Human Services

Democrats Blast Nielsen’s Family Separation ‘Lie’ as Outrage Intensifies
DHS secretary says ‘we do not have a policy of separating families at the border’

U.S. Border Patrol agents take groups of Central American asylum-seekers into custody last week near McAllen, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Democrats in Congress accused Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen of lying amid intensifying outrage over a Trump administration policy requiring border agents to separate migrant children from their parents.

Several members of Congress called Nielsen out after she tweeted Sunday evening “we do not have a policy of separating families at the border.”

Opinion: Work Requirements Don’t Actually Work
They do nothing to reduce poverty or address the underlying economic inequality

Demonstrators at a news conference with faith leaders on Capitol Hill on May 7. A growing body of social science research shows that work requirements do nothing to reduce poverty, DeLauro and Sánchez write. (Sarah Silbiger /CQ Roll Call file photo)

Under the guise of “promoting work” and “reform,” the Trump administration and congressional Republicans are seeking radical changes to the way we fight poverty in America.

Let us not be fooled, Republican proposals that tie strict so-called work requirements to anti-poverty programs are designed to make it harder for people to access basic services such as health care, nutrition and housing.

For Some in Congress, the Opioid Crisis Is Personal
Lawmakers share the stories behind their efforts to combat the epidemic

Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson lost his grandson to an opioid overdose. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As drug overdoses climb — rising 12 percent between October 2016 and October 2017 — Congress has floated dozens of proposals to combat opioid abuse.

Some lawmakers have deeply personal connections to the epidemic of addiction in America. These are their stories.

Congress’ Focus on Opioids Misses Larger Crisis
‘All the bills are tinkering around the edges,’ one health official says

Targeting prescription opioids puts Congress years behind the crisis, which is largely driven by illicit nonprescription drugs. Above, heroin users at a New York City park in May. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

By SANDHYA RAMAN, ANDREW SIDDONS and MARY ELLEN McINTIRE

Congress faced a startling public health and political problem throughout 2016 as the number of people dying from opioid addiction climbed. The number of Americans succumbing to drug overdoses more than tripled between 1999 and 2015, affecting a whiter and more geographically diverse population than previous drug crises. Lawmakers ultimately approved some modest policies aimed at curbing prescription drug abuse and provided $1 billion to support state efforts.

Medicare Finances Worsen but Social Security Projections Stable
Changes by Congress to tax law, entitlements affect projections

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was among the senior administration officials outlining the annual report on the health of the Medicare and Social Security systems. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Social Security system is in almost the same shape as last year for its retirement benefits and in a better position for its disability benefits, the program’s trustees reported Tuesday. But a separate report for Medicare paints a somewhat bleaker outlook for the giant health program for seniors and people with disabilities, estimating that its hospital trust fund will dry up in 2026 — three years earlier than last year’s projections.

Medicare’s board of trustees attributed the change, in part, to lower payroll taxes and higher-than-expected health care spending in 2017.

Childhood Cancer Measure Nears Bipartisan Win
Advocates had concerns over congressional, White House prioritizing Right to Try

Childhood cancer groups are pleased with the progress of the measure President Donald Trump is on the verge of signing. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Groups who push for progress against childhood cancer see President Donald Trump’s imminent signing of a bill to enhance research in the field as a significant win after they grew frustrated with Congress and the administration’s pursuit of higher-profile legislation to expand access to experimental treatments.

The cancer legislation would let the Health and Human Services Department set up demonstration projects for childhood cancer survivors. Even after successful treatment, these patients can experience effects from their cancer, such as cardiovascular issues, intellectual handicaps and emotional trauma.

Opinion: Home Is Where the Heart Is (and the Lungs and Liver)
We’ve learned that housing shapes our health. Now it’s time for HHS and HUD to work together

Rene Conant packs up his camp in Los Angeles on Jan. 24, 2017. As we discover more about how housing shapes our health, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Health and Human Services need to work in tandem, Ho and Ventimiglia write. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

Young or old, if you live in unsafe housing, or live without housing, you’re more likely to get sick or injured. A growing body of evidence has made it perfectly clear — our housing affects our health.

Now we need to act on that knowledge. While efforts over the years have tried to link up Housing and Urban Development programs with Health and Human Services, the two agencies still aren’t in sync. And neither can tackle this alone.

Trump: CEOs Will Announce ‘Voluntary’ Drug Price Drops Soon
President signs bill allowing terminally ill to get experimental medicines

President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a campaign rally on April 28 in Washington, Michigan. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump said pharmaceutical industry executives have been summoned to the White House to announce “voluntary, massive drops in prices.”

He said the CEOs will deliver that news in a few weeks, contending the alleged reduction in drug costs is the product of pressure applied by his administration.

Analysis: Pelosi, Clinton Factor Big in Trump’s Midterm Strategy
President tries to lend a hand in Senate race that Democrat leads over GOP’s Blackburn

President Donald Trump arrives for a rally at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium for a rally for GOP Senate candidate Rep. Marsha Blackburn. Polls indicate a tight race with former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump showed a few cards in his midterm election hand Tuesday night, trying to attach a competitive Democratic Senate candidate to Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton in a state he easily won.

The Republican president did call his party’s candidate for the Senate seat being vacated by GOP Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, “a great woman.” And he brought her on stage to say a few words, during which she opted to praise him. But for the most part, Trump’s message in Nashville was all about Trump, in a preview of the rallies he plans across the country where close races will decide which party controls the House and Senate for the rest of his current term.

Opinion: ‘Spider-Man’ Would Never Fly in Donald Trump’s America
What if Mamoudou Gassama had pulled off his heroic balcony rescue in the United States?

French President Emmanuel Macron meets with Mamoudou Gassama, a migrant from Mali, to thank him for scaling a building to save a toddler. Such a hero would receive a much different welcome in Donald Trump’s America, Shapiro writes. (Thibault Camus/AP)

In this world of woe, it may have been the most inspiring news story of the last few days. An immigrant from Mali, in France with dubious papers, clambered up four stories of a Parisian building in defiance of gravity to rescue a small child who was dangling from a balcony.

Despite anti-immigrant feelings in France, President Emmanuel Macron granted the unlikely hero (now dubbed “Spider-Man”) legal residency and a quick path to citizenship. He also received a presidential recommendation for a job with the Paris fire department.