Health Care

Price Faces Tough Questions on Stock Trading, Health Care Law

Secretary of Health and Human Services nominee Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., takes his seat before the start of his confirmation hearing in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Tom Price sought in a contentious hearing Wednesday to defend his purchases of medical stocks against Democratic charges of conflicts of interest.

Price told Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the ranking Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee that held the hearing, that he bought Australian biotech Innate Immunotherapeutics shares after talking with Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., about the company. Collins serves as a director of the company. That raises questions about whether that would be a potential violation of the STOCK Act which prohibits lawmakers from benefiting from insider information or ethics rules. However, Price said he did not receive information that was not public.

Gwen Moore to Attend Inauguration as 'The Resistance'
Moore's decision comes as the list of Democrats skipping the festivities grows

Rep. Gwen Moore says she is attending the Inauguration as the face of opposition to President-elect Dona'd Trump's "repugnant" policies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Many Democrats are planning to skip Friday’s inaugural activities over their objections to President-elect Donald Trump, but not Wisconsin Rep. Gwen Moore.

“As a proud Democrat, I want President-elect Trump to see me front and center as he’s sworn in,” Moore said in a statement Wednesday. “I want him to see exactly what his opposition looks like. When he sees me, I want him to see The Resistance.”

Burwell: Repeal and Delayed Replacement is Repeal

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell testifies during a House Ways and Means Committee hearing in Longworth on the HHS Fiscal Year 2017 budget request, February 10, 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said that when the agency Wednesday releases its final report under her watch on marketplace enrollment, the figures will show “a marketplace that millions of folks have come to” rather than a system on a downward trajectory.

However, if Republicans repeal the 2010 health care law without creating an alternative, Burwell told reporters Tuesday that “it is fair to say it puts the marketplace in that kind of negative spiral, in a death spiral.”

More Republicans Face Contentious Town Hall Meetings
Amash, Duffy hear criticism over Obamacare repeal

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., faced criticism when he said states would bear the responsibility for replacing the Affordable Care Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican House members heard from more constituents in town hall meetings on Tuesday about GOP plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

In Grand Rapids, Mich., the Gerald R. Ford Museum was packed at capacity of 250 people for a town hall meeting with Rep. Justin Amash, MLive reported. Dozens more were outside and a security guard had to push the doors closed.

Sparring Over Price Takes Center Stage
Has first of two confirmation hearings

Rep. Tom Price, seen here meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, faces his first confirmation hearing Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate chamber might be the quietest place in Washington this week (except for the House chamber).

The Senate’s keeping the floor lights dimmed until inauguration morning on Friday, and the Senate GOP is forgoing the usual weekly media stakeout by the Ohio Clock in the Capitol, citing extra access restrictions this week.

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.