Medicare

Democrats Spin McConnell Entitlement Comments Into Political Messaging
McConnell says Republicans cannot tackle program on their own but Democrats warn of GOP action

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., says a vote for the GOP is a vote to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, spinning Senate Majority McConnell’s comments that Republicans can’t execute that goal on their own. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats are spinning comments Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently made on overhauling entitlements to craft a political message that electing Republicans will lead to cuts in safety net programs. 

“Sen. McConnell gave the game up in his comment yesterday,” Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said on a press call Wednesday. “It was very clear from what he said that a vote for Republican candidates in this election is a vote to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. That’s what he said.”

Democratic Unity on Budget Faces Tests in New Congress
What flavor of nationalized health care can the party agree to — if any?

Progressive Democrats of America holds a news conference to announce the launch of a Medicare for All Caucus at the Capitol on Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If voters give Democrats control of the House in November, they’ll get a chance to write the first left-leaning budget blueprint since 2009 in that chamber.

That would give Democrats an opportunity to show through the tax and spending blueprint how they want to address rising deficits, insolvency projections for social safety net programs, and get a jump on their 2020 message.

Porter Knocks Walters on GOP Tax Overhaul in Joint TV Ad With DCCC
Walters voted for the bill, while some other California Republicans opposed it

California Democrat Katie Porter is challenging GOP Rep. Mimi Walters in the 45th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Democrat Katie Porter is going on offense against Republican Rep. Mimi Walters, launching a new television ad highlighting the congresswoman’s support for last year’s GOP tax overhaul and tying her to President Donald Trump. 

Walters, who’s in her second term representing California’s 45th District,  backed the GOP tax measure, which some of her fellow Golden State Republicans opposed because it limited the deductions for state and local taxes. And now Porter is highlighting that vote in a negative spot, which is a joint ad with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

GOP Ad Defends Rep. David Joyce on Health Care Protections
Ad doubles down on strategy to run Republican as health care centrist

Rep. David Joyce, R-Ohio, who has voted with his party multiple times to repeal the 2010 health care law, is depicted as a centrist on the issue in an ad released Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group supporting Rep. David Joyce is releasing an ad Tuesday touting the Ohio Republican’s commitment to “protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions.”

The $125,000 ad buy from Defending Main Street, the political arm of the Republican Main Street Partnership, doubles down on Joyce’s campaign strategy of painting the candidate as an independent voice who has bucked his party on health care and who has “stood up to President Trump.” 

Trump PAC Spends More Defending Texas House Seat Than Any Race This Cycle
America First Action has spent $2.6 million to help longtime GOP Rep. Pete Sessions keep his seat

Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, speaks with reporters as he leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The top super PAC aligned with President Donald Trump is releasing another ad Tuesday in Texas’ 32nd District, where longtime GOP Rep. Pete Sessions is facing arguably his toughest test for re-election yet against Democrat Colin Allred.

America First Action, the super PAC promoting candidates who support the president’s agenda, has sunk $2.6 million into defending Sessions’ seat. That’s the most the PAC has spent on any race this cycle.

Fiscal 2018 Deficit Clocks In at $779 Billion, White House Reports
Largest hole in six years, executive branch finds

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney testifies before a House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee hearing in Rayburn Building on the FY2019 Budget for OMB on April 18, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The federal government ran a $779 billion deficit in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the largest budget shortfall in six years, the White House reported Monday.

The official deficit tally for fiscal 2018 marked a $113 billion increase from the previous year and accounted for 3.9 percent of gross domestic product, an increase of 0.4 percentage points. The report confirms the third consecutive fiscal year of rising deficits despite a strong economy. 

Words and Deeds Can Come Back to Haunt Incumbents in Tight Races
Yoder, McCaskill and others face attacks on past votes, policy positions

Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., now finds himself in a “Tilts Democratic” race in Kansas’ 3rd District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Incumbency comes with benefits, but in a throw-the-bums-out kind of year, it also offers sitting lawmakers one potential major disadvantage on the campaign trail: a voting record on Capitol Hill.

Political opponents can, and do, weaponize one vote, one position on a hot-button policy such as health care, tax or immigration. They might target a pattern of partisanship or, more importantly this year, support for an unpopular president.

Health Care Exchange Premiums Dip, Finally
After steep increases in 2017 and 2018, states on the exchanges see a decline of 1.5 percent

Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, says the lower premiums are “encouraging,” but that the health care law is set up to fail over time. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Health insurance premiums in the 39 states that use HealthCare.gov will fall 1.5 percent on average for the most commonly purchased plans in 2019, marking the first time that rates have dropped since the 2010 health care law was implemented.

The decline is a significant departure from steep increases in 2017 and 2018. Premiums for HealthCare.gov plans grew by an average of 37 percent for plans this year, after rising by 25 percent the year before, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Thursday.

New York Race Spotlights National Clash Over Health Care
Issue has shaped 19th District race between Faso and Delgado

Protesters stand outside of GOP Rep. John Faso’s Kingston, N.Y. office on Sept. 21. (Bridget Bowman/CQ Roll Call)

KINGSTON, N.Y. — When Republicans tried to repeal the 2010 health care law last year, Democrats knew they had an issue that would define this election cycle. A year and a half later, health care is still dominating Democratic messaging.

Take New York’s 19th District, which stretches  where GOP freshman John J. Faso faces Democratic lawyer Antonio Delgado. 

What’s Missing in the Health Care Debate?
By focusing on costs, we ignore the issues of health care quality and innovation

The push for single-payer health care ignores the impact it would have on innovation, Winston writes. Above, a Bernie Sanders staffers sets up for an event to introduce the senator’s “Medicare for All” legislation last year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — The drumbeat on the left for single-payer health care is getting louder, pushed by Democratic luminaries and congressional hopefuls, all trying to make it a major issue this fall. 

That’s no surprise. Health care as a political and policy issue has been a front-burner concern for almost a decade, with both parties failing to find a solution that addresses access, quality and affordability.