Medicaid Work Debate Gets a Tennessee Twist
Federal government would need to sign off on state proposal

Tennessee has proposed using federal dollars from the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to pay for its Medicaid work mandate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A growing number of mostly Republican-led states are itching to create work requirements for people on Medicaid, but finding a way to pay for it could prove challenging.

In Tennessee, lawmakers want to add a Medicaid work mandate, but only if they can use federal — not state — dollars to make it happen. And they think there may be a way to do just that.

Opinion: To Reinvent Rural Health Care, Ditch the ‘One-Size-Fits-All’ Model
Geography shouldn’t be an impediment to quality care

A man waits at a mobile clinic in Olean, New York, in June 2017. Rural communities should be given the flexibility to figure out a health care delivery system that works for them, Dorgan and Krutsick write. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

As policymakers grapple over how to best deliver quality, affordable health care, they cannot ignore the unique challenges faced by the 46 million Americans living in rural areas.

Not only do rural residents rank worse than their urban counterparts on many health metrics such as obesity, tobacco usage and suicides, their communities also face shortages of health care workers and geographic challenges that make it more difficult to address these concerns.

Senate Panel Unveils Draft Bill to Combat Opioid Addiction
HELP Committee expected to discuss legislation next week

The Senate HELP Committee, led by Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander and Washington’s Patty Murray, has already held six hearings on the opioid crisis so far this Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate health panel on Wednesday released a discussion draft intended to curb opioid addiction. The development comes as other House and Senate committees also prepare legislation.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee plans to discuss this legislation at an upcoming hearing on April 11. The panel has already held six hearings on the opioid crisis so far this Congress featuring representatives from agencies including the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as governors from states affected by the crisis.

Veteran Indicted for Threatening LoBiondo and Staffers
Was unhappy with his VA health care, threatened a ‘bloodbath’

A constituent of Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo, R-N.J., was indicted for threatening the congressman and his staffers. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A veteran who was unhappy with his health care was indicted on Wednesday after threatening to kill New Jersey Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo.

Joseph Brodie of Millville, New Jersey, was indicted for threatening LoBiondo and two staff members after making a “series of demands,” USA Today reported.

Shulkin Won’t Say Trump’s Doctor Is Qualified to Lead VA
Ousted secretary touts only Ronny Jackson’s ‘values’

President Donald Trump's doctor Ronny Jackson speaks during a White House press briefing on Jan. 16. Jackson gave Trump a glowing health assessment that day and now is his expected nominee to take over as VA secretary. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

Ousted Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin on Friday would not say Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump’s military doctor and pick to replace him, is qualified for the position.

Shulkin said Jackson, a Navy rear admiral who has no command or management experience, has the “right values” to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. But during an interview on MSNBC he stopped short of calling Jackson qualified to bring about the reforms needed to repair the agency and improve military veterans’ care.

Shulkin Out as VA Secretary, White House Physician Tapped to Replace Him
Move follows latest string of West Wing, Cabinet departures

Rear Adm. Ronny L. Jackson, seen here at a January press briefing, is President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace David Shulkin as Veterans Affairs secretary. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday evening on Twitter that he has fired embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and will nominate his military physician, Adm. Ronny L. Jackson, to replace him.

Jackson is a rear admiral in the Navy, and has appeared at the White House briefing room podium in his uniform. He gave Trump a clean bill of health after his latest physical. He also was the military physician for former President Barack Obama and served in the 2003 Iraq War as an emergency medicine physician.

Overview: Where the Omnibus Money Is Going
Congress last week passed a $1.3 trillion government spending bill

Last week Congress passed, and the president signed, a 12-bill omnibus spending package that funds the government through September. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ignoring President Donald Trump’s budget request in some cases, lawmakers last week passed a fiscal 2018 omnibus spending package with a discretionary funding level of $1.29 trillion — 10 percent higher than fiscal 2017 thanks to the budget agreement reached last month.

Here’s a look at how the enacted omnibus, previously proposed spending levels by the House and Senate, and the president’s FY18 request stack up:

Analysis: The Art of the ‘Omni-Bluff’
Even GOP sources gripe about Trump’s failed veto threat

President Donald Trump gestures at the omnibus spending bill at a Friday news conference at the White House. He signed the measure despite threatening earlier to veto it. Also pictured, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Vice President Mike Pence. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump cried wolf on Friday, signing a massive omnibus spending bill after threatening to veto it, and got nothing in return. Call it the art of the non-bluff.

While Trump and his White House continued Tuesday to deal with reports of a brief affair with a porn actress and her allegations of physical threats and then a payment to remain quiet, current and former White House and congressional aides warn that his “omni-bluff” will have deeper consequences.

Analysis: Omnibus Bill Signals Policy Areas Congress Will Punt On
Immigration, health insurance and shielding the special counsel among items left out

Members of the House exit the Capitol down the House steps after passing the omnibus spending package. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congress appears ready to delay action indefinitely on a number of pressing policy issues.

The 2018 omnibus spending bill could be the last major legislative package to advance this year, a reality that spurred members in both chambers to lobby leadership to attach their pet project legislation to it.

Bipartisan Health Care Compromise Falls Apart, Obamacare Battle Continues

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., left, and Rep. Ryan Costello, R-Pa., conduct a news conference in the Capitol on legislation to lower health insurance premiums for citizens who pay out of pocket on March 21, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The politics of health care reared its ugly head yet again.

A grand, bipartisan bargain to stabilize the U.S. individual insurance market fell apart this week. And members on both sides of the aisle turned to what they know best: blaming the other party.