Medicaid

For serious primary voters, the parade of Democratic candidates is no joke
The contender clown car may be overflowing, but voters definitely aren’t laughing

There are too many Democratic presidential contenders to count, but primary voters aren’t throwing in the towel just yet, Curtis writes. When Beto O’Rourke made his Southern swing last weekend, supporters took the time to explain why he stands out from the field. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The number of Democratic hopefuls declaring, thinking about declaring or being pushed to declare their interest in the 2020 race is increasing so rapidly, it has already become a reliable punchline. But for voters looking to discover the person who offers sensible policies on the issues they care about while exuding the intangible “it” quality that could beat Donald Trump, it is serious business.

Forget about what magic the letter “B” might hold — think Bernie, Biden, Beto, Booker, Buttigieg and I know I’m forgetting someone, oh yes, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet — these voters are digging deeper on the candidates who will crowd a debate stage in Miami two nights in a row in June.

The Senate lacks protections for LGBTQ staff. One group is demanding change
Existing laws for legislative branch workers don’t explicitly protect LGBTQ employees

A Senate staffer group is urging offices to adopt policy manuals that include protections for LGBTQ employees from discrimination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Congress considers expanding civil rights to encompass LGBTQ Americans, Senate staffers want their bosses to shore up such protections for the congressional workforce itself. 

In a letter sent April 8, the bipartisan Senate GLASS Caucus urged chamber offices to adopt policy manuals that include protections for LGBTQ employees from discrimination.

‘Medicare for All’ keeps defining 2020 political landscape
Progressive health care plan could become point of contention as campaign heats up

From left, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., at an event Wednesday to introduce the “Medicare for All Act of 2019.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The “Medicare for All” bill that presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders released Wednesday is more likely to be litigated on the campaign trail than in the halls of Congress. And it highlights a rare political divide among Democrats on one of their marquee issues even as the party seeks to appear unified.

Supporters of the Vermont independent are vying with Democrats who prefer to expand and protect the 2010 health care law. Those differences have recently been overshadowed by larger fights between the two parties after the Trump administration broadened its position in a high-profile lawsuit by calling to strike down the entire 2010 law.

Bernie Sanders’ new Medicare for All bill would cover some long-term care

Renelsa Caudill, a nurse at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, is greeted by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., after speaking at an event to introduce the “Medicare for All Act of 2019,” in Dirksen Building on Wednesday, April 10, 2019. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., are also pictured. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday released an updated bill to implement a single-payer health insurance system, a politically divisive hallmark of his White House bid.

The unnumbered Senate bill would transition the U.S. health care system to a single-payer system over a four-year transition and eliminate nearly all premiums, co-pays and deductibles. The legislation largely mirrors Sanders’ 2017 proposal, but the new plan also would cover home and community-based long-term care services through an expanded Medicare program, according to a summary. The earlier version would have maintained those services through existing Medicaid benefits.

Democrats probe Trump decision to not defend Obamacare

Attorney General William Barr urged the House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee to let the Obamacare case make its way through the courts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats opened a probe Tuesday into the Trump administration’s decision not to defend the 2010 health care law in a high-profile legal challenge, as Attorney General William Barr urged lawmakers to allow the case to move through the courts.

The chairmen of five House panels sent letters to the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Justice Department seeking documents and communications about how the decision was made earlier this year to only partially defend the health care law in a legal challenge brought by Texas’ attorney general and other conservative state attorneys general.

Legal challenges are threatening Trump administration changes to the ACA
HHS is facing an increasing number of challenges to its changes to the 2010 health care law

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar testifies during a House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing on June 6, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)!

The Trump administration, which has already been defeated in a number of high-profile legal cases, is facing an increasing number of challenges to its changes to the 2010 health care law and women’s health issues.

Just last week, the Justice Department filed a brief arguing that the entire health care law should fall, a position that even some conservative legal scholars call risky. Two days later, on Wednesday, a federal judge struck down the administration’s rules requiring Medicaid recipients to report their work hours to keep their coverage. On Thursday, another judge blocked the administration’s expansion of association health plans, which let small businesses band together to buy insurance and do not have to meet all of the 2010 law’s requirements.

Trump refuses to raise budget caps, complicating his re-election fight
‘Doesn’t sound like a winning position for Republicans,’ former GOP aide says

President Donald Trump speaks on Jan. 4 at the White House, flanked, from left, by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

Democratic lawmakers want to raise caps on federal spending. So do many Republicans. But despite the desires of each party’s congressional leadership, President Donald Trump is refusing to go along, possibly complicating his re-election bid.

In its latest federal spending request, the White House proposed a steep hike in the Pentagon budget for fiscal 2020 — an unsurprising move by a Republican president who has vowed to “rebuild” the U.S. military. But Trump and his team would keep existing spending caps in place.

How is Congress handling opioids? We followed the money
To provide one-time funding is to treat addiction as if it were an acute condition, instead of a chronic one

During a candlelight vigil at the Ellipse in 2017, Tina Rhatigan, right, comforts her sister Terri Zaccone, whose son died of a fentanyl overdose. What began in the 1990s with prescription opioids has evolved into an epidemic driven by heroin and now fentanyl. Federal funds must be flexible enough to keep up, Parekh and LaBelle write. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — Nearly 50,000 people died from an opioid overdose in 2017. Today, Americans are more likely to die from opioid overdoses than car accidents. While the United States is beginning to see a few positive signs that overdose deaths are leveling off, this doesn’t mean we’re even close to ending the epidemic.

Untreated opioid use disorder has numerous consequences, including neonatal abstinence syndrome, the spread of infectious diseases and family separations. These consequences will be with us for years to come. So too should federal investments to address the epidemic, and they should be transparent to policymakers and the public.

By striking at Obamacare, Trump could unravel his own drug pricing proposal
Move could undermine White House messaging on the rising cost of medicines

President Donald Trump outlines his plan to lower the price of prescription drugs during a speech in the White House Rose Garden in May 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

By backing the wholesale repeal of the 2010 health care law, President Donald Trump could unravel his own plan on prescription drug prices and undermine his messaging on an important issue ahead of the 2020 election: the climbing cost of medicines.

Less than two weeks before the midterm elections last year, Trump delivered a proposal to rein in the costs of outpatient drugs by pegging them to the lower prices paid by foreign countries.

Judge blocks Trump’s rule to expand insurance plans that don’t meet ACA requirements
The rule, finalized last year, allows small businesses and the self-employed to band together to buy association health plans

Supporters hold up Save Medicaid signs during the Senate Democrats’ news conference at the Capitol with disability advocates to oppose the Republicans’ Graham-Cassidy health care bill on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration suffered another blow to its health care agenda in federal court on Thursday when a district court judge said a rule to expand insurance plans that do not have to meet all of the requirements under the 2010 health care law is invalid.

U.S. District Judge John D. Bates blocked a rule that was finalized last year that allows small businesses and self-employed people to band together to purchase insurance known as association health plans.