Health Care

Threat of Government Shutdown Appears Lifted
Votes on continuing resolution expected later this evening

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III held up the stopgap spending bill over concerns over miners’ health care. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate standstill over a stopgap spending bill appeared headed toward a resolution on Friday night. Senators who were holding up the measure said votes are expected later in the evening.

West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin III had raised objections to the continuing resolution because it did not include a full year's extension of retired coal miners' health benefits. Manchin said in a floor speech Friday that he would vote against moving ahead with the bill and final passage but did not say he would raise procedural objections that would stall it.

Ep. 32: Repealing Obamacare Could Undermine New Mental Health Initiative
The Week Ahead

Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone of New Jersey discusses his fear that a $6.3 billion health package that would also overhaul the mental health system could be undercut by GOP efforts to repeal the health care law. He tells CQ Roll Call’s Health reporter Andrew Siddons and Managing Editor Adriel Bettelheim that Medicaid cuts are of particular concern. Congress passed the bipartisan “21st Century Cures” bill, which would, among other things, provide extra money for brain research at the National Institutes of Health, help fight the opioid epidemic, fund Vice President Joe Biden’s ‘Moonshot’ cancer project and better integrate mental health care into standard medical practice.

Study: Obamacare Repeal Could Leave 30 Million Without Coverage
Urban Institute looked at using reconciliation to repeal health care law

A new study shows partially repealing the 2010 health care law through reconciliation would cause almost 30 million people to lose health insurance.

Milder Persona, Same Hard Line from New Freedom Caucus Chairman
Mark Meadows is eager to back Trump, but only when he adheres to the House GOP conservative group’s views

Mark Meadows, R-N.C., as elected to become the new chairman of the House Freedom Caucus. (Bill Clark/RC Roll Call)

A defining principle for the House Freedom Caucus can be summarized this way: The painful short-term political consequences for the Republican Party from provoking internal discord must be steadfastly disregarded in the name of long-term conservative purification.

The second lawmaker to lead the group, Mark Meadows of North Carolina, has a reputation as one of the friendliest and folksiest newcomers to influence in Congress. But he is signaling no interest in deviating from that combative rubric even in the coming era of unified GOP control over Washington, born out of an election where voters signaled an intense desire to end the capital norms of backbiting gridlock.

Pence Signals Busy First 100 Days, Including More Military Spending
Vice President-elect to fellow Republicans: ‘Buckle up, the vacation’s over’

Vice President-elect Mike Pence walks to a recent meeting on Capitol Hill. On Tuesday evening, he laid out the incoming Trump administration’s plans for its first 100 and 200 days. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Trump administration officials envision a busy first 100 days, when they hope to repeal the 2010 health care law, overhaul Medicaid, and send Congress a bill that would boost military spending, said Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

He laid out the ambitious agenda on Wednesday evening, but in keeping with a main theme of President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign, he did not provide key details about the size and shape of the incoming administration’s policy proposals. The early Trump agenda Pence described is as bold and conservative as it is vague.

Obamacare Repeal Could Undercut Mental Health Effort
Rollback of Medicaid expansion could limit care envisioned in ’Cures’ package

Pennsylvania Rep. Tim Murphy, left, says that overhauling the 2010 health care law will be a chance to build on the mental health bill, whose supporters include Connecticut Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bill to improve the country’s mental health care system could be undermined by more widespread changes to health coverage that will likely occur next year, supporters of the effort fear.

The Senate is expected this week to clear the “21st Century Cures” package, a medical innovation bill that also includes provisions designed to make it easier for patients to access mental health treatment.

A New Democratic Gatekeeper on the Trump Agenda
Neal at Ways and Means, one of House minority’s 3 new bigwigs, positioned as key legislative field director

Massachusetts Rep. Richard E. Neal is positioned to become a key legislative field director as the ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, Hawkings writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The most important changes in the House Democratic power structure so far look more like a tectonic shift than a dramatic upheaval.

Counterintuitively, a caucus where white men have been reduced to a two-fifths plurality will be represented by three baby boomer white men as the fresh public faces confronting the new Trump administration on the biggest domestic policy debates of next year, from highways to health care.

Study: Health Spending Rose 5.8% in 2015
Federal government now the biggest purchaser of medical services

The federal government rose past private households last year to become the nation’s biggest purchaser of health care, due in part to the expansion of the Medicaid program, according to a study released Friday. The findings comes as Republicans prepare plans to scale back the government’s role in securing health care for Americans.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released the latest figures from the National Health Expenditure survey, which since 1960 has provided annual snapshots of this spending. The total tab for health care in the United States rose by 5.8 percent last year to $3.2 trillion. The federal government’s share of this spending grew at a faster rate than did other major segments, jumping by 8.9 percent last year to $918.5 billion.

‘Cures’ Research Package Draws Strong Bipartisan Vote
Measure’s Senate prospects deemed positive

Reps. Fred Upton of Michigan and Diana DeGette of Colorado high-five Max Schill, 6, from Williamstown, N.J., after the House voted in favor of an earlier version of the 21st Century Cures Act in July 2015. Upton and DeGette spearheaded the bill. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Wednesday night approved, 392-26, a sweeping biomedical research package that also aims to overhaul the mental health system and make targeted changes to Medicare.

Representatives passed an earlier version of the legislation, known as 21st Century Cures, last year, only to see it get delayed in the Senate over disagreements on mandatory funding for the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration, among other things.

How Tom Price Would Dismantle Obamacare
Trump’s pick for HHS has a plan for repeal and replace

Georgia Rep. Tom Price is considered one of the most vocal opponents of the 2010 health care law. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With President-elect Donald Trump slated to nominate Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Price as his secretary of Health and Human Services, the incoming president shows he is serious about following up on his campaign promise to repeal the 2010 health care law.

As chairman of the House Budget Committee, Price has been one of the most vociferous critics of the law.

House ’Cures’ Package Could Hit Potholes in Senate
Questions over funding, disclosure of gifts to doctors

Iowa Sen. Charles E. Grassley objects to a provision in the ‘Cures’ package and says he will object to an expected request for unanimous consent to take up the House bill in the Senate unless this provision is removed. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An expansive plan to spur the development of new medical treatments that’s on the fast track in the House could encounter resistance on the other side of the Capitol over disclosure requirements and the way the legislation is funded.

Lawmakers late last week released an updated version of a long-stalled package known as the 21st Century Cures Act. While many provisions remain from the version the House passed last year, additions include language designed to improve the nation’s mental health system and $1 billion over two years to help combat misuse of prescription opioids.

Reports: Trump Picks Tom Price for HHS Secretary
House Budget chairman a favorite of conservatives

Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., would have broad say in replacing the 2010 health care law if confirmed as HHS secretary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President-elect Donald Trump has selected House Budget Chairman Tom Price, R-Ga., as his nominee to head the Department of Health and Human Services, according to multiple reports.

Price, 62, is a former orthopedic surgeon and favorite of conservatives who has been a fierce critic of the 2010 health care law. Republicans, including Trump, have made repeal of the law and passage of replacement legislation a top priority for next year. As HHS secretary, Price would likely have a large amount of influence over the creation of a new system.

Ep. 30: The GOP's Tool to Fast Track Trump’s Plans, Privatize Medicare
The Week Ahead

Republican lawmakers could use a decades-old procedural maneuver, known as reconciliation, to bypass Democratic opposition and accelerate Donald Trump’s legislative initiatives. That could include cutting taxes, repealing parts of President Barrack Obama’s health care law, privatizing Medicare or turning Medicaid into a block grant to the states. All they would need is a simple majority vote in the Senate. CQ Magazine deputy editor Shawn Zeller, CQ Roll Call’s Senate leadership reporter Bridget Bowman and Managing Editor Adriel Bettelheim explain how it could take shape.

Show Notes:

Ben Carson in Line to Lead Housing Department
Former GOP presidential hopeful was considered for multiple roles

A spokesman for Ben Carson has confirmed that he has been nominated by President-elect Donald Trump as his HUD secretary. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:50 p.m. | Former Republican presidential hopeful and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson is under consideration to be secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Trump administration, according to numerous media reports.

Armstrong Williams, a spokesman for Carson and a conservative media personality, on Wednesday disputed a Wall Street Journal story that said President-elect Donald Trump had offered to nominate Carson and that Carson had accepted. The Journal later corrected its story. 

Pence: Obamacare Repeal Comes First for Trump
Immigration, taxes, infrastructure to follow on envisioned agenda

Vice President-elect Mike Pence met with incoming Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., in the Hart Senate Office Building on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Repeal of the 2010 health care law is a top priority as soon as Donald Trump takes office in January, Vice President-elect Mike Pence said in a Sunday television interview.

“Decisions have been made, that, by the president-elect, that he wants to focus out of the gate on repealing Obamacare and beginning the process of replacing Obamacare with the kind of free-market solutions that he campaigned on,” Pence said on “Fox News Sunday.”