health care

When celebrity luster gives cover to how America judges its own
Jessye Norman and Diahann Carroll remind us of the unfair burden placed on icons of color

People who hold up the late Jessye Norman, left, or Diahann Carroll as exemplifying America’s promise, that hard work will inevitably lead to reward, ignore the women’s own struggles , Curtis writes. (Gregg DeGuire/WireImage/Getty Images file photos)

OPINION — I am not one of those folks who see celebrities as larger-than-life icons to be worshipped and admired. Usually. But the recent deaths of Jessye Norman and Diahann Carroll hit me in the gut because those two amazing women were at once larger than life and so very real. The reactions to their accomplishments also illustrate an American or perhaps universal trait — the ability to compartmentalize, to place certain citizens of color or underrepresented citizens on a pedestal, at once a part of and apart from others of their race or gender or religion or orientation.

It allows negative judgment of entire groups to exist alongside denials of any racist or discriminatory intent. There are a lot of problems with that way of thinking. It places an unfair burden on the icons, a need to be less a human being than a flawless symbol. And it uses them as a rebuke to others who never managed to overcome society’s obstacles.

Federal health officials propose loosening anti-kickback laws
Both proposals will have a 75-day comment period after they are published in the Federal Register

Supporters hold up Save Medicaid signs in September of 2017. The Trump administration on Wednesday unveiled plans to loosen two anti-corruption laws for doctors. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration on Wednesday unveiled plans to loosen two anti-corruption laws for doctors, in a bid to promote new ways of delivering coordinated health care while attempting to preserve the laws’ core aim of combating fraud and abuse.

Physician groups have long sought changes to the anti-kickback law and the Stark self-referral law, saying the cumbersome rules impede the close provider relationships necessary to pay for health outcomes rather than the volume of services. The laws restrict doctors from accepting payments that induce business under Medicare and from referring patients to other businesses in which they have a financial interest, respectively.

Impeachment looms large in House Democrats’ town halls over recess
Vulnerable freshmen face protests as safe-district incumbents explain process, Trump's offenses

Rep. Max Rose was one of the last Democrats to endorse the Trump impeachment inquiry. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump has been a central concern at town halls for House Democrats across the country, with both safe and vulnerable members of the caucus fielding questions from Trump’s defenders and voters who want him removed from office.

While recent polls suggest that support for impeaching the president has grown over the last three months — 58 percent of respondents to a Washington Post/Schar School poll this week approved of the House’s decision to launch an inquiry — Democrats have used feedback at town halls over the two-week October recess to assess how their constituents feel about the matter.

John Hickenlooper's Senate fundraising outpaces presidential campaign
Former Colorado governor running to take on GOP Sen. Cory Gardner

Former Colorado Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper raised more than $2 million in the third fundraising quarter. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrat John Hickenlooper’s latest fundraising numbers show that the former Colorado governor has caught more attention from donors as a top candidate in a critical Senate race than when he was one of two dozen presidential contenders.

Hickenlooper raised $2.1 million in the more than five weeks he has been running to take on GOP Sen. Cory Gardner, his campaign announced Tuesday. That’s a faster fundraising rate than Hickenlooper posted as a presidential candidate, when four months of effort raised less than $3.2 million. The fundraising numbers were first reported by The Colorado Sun.

Trump aide calls drug price deal possible if impeachment fades
The aide said Democrats were making it harder to achieve the goal while being “distracted” by impeachment

Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy Joe Grogan sits to the left of President Donald Trump in the Cabinet Room at the White House on April 04, 2019. White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council Executive Director Scott Turner sits to Trump’s right. On Monday Grogan said the White House could strike a deal with Democrats on drug prices if the impeachment inquiry ultimately doesn't go anywhere. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s top domestic policy adviser on Monday predicted that the White House could strike a deal with House Democrats on drug prices — if the impeachment inquiry into the president ultimately doesn’t go anywhere.

Domestic Policy Council Director Joe Grogan said House Democrats deserve credit for proposing a drug price bill, which he called ambitious. He said he met last week with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s health care adviser, Wendell Primus, as well as House committee staff, and the two sides had a “great” conversation about the legislation.

Mostly smoke, and little fire, from Republicans to Democrats on impeachment
GOP hasn’t yet launched a credible campaign against 8 of the 13 vulnerable Democrats it is targeting

Republicans are targeting Virginia Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria, center, and other Democrats who are defending districts that President Donald Trump won in 2016 even though no credible candidate has yet to emerge to challenge her. (Screenshot from RNC ad)

ANALYSIS — Republicans are publicly celebrating impeachment as a political boon and trying to hold House Democrats’ feet to the fire with television ads and protests. But without credible challengers, it’s little more than expensive hot air.

Last week, President Donald Trump’s campaign manager bragged about turning up the heat on a freshman Democrat who supports the impeachment inquiry, and the Republican National Committee is on television targeting a dozen Democratic members for supporting it. But in most instances, there’s a lot of smoke and little fire, considering Republicans are still searching for credible candidates in many of the districts.

Vulnerable Democrat gets little heat over impeachment at town hall
Trump predicted that Democrats would face a backlash, but that hasn’t happened

Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia speaks at a town hall at New Hope Baptist Church in Virginia Beach on Thursday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. —Elaine Luria knew that many at the church where she spoke here Thursday night weren’t going like what she had to say about impeachment.

But at her first town hall since she led a group of Republican-targeted Democrats who threw their support behind an inquiry into President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine last week, Luria stood her ground.

‘Metered’ immigrants face long waits at the border
The informal policy can serve as a delaying mechanism, keeping migrants in Mexico before they can legally claim asylum at the border

A metering list outside the Centro de Información y Asistencia a Mexicanos in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, on August 22, 2019. (Jinitzail Hernández, CQ Roll Call)

Besides the Migrant Protection Protocols program, U.S. border agencies have a less formal process to regulate the flow of asylum seekers seeking to cross the U.S.-Mexico border called “metering.”

Under this informal policy, Customs and Border Protection determines each day how many people it can process at each port of entry.

Freshman Democrat: Party must do better job selling health care during impeachment
But Pennsylvania Rep. Susan Wild gets no questions on drug prices at town hall

Rep. Susan Wild, D-PA., holds a town hall meeting at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa. on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Democrats have more work to do to show voters the House is trying to lower drug prices and protect coverage for pre-existing conditions even while it pursues possible impeachment, freshman Rep. Susan Wild told constituents at a town hall meeting Wednesday.

Wild and Democrats like her helped flip control of the House by winning Republican-held seats last year with campaigns focused on health care. She wants to do the same in 2020, but found herself having to try to fit answers about health care into questions about impeachment and other issues at the 90-minute event at Muhlenberg College.

Trump presses China to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden
‘They call that a payoff,’ president says of Biden son’s business dealings in China

Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham and Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley listen as President Donald Trump answers questions on Thursday while departing the White House for a health care policy event in Florida. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump continues to press foreign leaders to investigate one of his top political rivals, Joe Biden, suggesting Thursday that both the Ukrainian and Chinese governments look into the former vice president and his son.

“I would say President [Volodymyr] Zelenskiy, if it was me, I would start an investigation into the Bidens,” Trump told reporters as he departed the White House for a health policy event in Florida. “It’s a very simple answer.”