Medicaid

McConnell Opens Door to Health Care Vote Next Week

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is pushing hard on his legislation to rework the U.S. health insurance system. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate leaders are preparing to hold a vote on an alternative to the 2010 health care law next week, although 50 Republicans have not confirmed they would vote for the proposal.

“It is the Leader’s intention to consider Graham-Cassidy on the floor next week,” Don Stewart, a spokesman for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said Wednesday in an email.

Republicans Cast Aside Previous Concerns in Latest Repeal Effort
Senators cite the flexibility included in the proposal as justification for the reversal

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., is one of several GOP lawmakers who have expressed serious concerns about the impact of prior GOP proposals to repeal the 2010 health care law. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican senators face the prospect of retreating from their previous public stances in order to support fast-moving legislation that would significantly overhaul the U.S. health care system.

Concerns about the impact on people suffering from opioid addiction, drastic cuts to Medicaid and the lack of robust analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office appear to have vanished as the GOP hopes to advance a bill to repeal the 2010 health care law before the fast-track budget reconciliation mechanism they are using expires on Sept. 30.

Opinion: The Fatal Flaw for Republicans in Graham-Cassidy
Bill’s passage would make health care dominant issue in 2018 midterms

The Republicans’ latest attempt to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law is reminiscent of “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Shapiro writes. (Painting by Richard Caton Woodville/Wikimedia Commons)

The Republicans’ latest drive to repeal Obamacare is reminiscent of a poetry fragment from Tennyson’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade”: “Theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why.”

Whatever happens with the bill likely slated to reach the Senate floor next week, it is hard to escape the feeling that this wild charge will end badly for the Republicans.

Bipartisan Health Care Talks Shut Down Amid Rush to Repeal
Talks by Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray sidelined

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has halted a bipartisan effort to stabilize the health insurance market as Senate Republicans aggressively seek to repeal the 2010 health care law. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A bipartisan effort to stabilize the health insurance markets suffered a potentially fatal blow Tuesday as Senate Republicans kicked into high gear their attempt to repeal the 2010 health care law.

Facing a Sept. 30 deadline to utilize the 2017 budget reconciliation process that would allow passage of the health care legislation without having to worry about the filibuster, GOP leaders and Vice President Mike Pence lobbied their rank and file to pass legislation spearheaded by Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. It would repeal the 2010 law’s mandates for coverage, curtail the Medicaid program and block-grant money to the states to construct their own health care programs. 

Single Payer Democrats: Save Obamacare Now, Single Payer Later
Comes as Cassidy-Graham revives Republican hopes of repeal

Democratic senators who threw their support behind single-payer health care last week are prioritizing the 2010 health care law as Republicans take one more crack at repealing it.

At an event with Democratic senators and liberal activists, independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who sponsored the single-payer bill, criticized Republicans for trying to ram through a health care proposal from Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Dean Heller of Nevada and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

Lawmakers Push Broad Review of Equifax Security
Democrats cite precedence of reaction to OPM data breach

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown wants Equifax to offer 10 years of free credit monitoring to those affected by the breach. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers are responding to credit-reporting company Equifax’s loss of data on up to 143 million customers with a flurry of proposed legislation, demands for explanations, hearings and calls for regulators to investigate.

Democrats are leading the charge on legislation and investigations while Republicans join in with demands for an explanation from the company and with plans to hold hearings. Members of both parties are seeking details of Equifax’s work for government agencies. Democrats are also trying to pressure Republicans to be at least as tough on Equifax as they were with a government agency that suffered its own breach.

Opioid Epidemic Continues to Ravage the Midwest
Despite congressional action, counties find it hard to keep up

Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin points to difficulties facing rural populations in getting access to opioid addiction treatment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. — Despite action by Congress to address the opioid addiction epidemic, hard-hit areas of the country like this one in the Midwest are finding it difficult to keep up with the fallout from the unfolding situation.

In July, here in Wisconsin’s Jackson County, for instance, 34 children who were taken out of their homes, many a result of a parent’s opioid addiction, remained in foster care. 

Governors Ask Congress to Help Stabilize Health Care Market
Chief executives add voice to congressional debate

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, is among the state chief executives calling on Congress to pass a bipartisan measure to stabilize the individual health insurance markets. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Governors are calling for multiyear funding for cost-sharing payments and for federal assistance to launch reinsurance programs as part of a bipartisan measure to stabilize the individual insurance market.

The conversation among governors and senators in a Sept. 7 hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee echoed what insurance commissioners told the same panel earlier in the week about how to bring stability to the individual insurance market before the fifth open enrollment period.

Conservatives Lay Down Marker on Debt Ceiling
House GOP groups critical of Trump-Dem deal

Conservatives like Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, left and Mark Meadows, R-N.C., right, are signaling what they would need to support an increase in the debt limit. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Leaders from the House’s two main conservative caucuses said Thursday that they would not back the debt ceiling agreement President Donald Trump reached with Democrats this week and offered some tips on how to earn their support when the ceiling will need to be raised again in December.

Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker of North Carolina wrote a letter Thursday to Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., informing him his group, comprised of 153 GOP House members, is opposed to the deal Trump and congressional leaders announced to attach three-month extensions of the debt limit and current government funding levels to a hurricane relief measure.

Opinion: Puncturing the Happy-Talk Illusion of a Balanced Budget
A little honesty might help Democrats and Republicans

Voters should not fall for congressional rhetoric on the need to balance the federal budget, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The return of Congress means that the next few months will be boom times for Capitol Hill speechwriters as they tap into a gusher of cliches about the need to balance the federal budget.

From droning floor speeches to syncopated press conferences, the Hill will be alive with apocalyptic rhetoric as the national debt approaches $20 trillion.