Melissa Attias

Suspending Obamacare Taxes May Fuel More Calls for Change

President Barack Obama’s willingness to sign a year-end spending package that suspended more than $30 billion worth of taxes mandated by the 2010 health care law will energize opponents’ efforts to further alter his signature legislative achievement, though the most significant changes may have to wait until after the elections.

Omnibus Bill Could Shape E-Cigarette Regulation

Electronic cigarette manufacturers are pushing hard for a policy rider in the year-end catchall spending bill that would shield them from a costly, time-consuming Food and Drug Administration approval process.

Component of Mental Health Bill Could Expand Medicaid Payments for Psychiatric Hospitals

Congress is weighing whether to allow psychiatric hospitals to bill Medicaid for up to 20 days of care each month for adult patients, signaling a potential shift in lawmakers’ views about institutionalizing people with serious mental illnesses.

House Committee Scraps Parts of Obamacare

The House Ways and Means Committee approved reconciliation recommendations, 23-14, along party lines that would scrap the health care law’s individual and employer mandates, and taxes on medical devices and high-cost employer plans....
Upton Unsure of Reconciliation for Planned Parenthood Defunding

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton expressed uncertainty Thursday about whether budget reconciliation can be used to defund Planned Parenthood, one of the options that Republicans are considering to starve the family planning group of federal funds, appease unhappy conservatives and still avoid a government shutdown.

Patients' Rights Questions Hang Over Mental Health Debate

Congressional efforts to overhaul the mental health system have more momentum than at any time since the 2012 shooting at a Newtown, Conn., school by an unbalanced young man. But a push to tie millions of dollars in funding to states’ willingness to force some people with serious illnesses into outpatient treatment programs is complicating prospects for a consensus.

CMS Confirmation May Bring Back Health Care Fight

President Barack Obama’s nomination of Andy Slavitt to be administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — he’s acting administrator now — leaves Senate Republicans weighing how to orchestrate the confirmation process in their favor.

Repealing Health Law Under Dynamic Scoring Increases Deficit, CBO Says

The Congressional Budget Office estimated Friday that repealing the health care law would increase the federal deficit by $137 billion from fiscal 2016 to 2025 using a dynamic score, compared to $353 billion under traditional scoring practices.

Conservatives Push for Fully Paid 'Doc Fix' Deal

Momentum is building among conservative senators to scrap an exemption from budget laws in the House-passed "doc fix" deal, a move that would pressure Congress to offset $141 billion of the package's cost not currently paid for later this year, outside groups say.

GOP Planning 'Temporary Bridge' if SCOTUS Strikes Obamacare Subsidies

Ahead of Supreme Court oral arguments tomorrow in a case that could remove subsidies on federally-run state health care exchanges, Sen. John Barrasso outlined a plan Tuesday three Senate Republicans released Sunday to provide transitional relief to individuals while granting broader authority to states over health insurance markets.

Fears of Chaos Mount Over Obamacare Case

There’s no shortage of dire predictions about what would happen if the Supreme Court strikes down the system for awarding subsidies to people seeking insurance under the 2010 health care law.

Some E-Cigarette Makers Support a Ban

E-cigarette companies took a beating from Senate Democrats at a hearing last year focused on their marketing practices, but LOGIC Technology President Miguel Martin said some brands — such as his own — are taking steps to be responsible.

Democrats Renew Press for Curbs on E-Cigarettes

Democrats are renewing efforts to protect children from the potential harm of electronic cigarettes, but the main event will come on the regulatory front if the Food and Drug Administration meets expectations and releases a final rule this year.

Pharmacist-Congressman Looks to Fill Drug Stores' Wish List

Pharmacists have a new voice in Congress now that one of their own has been elected to the House, and he’s planning to be a “driving force” behind their top legislative priority, along with repeal of the health care law.

Murray Announces Intent to Take HELP

Patty Murray confirmed Friday that she plans to succeed Tom Harkin as the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee next year, where she is expected to play a prominent role defending the health care law and trying to forge compromises on stalled education policy.

Texas Democrat Seeks Top House Health Committee Post

Texas Democrat Gene Green appears poised to take the top Democratic slot on the House Energy and Commerce panel that handles health legislation next year after current ranking member Frank Pallone Jr. takes the top Democrat spot on the full committee.

Clinton Library Papers Show Kagan Dropping an F-Bomb

Papers from the Clinton White House released Friday detail much of the behind-the-scenes legal work of the White House as President Bill Clinton dealt with multiple scandals and controversies in his second term.

CDC Chief Pledges to Improve Safety After Biohazard Lapses

A recent incident during which staff at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was potentially exposed to anthrax is part of a larger pattern of “an insufficient culture of safety,” Director Thomas R. Frieden told a panel of House lawmakers Wednesday.  

Frieden faced sharp questions from Republicans and Democrats about how the June incident and other episodes such as the shipment of influenza strains contaminated with a deadly flu virus to a Department of Agriculture laboratory were able to happen, as well as what steps are being taken to prevent future problems. Pennsylvania Republican Tim Murphy, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, called the lapses sloppy and inexcusable. And Diana DeGette of Colorado, the top Democrat on the panel, said it was “an alarming series of failures.”  

CDC Chief Pledges to Improve Safety After Biohazard Lapses

A recent incident during which staff at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was potentially exposed to anthrax is part of a larger pattern of “an insufficient culture of safety,” Director Thomas R. Frieden told a panel of House lawmakers Wednesday.

FDA Weighs Role Overseeing the Marijuana Trade

Colorado’s and Washington’s decision to legalize marijuana for adults has left federal regulators in an awkward position, with the drug still illegal under federal law. But while the Food and Drug Administration has been largely absent from the new retail scene, the agency appears to be leaving the door open to taking action on food products that contain marijuana if public health is threatened.