Health Care

Trump Team Pushes Back on HHS Nominee‘s Stock Trading Issue
Rep. Tom Price is criticized for investments he made while working on health policy

Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., was nominated to be Secretary of the Health and Human Services Department. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team is disputing a recent report that raised questions about whether Rep. Tom Price, the nominee for Health and Human Services Secretary, violated insider trading laws while serving in Congress.

A Monday CNN report revealed that Price bought shares in Zimmer Biomet, a medical device company, in March. Price introduced a bill delaying a regulation that could have damaged the company less than a week after the purchase. CNN also reported that the company’s political action committee also donated to Price’s re-election campaign.

Democrats Use CBO Report to Message Against Obamacare Repeal
Number of House Democrats skipping Trump’s inauguration continues to grow

Pelosi, right, and other Democrats are using a new CBO report to message against Republican plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats gained a useful messaging tool Tuesday in their efforts to thwart the GOP’s plan to dismantle the 2010 health care law, as the Congressional Budget Office released a report saying up to 32 million people would lose their insurance under a previous Republican proposal.

The CBO also estimated that marketplace premiums would nearly double under the GOP repeal legislation President Barack Obama vetoed last year. Republicans are using that prior budget reconciliation bill as a model for legislation they are drafting. Speaker Paul D. Ryan has said the new legislation will include some pieces of replacement policy as well. 

CBO: 32 Million Would Lose Coverage Under Prior GOP Repeal Bill

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York was one of the Democrats who ordered a CBO review of a previous GOP effort to repeal the 2010 health care law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican Members Hear from Obamacare Supporters
Democrats hold rallies to defend Obama’s signature law

Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., called a swarm of Obamacare supporters at a constituent event "partisan activists." (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican members of Congress heard from constituents supportive of the Affordable Care Act over the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend as they take steps to repeal the law.

Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., saw hundreds of people at a constituent meeting event at a library in Aurora, according to one eyewitness account to 9News.

Zinke, DeVos Kick Off Week of Senate Hearings
Senate is also voting on a bill relating to the GAO

Betsy DeVos, nominee for Education secretary, has her confirmation hearing Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Preparations for the incoming administration will likely dominate the Senate this week with hearings each day leading up to President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration Friday. Two of his nominees are facing Senate committees Tuesday. 

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold its confirmation hearing at 2:15 p.m. for Montana Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke to be the next Interior secretary.

Mixed Bag of Republicans Vote Against Obamacare Repeal Vehicle
GOP defectors cite deficit, lack of replacement

Dent voted against the budget resolution because of concerns about the GOP rushing to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans on Friday passed a bare-bones fiscal 2017 budget resolution with few intraparty defections, as most GOP members saw the unbalanced and long-delayed spending plan as a necessary means to an end of repealing the 2010 health care law.

The nine Republicans who voted against the measure raised concerns about either the budget not balancing, a key priority for fiscal conservatives, or the aggressive timeline of repealing the Affordable Care Act, given that the GOP has yet to present a replacement plan. The final vote was 227-198. 

House GOP Group Launches Digital Campaign for Health Care Plan
American Action Network will target 28 House districts

American Action Network is running digital ads about the House Republicans’ health care law replacement efforts in Ohio’s 4th District, held by former Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

An outside group affiliated with House GOP leadership is ramping up its advertising campaign for a Republican alternative to the 2010 health care law, running $400,000 in digital ads across 28 congressional districts. 

American Action Network, a conservative nonprofit advocacy organization, is launching its first digital campaign of the year Friday, when the House is expected to vote on the budget resolution that would begin the process of repealing President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. 

House Leaders Emphasize Executive Branch's Power Over Obamacare

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., holds his weekly press conference in the Capitol on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans on Thursday emphasized that their efforts to repeal and replace the health care law will rely heavily on revised interpretations of the law that they can make administratively, a sign of the challenges in writing replacement legislation that can overcome the Senate’s 60-vote threshold.

“Let’s not forget, we now have an HHS, an administration, that is ready to work with us to fix this problem,” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., said at his weekly press conference. “What I think people are beginning to appreciate is we have lots of tools in front of us. It’s not just a one-and-done bill kind of a thing. That is what we’ve been walking our members through — all the options available to us to get this done.”

Republicans Not So Sure About Trump's Call for Drug “Bidding”

Rep. Charlie Dent , R-Pa., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Wednesday morning, Sept. 7, 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional Republicans are downplaying or dismissing President-elect Donald Trump’s call Wednesday for the government to start “bidding” for prescription drugs.

Addressing the high price of prescription drugs is a popular bipartisan issue, but Republicans tend to favor an approach that would stimulate competition that could help bring prices down. Under the Medicare drug program, price negotiation does occur between drug companies and the insurers who administer the coverage, but the federal government is forbidden from leveraging the bargaining power of Medicare as a whole.

Progressives Outraged Over Booker, Democrats’ Vote on Prescription Drugs From Canada
12 Republicans voted for amendment to GOP budget resolution that begins dismantling of Obamacare

Sen. Cory Booker defended his vote on the amendment, saying it “didn’t adequately make sure foreign drugs meet American safety standards.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Progressives in the Democratic Party are outraged after 13 Democrats voted against an amendment that would have allowed Americans to buy cheaper prescription drugs from Canada, saying it’s a sign that Big Pharma has too much power in the party. 

The amendment was unlikely to pass, but critics say that’s why it should have been a safe way for Democrats to show their support for combating high drug prices.

HHS Nominee Might Not Be Confirmed Until Mid-February, Says Senator
Alexander’s timeline pushes Obamacare repeal and replace toward March

Sen. Lamar Alexander is chairman of the Senate HELP Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Even as senators began grinding through a budget resolution that sets up a repeal of the 2010 health care law, the timeline for striking President Barack Obama’s biggest legislative legacy appeared to be slipping.

President-elect Donald Trump said at a news conference Wednesday in New York City that a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act would come once Secretary of Health and Human Services nominee Rep. Tom Price of Georgia wins confirmation.

Obamacare Replacement Preoccupies GOP as Budget Votes Near
McHenry: House has enough GOP votes to adopt resolution triggering repeal

A plan to replace the 2010 health care law will emerge after Georgia Rep. Tom Price is confirmed as Health and Human Services secretary, President-elect Donald Trump said Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressional Republicans’ struggle to take the first step toward repealing and replacing the health care law using a fiscal 2017 budget resolution intensified Wednesday, as they debated how soon to roll out a replacement and defended their coordination with their incoming president.

President-elect Donald Trump suggested in a press conference Wednesday that the repeal and replacement of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law will occur simultaneously or nearly simultaneously. While that timetable appears to defy what Republicans in the House and Senate have set out to do, top Republicans and their aides insisted that the incoming president and Congress are not at odds and that repeal and replacement will succeed.

Obamacare Markets See Growth Despite Premium Hikes
Report refutes GOP predictions of ’death spiral’ for exchanges

HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell projected that as many as 13.8 million people would sign up or renew marketplace plans during this year’s open enrollment period. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

More than 11.5 million people have signed up for individual health insurance coverage using the marketplaces established by the health care overhaul during the current enrollment period, an increase of 286,000 people compared to the same time last year, the Obama administration reported on Tuesday.

The total includes 8.7 million who signed up through HealthCare.gov and 2.8 million who enrolled through state-based marketplaces. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill congressional Republicans cleared last year that would have repealed the health care law would have eliminated coverage for about 22 million people who receive coverage either through the marketplaces or Medicaid, the federal-state program for the poor. President Barack Obama vetoed that measure, which is now serving as a starting point in the current discussions about repealing the law.

Ryan Says Obamacare Repeal, Replacement Will Happen ‘Concurrently’
Uncertainty over timeline for a replace plan bedevils House GOP

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan says pieces of a health care law replacement plan could be included in the current budget reconciliation measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Tuesday that Republicans will offer a replacement plan for the 2010 health care law at the same time they repeal it, amid signs the legislative process for a repeal was encountering obstacles. 

“It is our goal to bring it all together concurrently,” the Wisconsin Republican said. 

For 20, a New Year’s Boost in House Legislative Sway
How the winners of top committee assignments made their own luck

Keep an eye peeled for these House members with plum new committee assignments, from left to right, first row: Pete Aguilar, Earl L. “Buddy” Carter, Katherine M. Clark, Ryan A. Costello, Carlos Curbelo; second row: Suzan DelBene, Debbie Dingell, Brian Higgins, John Moolenaar, Grace Meng; third row: Dan Newhouse, Scott Peters, Mark Pocan, Raul Ruiz, David Schweikert; fourth row: Terri A. Sewell, Scott Taylor, Tim Walberg, Jackie Walorski and Mimi Walters. (Bill Clark, Meredith Dake-O’Connor and Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photos. Scott Taylor courtesy Scott Taylor for U.S. Congress)

Specialization seasoned with seniority is the surest recipe for a meaningful legislative career in the House, which is more than big enough to swallow all the dilettantes and short-timers without a trace. It’s finding a substantive niche, then fitting in over the long haul, that proves perennially frustrating for many members. 

But the goal of becoming a successful and substantive lawmaker just got a whole lot easier for a score of them.