Health Care

Rep. Will Hurd ‘honored’ to shave constituent’s head
Lisa Sanders, who lost her daughter in 2007 to a brain tumor, ‘braved the shave’ for cancer research fundraiser

Rep. Will Hurd shaves Lisa Sanders' head at a fundraiser for childhood cancer research on Tuesday. (Courtesy St. Baldrick's Foundation)

Rep. Will Hurd helped a hometown hero “brave the shave” Tuesday at a fundraiser for childhood cancer research.

The Texas Republican shaved the head of Lisa Sanders from Helotes, Texas, at a “46 Mommas” event hosted by St. Baldrick's Foundation — a volunteer- and donor-powered charity focused on curing childhood cancer, according to its website.

Congress is Trump’s best hope for drug pricing action
But divisions remain between Republicans and Democrats, House and Senate

The administration will need congressional help to take action this year on drug prices. (File photo)

An upcoming Senate bill is the Trump administration’s best hope for a significant achievement before next year’s election to lower prescription drug prices, but a lot still needs to go right for anything to become law.

Despite the overwhelming desire for action, there are still policy gulfs between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, and another gap between the Senate and the House. And the politics of the moment might derail potential policy agreements. Some Democrats might balk at settling for a drug pricing compromise that President Donald Trump endorsed.

Health care continues to define, divide 2020 Democratic field
As candidates debate plans and GOP preps attacks, some early voters just tuning in

Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden said he would build on the 2010 health insurance overhaul enacted by President Barack Obama instead of creating a new system, a clear line of demarcation between him and several other Democrats running for the nomination. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Declaring that “starting over makes no sense,” former Vice President Joe Biden said Monday that he would build on Democrats’ signature 2010 health insurance overhaul and that plans offered by rivals for the presidential nomination would reverse gains made under President Barack Obama.

Biden released his plan ahead of a speech that Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is to give Wednesday to promote a government-run “Medicare for All” system. It is the first of several forums hosted by AARP in Iowa, where 2020 hopefuls will talk about how to lower prescription drug prices.

House to vote on health care ‘Cadillac tax’ repeal
Surcharge on certain high-cost employer health plans was envisioned as a way to pay for Obamacare law

Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., sponsored the repeal bill, which has been a priority for both the insurance industry and labor unions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House plans to vote Wednesday on legislation that would roll back the so-called “Cadillac tax” under the 2010 health care law known as Obamacare.

The 40 percent surcharge tax applies to certain high-cost employer health care plans (hence the “Cadillac tax” nickname). It isn’t set to take effect until 2022, and Congress has twice delayed its implementation.

Papaya outbreak highlights FDA’s food safety challenge
‘Inability to track and trace foods with speed or precision’ is agency’s ‘Achilles’ heel’

Salmonella infections caused by contaminated papayas highlight the challenges Food and Drug Administration officials face in fighting foodborne illness. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Salmonella infections caused by contaminated papayas highlight the challenges federal officials face in fighting foodborne illness, as a law from nearly a decade ago meant to modernize the food safety system is starting to show its age. 

The Food and Drug Administration is trying to bring its efforts to track and prevent outbreaks in line with the technology now at its disposal. But because spending for next year is uncertain, Congress could make it difficult for the agency.

Pelosi: Extra veterans health care funds needed in debt deal
Letter to Mnuchin opens new front in talks to raise debt limit and 2020 spending caps

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that funds for veterans health care should be included in any deal to raise the debt ceiling and spending caps. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Saturday pressing for added funds to help veterans see private doctors as part of any deal to raise the debt ceiling and tight appropriations caps.

Pelosi’s letter opens a new front in the talks as congressional leaders and the White House head into high-stakes negotiations with little time remaining before the August recess.

Court allows administration family planning rule
The move is a blow to Planned Parenthood and abortion rights groups

Court ruling will likely please anti-abortion groups seeking to restrict funding for abortion providers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said Thursday it would allow a Trump administration rule to take effect that would prohibit certain providers like Planned Parenthood from being eligible for federal family planning funds.

The move is a blow to abortion rights groups that have been fighting the policy in court. The Health and Human Services rule would prevent any provider of abortions or abortion referrals from qualifying for federal family planning funding under the program known as Title X.

As other Democratic candidates close in on Biden, Trump tries to ‘soften up the front-runner’
President calls former VP a ‘reclamation project’ after sluggish debate performance

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s sluggish performance at last month’s Democratic debate has not escaped President Donald Trump’s notice. (Getty Images file photos/Composition by Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic White House front-runner Joe Biden has slipped in the polls, but President Donald Trump has only intensified his attempts to discredit and disqualify the former vice president.

In the last five days alone, the president has dubbed his potential 2020 rival “sleepy” and “a reclamation project,” suggesting in one tweet that “some things are just not salvageable.” He has asserted that China and other countries are “begging” for a President Biden so they can get back to trade tactics that “ripped us off for years.”

‘I learned to inject oranges with insulin syringes’: Victor Garber on Type 1 diabetes
Familiar face from ‘Titanic’ urges Congress to renew research funding

Actor Victor Garber, who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 11, testifies during a Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing in the Dirksen Building on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If you ever went to the movies in the ’90s or the early aughts, you may recognize Victor Garber as the “bad guy” from “Legally Blonde” or “the ship designer” from “Titanic,” but on Wednesday the award-winning actor came to Capitol Hill with a script that was a little more personal.

Garber says he’s lived with Type 1 diabetes for nearly 60 years. Joined by kid-advocates with the disease, he urged Chairwoman Susan Collins and ranking member Bob Casey of the Senate Special Committee on Aging to renew the Special Diabetes Program at the National Institutes of Health.

Trump unveils sweeping goals on kidney disease
Executive order aims to improve quality and cut costs by refocusing care on prevention

President Donald Trump arrives for a rally in Montoursville, Pa., on May 20, 2019. Trump on Wednesday outlined an agenda to improve preventive treatment of kidney disease. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump outlined an agenda to improve preventive treatment of kidney disease Wednesday, zeroing in on a condition that afflicts more than 30 million Americans and costs more than $100 billion in annual Medicare spending.

The executive order Trump signed aims to improve quality and cut costs by refocusing care on prevention. The initiative’s overarching goals are to reduce the number of new patients with end-stage renal disease by 25 percent by 2030, and to have 80 percent of ESRD patients either receiving in-home dialysis or transplants by 2025.

Federal appeals court questions legality of Obamacare insurance mandate
Case has high stakes for health care law’s future

Senate and House Democrats hold a Tuesday news conference on the Senate steps on health care coverage of preexisting conditions. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

A three-judge panel on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals suggested during a Tuesday hearing it might uphold at least part of a lower court ruling to strike down the 2010 health care law.

Two judges, both appointed by Republican presidents, questioned the constitutionality of the law’s requirement that most Americans get health care coverage. A third, appointed by Democratic President Jimmy Carter, stayed silent throughout the nearly two-hour oral argument hearing in New Orleans, which follows a December decision by federal Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas calling for the law to be struck down.

States grapple with Medicaid work requirements
The path to implementing work requirements has been tricky and controversial

Protesters gathered when Congress tried to make funding adjustments to the Medicaid program. Now states are starting to make changes by adding work requirements. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

State action to implement work requirements into their Medicaid programs is heating up, as some states roll out their programs while others are fighting in court to keep them alive.

New Hampshire announced Monday it would delay suspending any Medicaid coverage until September because of consumers’ noncompliance with the work requirements. Meanwhile, Indiana on July 1 began the first steps of implementing its work requirements. Court action in three other states is expected in the coming months.

Amy McGrath will try to deny Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell another term
Former Marine pilot drew national attention in failed 2018 bid against Rep. Andy Barr

Amy McGrath addresses supporters in Richmond, Kentucky, after her loss to Rep. Andy Barr in 2018. (Jason Davis/Getty Images)

Amy McGrath, a retired Marine fighter pilot whose unsuccessful 2018 House campaign attracted national attention, will challenge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for his Kentucky Senate seat, she announced Tuesday.

The highly anticipated announcement keys up what is likely to be one of the most closely watched and well-funded matchups of the 2020 congressional campaign cycle, although even Democratic supporters have acknowledged that McGrath faces long odds to unseat one of the most powerful members of the GOP.

Road ahead: War powers debate shifts to House
Senate turns back to nominations after brief period of legislating

California Rep. Ro Khanna is leading an amendment to the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act that would block the Trump administration from using military force in Iran without congressional approval. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 5:02 p.m. | Congress could get a second opportunity this week to try and block President Donald Trump from going to war with Iran without congressional approval as the House debates its fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.

The Senate rejected an amendment seeking to add such language to its version of the measure before it left for the July Fourth recess. The overall measure passed 86-8.

High-stakes lawsuit makes health care law a 2020 issue
Court hearing comes as Democrats have been debating their next steps beyond the 2010 law

Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, said if elected, he would want to first focus on ways to stabilize the health coverage law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For all their differences on “Medicare for All,” Democrats will have a chance to rally around the 2010 health care law this week.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit will hear oral arguments in the high-profile Texas v. Azar lawsuit on Tuesday, which could spell the future of the health care law and become a major issue in the 2020 election cycle.