Health Care

Trump civil rights official wants to defend abortion opponents and religious freedom
OCR is now reporting a rise in civil rights complaints related to a person’s moral beliefs

Roger Severino, the director for the HHS’ Office of Civil Rights, speaks at a news conference on Jan. 18 announcing a new division on conscience and religious freedom. The new division will aide medical professionals who object to certain procedures on religious grounds. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images file photo)

A Trump administration official charged with protecting civil rights has major plans for defending abortion opponents and promoting religious freedom, he said in a rare and wide-ranging interview.

Roger Severino, the director for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights, highlighted his goals to investigate states that require insurance to cover abortion, protect individuals who reject certain vaccinations on religious grounds, and defend students training to be medical providers if they object to participating in abortions.

‘Renovation, what’s that all about?’ Trump asks about burning Notre Dame
Highlights of president’s most-eyebrow raising lines at economic roundtable in Minnesota

President Donald Trump greets supporters during a rally last month in Grand Rapids, Mich. On Monday, he was in another Upper Midwest state, Minnesota. (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photo)

ANALYSIS — President Donald Trump lingered on Air Force One in Minnesota on Monday, later telling workers at Nuss Truck and Equipment in Burnsville that he and others were watching coverage of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris engulfed in flames.

Trump said he had been briefed on the blaze, adding that it looked like “one of the great treasures of the world” was “burning to the ground. … That puts a damper on what we are about to say.”

Rep. Donald McEachin hospitalized after developing a blood clot
His hospitalization comes as he faces pressure from voters to endorse a “Medicare for All” bill

Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Va., suffered a blood clot last week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The next 100 days: the sky’s the limit
Our plan to give America’s middle class — and those working to get there — a boost

Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., addresses the media at the House Democrats' 2019 Issues Conference at the Lansdowne Resort and Spa in Leesburg, Va. on Thursday. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — One hundred days ago, I stood with my fellow House Democrats and swore the oath of office. We raised our right hands and promised to uphold the Constitution in the midst of a needless 35 day government shutdown.

Throughout that tumultuous six-week period and the months following, House Democrats remained intensely focused on delivering a better life for all Americans — urban, suburban and rural — through our For The People populist agenda.

‘Medicare for All’ keeps defining 2020 political landscape
Progressive health care plan could become point of contention as campaign heats up

From left, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., at an event Wednesday to introduce the “Medicare for All Act of 2019.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The “Medicare for All” bill that presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders released Wednesday is more likely to be litigated on the campaign trail than in the halls of Congress. And it highlights a rare political divide among Democrats on one of their marquee issues even as the party seeks to appear unified.

Supporters of the Vermont independent are vying with Democrats who prefer to expand and protect the 2010 health care law. Those differences have recently been overshadowed by larger fights between the two parties after the Trump administration broadened its position in a high-profile lawsuit by calling to strike down the entire 2010 law.

Bernie Sanders’ new Medicare for All bill would cover some long-term care

Renelsa Caudill, a nurse at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, is greeted by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., after speaking at an event to introduce the “Medicare for All Act of 2019,” in Dirksen Building on Wednesday, April 10, 2019. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., are also pictured. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday released an updated bill to implement a single-payer health insurance system, a politically divisive hallmark of his White House bid.

The unnumbered Senate bill would transition the U.S. health care system to a single-payer system over a four-year transition and eliminate nearly all premiums, co-pays and deductibles. The legislation largely mirrors Sanders’ 2017 proposal, but the new plan also would cover home and community-based long-term care services through an expanded Medicare program, according to a summary. The earlier version would have maintained those services through existing Medicaid benefits.

Democrats probe Trump decision to not defend Obamacare

Attorney General William Barr urged the House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee to let the Obamacare case make its way through the courts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats opened a probe Tuesday into the Trump administration’s decision not to defend the 2010 health care law in a high-profile legal challenge, as Attorney General William Barr urged lawmakers to allow the case to move through the courts.

The chairmen of five House panels sent letters to the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Justice Department seeking documents and communications about how the decision was made earlier this year to only partially defend the health care law in a legal challenge brought by Texas’ attorney general and other conservative state attorneys general.

Trump’s double backtrack ‘probably won’t matter very much’
Teflon president not likely to pay any political price for health care, border retreats

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., John Thune, R-S. Dak., Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., look on at the Capitol on Jan. 9. His recent moves have irked his own party. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — Donald Trump irked even his fellow Republicans last week with his health care and border closure pushes, only to back off both, capping one of the most turbulent weeks of his chaotic presidency. But it’s unlikely to hinder his re-election fight.

Eager to hit the campaign trail with a reprise of many of the same themes that fueled his 2016 bid, Trump caught his party off guard by trying once again to repeal and replace the entire Obama-era health care law, before delaying any vote until after Election Day 2020. At the same time, he threatened for days to shutter ports of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border, before replacing that threat with one to first slap tariffs on Mexican-made automobiles.

More Chinese fentanyl may stay out of the US under a new bipartisan bill
Another bipartisan proposal would help physicians learn more about a patient’s substance abuse history.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., arrives in the Capitol for the weekly Senate luncheons on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Calls to address the opioid crisis resumed Thursday as lawmakers released a bill that aims to curb the flow of illegal opioids into the United States and another to help physicians learn more about a patient’s substance abuse history.

The separate actions by a bipartisan group of senators and another of House members are drawing fresh attention to the overdose crisis, which is a concern for both parties even though Congress cleared an opioids law just last year. One of the bills, a Senate measure, stands a good chance of becoming law, said co-sponsor Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer.

As lawmakers fret, Trump takes closure threat to border with 2020 in mind
‘We felt the need to give him some advice,’ Kudlow says of economic warning to president

Supporters of President Donald Trump rally during his March 2018 visit to see border wall prototypes in San Diego. He returns to California on Friday as he mulls his threat to close the southern border's ports of entry amid an uptick in migrant apprehensions. (David McNew/Getty Images file photo)

The political and economic stakes will be high Friday when President Donald Trump heads to the U.S.-Mexico border after rankling members of both parties with a threat to close all ports of entry. But as lawmakers fret, he is keeping a major re-election issue on the minds of his supporters.

Trump flashed his unique approach to immigration and foreign policy last week when he floated the notion of closing the ports as a way to gain leverage over Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — by preventing migrants from those countries from trekking up the U.S. border, which he will see Friday in Southern California. He is also using the threat to get Mexico to stop migrants as they move through that country.

Capitol Ink | The Party of Health Care

Opioid maker Mallinckrodt to support lobbying disclosure

Mallinckrodt is backing an investor group's push to disclose its lobbying. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Mallinckrodt Plc, a major manufacturer of generic opioids, is backing an investor’s request it disclose its lobbying spending and plans to issue a report, according to a shareholder coalition pressing drug companies to improve oversight in light of the opioid epidemic and confirmed by the company’s proxy statement released Wednesday. 

The Staines-upon-Thames, England-based company told members of Investors for Opioid Accountability, who together manage $3.4 trillion in assets, it would recommend stockholders vote in favor of the group’s lobbying disclosure proposal, said co-leader Donna Meyer and Katie McCloskey, director of social responsibility for IOA member United Church Funds, lead filer of the request.

Here are the 8 Republicans who broke with their party on Obamacare lawsuit
Democrats sought to put GOP colleagues on record with symbolic vote

Freshman Minnesota GOP Rep. Pete Stauber broke with his party on a vote related to the Obamacare lawsuit. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic congressional campaigns have already made health care an early focus of their 2020 messaging, and House Democrats bolstered that effort Wednesday with a symbolic vote that sought to once again put Republicans on record on the issue.

Eight Republicans sided with Democrats on the nonbinding resolution, which the House adopted, 240-186. The measure condemned the Trump administration’s support for invalidating the 2010 health care law in its entirety. The Department of Justice, in a new filing last week, backed a Texas judge’s decision to strike down the law. 

Obamacare fight continues on House floor — again
The largely symbolic resolution condemns the administration for calling on courts to overturn the ACA

President Donald Trump stands alongside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, left, and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., before the Senate Republican policy lunches in the Capitol on March 26. The event took place a day after his administration issued a court filing arguing the entire 2010 health care law should be overturned. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Wednesday plans to vote on a largely symbolic resolution condemning the Trump administration for calling on the courts to overturn the 2010 health care law, escalating a messaging war that seems poised to continue through the 2020 elections.

The vote is the Democrats’ latest rebuke of the Trump administration’s stance on the lawsuit brought by Texas and other conservative state attorneys general to overturn the health care law. The House became a party to the law’s defense earlier this year.

Legal challenges are threatening Trump administration changes to the ACA
HHS is facing an increasing number of challenges to its changes to the 2010 health care law

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar testifies during a House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing on June 6, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)!

The Trump administration, which has already been defeated in a number of high-profile legal cases, is facing an increasing number of challenges to its changes to the 2010 health care law and women’s health issues.

Just last week, the Justice Department filed a brief arguing that the entire health care law should fall, a position that even some conservative legal scholars call risky. Two days later, on Wednesday, a federal judge struck down the administration’s rules requiring Medicaid recipients to report their work hours to keep their coverage. On Thursday, another judge blocked the administration’s expansion of association health plans, which let small businesses band together to buy insurance and do not have to meet all of the 2010 law’s requirements.