Health Care

Robbing the Poor to Pay Paul Ryan’s Pals
Speaker may have powerful ally for assault on Medicaid

Speaker Paul D. Ryan Ryan has another shot at Medicaid with longtime ally Tom Price running the Department of Health and Human Services, Jonathan Allen writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan wants you to know that he cares about the poor. He wants you to know that his deeply held Catholic convictions drive him to seek opportunity for those in poverty, particularly people of color.

He speaks in the compassionate tones of someone who means to help not harm, and I believe that these are his real values, even if I often don’t agree with his policy prescriptions.

Emerging GOP Plan Would Replace Parts of Obamacare as It’s Repealed
Ryan, Walden, Brady present plan that includes provisions that are controversial among some Republicans

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan told reporters Thursday that legislation to repeal the 2010 health care law would be announced after the Presidents Day recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Developing House Republican legislation to repeal the 2010 health care law would also include replacement provisions that are controversial among the GOP rank and file, like a refundable tax credit to help individuals purchase insurance and a plan for dealing with Medicaid expansion.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden, and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady on Thursday presented to the House Republican Conference their vision for a “repeal plus” bill that would undo most of the health care law and set up some pieces of a yet undeveloped Republican replacement. 

Ted Cruz Wants to Repeal Obamacare Now, Then Work Out Replacement Details
Texas Republican says they must 'honor the promise we've made to voters for six years running now'

Sen. Ted Cruz wants quick action on the Obamacare repeal bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Even no with no consensus replacement for Obamacare in sight, Sen. Ted Cruz is pushing for action on the repeal long promised by Republicans.

“What I think is critical at the outset is that we honor the promise we've made to voters for six years running now to repeal Obamacare. We've had three elections — 2010, 2014 and 2016 — that were referenda on repealing Obamacare, and we need to honor that promise,” Cruz said. “Once Obamacare’s repealed, then we need common sense health care reform that expands choices, that lowers prices, and empowers patients to make their own health care decisions."

Pro-Pot Lawmakers to Join Forces, Launch Cannabis Caucus
Move comes amid uncertainty for state marijuana laws under Trump

Inventory including “Merry N’Berry” on display at the medical marijuana dispensary Takoma Wellness Center, in Washington, D.C. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers looking to draw attention to pet issues have formed groups in favor of everything from auto care to zoos. Now, there’s a caucus for cannabis. 

Rep. Earl Bluemenauer said the move — to be announced at a press conference Thursday — is a sign of how mainstream the drive for marijuana legalization has become.

Conservatives Rally Around Their Own Health Care Plan
Obamacare replacement plan might make GOP consensus more difficult

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows speaks as South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford listens during the caucus’ news conference on Wednesday on health care law replacement legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Conservative Republicans on Wednesday staked out their position on a proposed replacement to the 2010 health care law. But their views are likely to muddle the path toward GOP consensus.

The House Freedom Caucus endorsed legislation authored by one of its members, Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

Effort to End D.C. Assisted-Death Law Appears Over

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., is administered an oath by Vice President Joe Biden during swearing-in ceremony in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, January 03, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The congressional effort to overturn a District of Columbia law allowing doctors to prescribe terminally ill patients with life-ending drugs appears likely to fail, two of the lawmakers involved in the effort said Tuesday.

On Monday, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform approved a resolution to overturn the law, potentially setting it up for a House floor vote later this week. However, under the laws governing congressional involvement in D.C. lawmaking, Congress only has 30 days from the time the District submits its bills to pass disapproval resolution with a simple majority of votes. In this case, the Senate deadline is this Friday.

For the GOP, a Dangerous Gamble on the All-Important Town Hall
Old-school constituent connections work best, but the anger is proving tough to withstand

Police escort California Rep. Tom McClintock through a town-hall audience in Roseville, California, last Saturday. (Randall Benton/The Sacramento Bee via AP)

Consider 10 and 19 as two more figures that help illustrate the risky congressional Republican strategies of passivity, defensiveness and avoidance during the first month of the Trump administration.

Ten is the total number of GOP lawmakers who have town hall meetings scheduled next week, the longest period Congress will be back home since the inauguration.  

Ep. 41: Town Hall Voter Anger May Force GOP to Stall Obamacare Repeal

As they head back into their states and districts next week, lawmakers could continue to face angry voters at town halls over repealing the Affordable Care Act, says CQ Roll Call’s political reporter Simone Pathé and health reporter Erin Mershon. This and fear of a backlash in the 2018 election, they explain, could further delay any action on the GOP’s six-year quest to repeal Obamacare.

Ambitious House Agenda on Medicaid Could Stall in Senate
GOP senators doubt changes could gain traction in upper chamber

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said he thinks there might not be enough “political will” for a major Medicaid overhaul. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators are warning that major changes to the Medicaid program may not survive the upper chamber, despite an aggressive push from House Speaker Paul D. Ryan to include a substantial overhaul of the program in the Republican measure to repeal the health care law.

In the House, Ryan and House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden are pushing their colleagues to consider major Medicaid changes on a repeal bill this spring. Those include funding mechanisms like so-called block grants and per capita caps or a cap on Medicaid enrollment for states that expanded the program under the health care law, according to House aides.

Coffman Promises Constituents No Repeal of Obamacare Without Replacement
Colorado Republican schedules 'listening tour’ in his district over ACA

Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Nov. 30, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Colorado Republican Rep. Mike Coffman promised constituents that there would be no repeal of Obamacare without a replacement while others in his party are pressing for Congress to do the opposite.

House Poised to Block D.C. Suicide Law but Senate May Not Act
Oversight committee approves resolution overturning the law

Ohio Rep. Brad Wenstrup introduced the resolution to overturn the District of Columbia’s assisted suicide law. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Monday approved a resolution to overturn a District of Columbia law that would allow doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients who request them. The 22-14 vote was the culmination of an emotional markup that pitted Democratic support for local governance against the Republican majority’s assertion of congressional power over D.C. law.

The D.C. law is similar to those in five other states and requires the physician to assert that the patient is mentally competent, along with other safeguards, before the drugs are administered. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed it into law in December after an 11-2 council vote.

Tom Price Becomes Leader of Crusade to Roll Back Obamacare
Georgia congressman confirmed overnight as Health and Human Services secretary

Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., nominee for Health and Human Services secretary, testifies at his Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Buildinglast month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Confirmation of Rep. Tom Price gives President Donald Trump his desired point man for replacing Obamacare. Now what?

Price won approval of the Senate, 52-47, around 2 a.m. Friday, and Republicans expect the confirmation will speed up work on rolling back the Affordable Care Act.

Sen. Mike Lee: House Proposal to Replace Obamacare a ‘Horrible Idea’
Repeal first, then decide what’s next, Utah Republican says

Utah Sen. Mike Lee dismissed a House proposal to include provisions that would “replace” the 2010 health care law in a repeal measure as “a horrible idea.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

BY ERIN MERSHON AND JOE WILLIAMS, CQ ROLL CALL

Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee on Wednesday criticized a House proposal to include provisions that would “replace” the 2010 health care law in a repeal measure, calling it “a horrible idea.”

CMS Chief Nomination Is Advancing in Vetting Process, HHS Says
Ethics Office expected to announce agreement with Seema Verma

Seema Verma, seen here arriving at Trump Tower in New York last November, was nominated by President Donald Trump to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

The Office of Government Ethics may “very soon” publicly post an agreement with Seema Verma, the Trump administration’s choice to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Health and Human Services Department told CQ Roll Call. The deal would bring her nomination closer to Senate consideration. 

The agreement would address “all potential conflict issues,” HHS spokesman Matt Lloyd said.

White House Pumps Brakes on Obamacare Replacement
Ryan looks to reframe pace set by Trump

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, left, seen here with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, hopes to have replacement legislation for the health care law done by the end of the year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The White House appears to be changing its diagnosis for President Donald Trump signing into law a measure that would replace the 2010 health care law with a Republican-crafted plan.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday would not guarantee that Trump would sign legislation putting in place a GOP-crafted alternative to the health care law this year, saying instead that the president is “optimistic” that will happen.