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Melissa Attias


Melissa Attias covers health care policy as a staff writer for CQ Roll Call. Before joining the health team, she reported on social policy legislation moving through Congress and followed House and Senate floor action for CQ's legislative tracking team. She also completed internships at Roll Call newspaper and CQ HealthBeat before the two newsrooms merged.

A graduate of the George Washington University, Melissa earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication and a minor in political science. She grew up in Greensboro, N.C., and currently lives on Capitol Hill.

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Stories by Melissa Attias:

Suspending Obamacare Taxes May Fuel More Calls for Change

Jan. 8, 2016

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

Dec. 11, 2015

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

Dec. 1, 2015

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.

Upton Unsure of Reconciliation for Planned Parenthood Defunding

Sept. 17, 2015

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

Sept. 14, 2015

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

July 21, 2015

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

June 19, 2015

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

April 8, 2015

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

March 3, 2015

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.

“Since the beginning of the year, Republicans in the House and the Senate have been meeting together to come up with a proposal to protect the people who are harmed by the law, but not to protect the law itself,” Barrasso said. “We have a temporary bridge plan to transfer power away from the federal government to the states, to individuals, that provides freedom, flexibility and choice at the local level.”

Barrasso also noted he and other lawmakers would attend oral arguments in the King v. Burwell case tomorrow at the Supreme Court.

Fears of Chaos Mount Over Obamacare Case

Feb. 25, 2015

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

Jan. 30, 2015

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

Jan. 30, 2015

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

Jan. 15, 2015

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

Dec. 12, 2014

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

Dec. 8, 2014

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

Oct. 10, 2014

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

July 16, 2014

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.

CDC Chief Pledges to Improve Safety After Biohazard Lapses

July 16, 2014

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

July 7, 2014

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.

Few Think the FDA Will Reclassify Marijuana

July 7, 2014

Advocates on both sides of the debate over legalizing marijuana are skeptical that the Food and Drug Administration will recommend reclassifying marijuana out of the highest drug schedule and say little would change even if it did.

Pediatric Research Bill Championed by Cantor Signed by Obama

June 11, 2014

A pediatric research bill that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor helped shepherd through the House became law on April 3 after President Barack Obama signed the measure at a ceremony attended by Cantor, other lawmakers and the family of the young girl for which it was named.

Exchange Enrollment Hits 6 Million, Obama Announces

March 27, 2014

President Barack Obama held a conference call Thursday with thousands of supporters who are working to get people enrolled under the health care law so he could personally deliver the news that more than 6 million Americans have signed up through the federal and state exchanges.

Alzheimer's Advocates Fight for Piece of Research Pie

Feb. 3, 2014

Advocates for the roughly 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s and their families had something to cheer when the recent fiscal 2014 spending bill was signed into law. The measure included hard-fought funding to help address the disease at a level that the Alzheimer’s Association called unprecedented.

G-8 Makes Commitments to Address Dementia

Feb. 3, 2014

On Dec. 11, members of the G-8 gathered at a summit in London to discuss an international path forward for addressing dementia. Health representatives from the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States made a number of commitments, including the following:

Will the Supreme Court Take On Contraception Coverage Challenge?

Nov. 18, 2013

While Congress continues to focus on the rocky rollout of the health care overhaul, the Supreme Court is expected to mull over challenges to another piece of the law two days before the justices sit down to their Thanksgiving dinners.

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