of areas ravaged by the opioid epidemic.

Trump Feels ‘Very Strong’ About House Health Bill
White House still won't deny president is recording conversations

President Donald Trump (center) congratulates House Republicans on May 4 after they passed legislation aimed at repealing and replacing the 2010 health law. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The White House fired a shot across the Senate’s bow Monday, signaling President Donald Trump feels “very strong” about the health overhaul passed by the House.

Several Senate groups, including one composed of Republicans and Democrats, are holding talks about how to alter the House measure or craft an entirely new bill. But just as senators return to Washington to get back to work, Press Secretary Sean Spicer walked a tightrope about what Trump wants them to pass.

Liberals Criticize Frelinghuysen’s ‘Intimidation’ of Activist
Bank employee says she quit her job after congressman writes personal note to board member

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., wrote “One of the ringleaders works at your bank,” at the bottom of a fundraising letter to a bank board member. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Liberal activists are criticizing Republican Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen over what they call the congressman’s “intimidation” of one of his constituents.

Frelinghuysen sent a campaign fundraising letter to a board member of Lakeland Bank in his district in which he says, “But let’s be clear that there are organized forces — both national and local — who are already hard at work to put a stop to an agenda of limited government, economic growth, stronger national security.”

For Freedom Caucus, No Place Like Home
Constituents appreciate group’s influence in Congress

North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the Freedom Caucus, answers questions from protestors in Morganton, North Carolina, about the health care bill and Russia investigations. (Lindsey McPherson/CQ Roll Call)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Washington may not always understand or appreciate the House Freedom Caucus, but its constituents generally do.

At events in the districts of three caucus members last week — Mark Meadows in North Carolina, and Dave Brat and Morgan Griffith in Virginia — a variety of constituents interviewed had not only heard of the hard-line conservative group but showed a good grasp of its mission: to provide a voice for people outside the Beltway who lack backing among Washington’s special interests. 

Policymakers Face Pressure to Act on Drug Pricing
Some proposals appear likely to gain traction

Indiana Sen. Todd Young leaves a Senate Republican policy lunch in the Capitol in February. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A proposal that would open the door for the import of low-cost prescription drugs from Canada was defeated at a Senate markup Thursday, but the proposal is unlikely to be gone for good. Lawmakers from both parties seem to want to demonstrate concern about drug prices to voters.

The administration also appears interested in addressing the issue, with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price holding listening sessions with patient groups and think tanks in recent weeks.

Freedom Caucus May Push for More Than Tax Overhaul in Next Budget
Reconciliation instructions for overhauling welfare system among issues caucus plans to discuss, Meadows says

Rep. Mark Meadows signs pictures taken of him with constituents to send the constituents as a thank you for their time. (Lindsey McPherson/CQ Roll Call)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus are considering a push for broader reconciliation authority in the upcoming fiscal 2018 budget resolution that would allow Republicans to pursue policies beyond a tax code overhaul.

“We believe that writing the instructions more broadly will give us greater flexibility not only to get tax reform but also to address other areas simultaneously,” Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said in an interview here Friday.

Western North Carolina Notices Meadows’ Newfound Notoriety
Supporters and protesters greet Freedom Caucus chairman back home

Rep. Mark Meadows gives advice to middle school students in McDowell County, North Carolina preparing for a cardboard boat competition. (Lindsey McPherson/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Mark Meadows has long been a household name in western North Carolina, but his newfound notoriety outside the 11th District has not gone unnoticed by those back home.

“If you watch TV at all you know that our congressman is very much a mover and shaker in Washington, D.C.,” South Caldwell High School teacher Tony Crump said, as he introduced Meadows at a masonry competition Thursday for three area high schools.

Crucial Health Bills Have a Fraught Path Amid Partisan Blowups
Bickering could delay progress on changes to 2010 health care law

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said the panel will next focus on Medicare policies related to patients with chronic illnesses. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A highly anticipated markup of a must-pass Food and Drug Administration bill was postponed Wednesday because of partisan sparring over the firing of FBI Director James B. Comey. The delay comes after the Senate Finance Committee last week indefinitely postponed a hearing on the Children’s Health Insurance Program because of the toxic politics of the Republican health care bill. The cancellations raise questions about whether a deluge of drama consuming the Capitol could push lower-profile but important health care legislation off the rails.

Both bills — which congressional leaders hoped to pass without major controversies — need to be addressed well before their Sept. 30 deadlines so the FDA employees and children’s health providers who rely on funding affected by the bills can keep working.