Sandhya Sandhya

States Face Children’s Health Coverage Uncertainty
Federal funding could soon run out

About two months after federal funding lapsed for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, state officials still don’t know exactly when they’ll run out of money or when Congress will renew funding — leaving families that depend on the program increasingly anxious about their benefits.

At least a few states say that they could exhaust funds as soon as next month. States are growing more concerned about the program with just a few days left on the congressional calendar until December and no signs that lawmakers plan in the immediate future to renew funding. 

Trump to Nominate New HHS Secretary Alex Azar
Former pharmaceutical president vocal Obamacare opponent

President Trump announced on Twitter he plans to nominate Alex Azar to be the next secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Azar will be “a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices,” Trump wrote in his tweet announcing the coming nomination.

House Volleys CHIP Measure to Senate
Issue of offsets to cost are major sticking point

After months of disputes and delays, the House voted Friday to renew funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, community health centers and other public health programs. The legislation passed easily, 242-174, although many Democrats opposed the measure due to disagreements over the offsets.

“Three times at the request of the Democrats, we delayed committee action,” said Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon. “These delays meant Congress went past the deadline of Sept. 30. We cannot wait any longer. Patients cannot wait any longer.”

House GOP Leaders Announce Children’s Health Insurance Vote

Arguments erupted on the House floor Thursday between Republican and Democratic leaders over the prospect of a vote next week on a GOP-only bill to renew funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., announced the bill would be debated next week — a plan opposed by Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md. Democrats have pushed to delay the House bill until an agreement is reached on a bipartisan solution to pay for it.

Senate Committee Advances Children’s Health Care Bill
Only Sen. Toomey spoke out against

The Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday approved by voice vote its bipartisan bill to renew funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Senators withheld amendments in an effort to speed up passage. During the voice vote, only Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., spoke out against the measure.

Rural Areas Brace for Health Care Bill Impact
Senate GOP bill could undermine health insurance coverage

The Senate historically has paid special attention to the needs of rural areas, but as the chamber readies its health care bill, there are concerns that the bill would undermine coverage in those places more than anywhere else.

While the exact text of the Senate bill is not yet posted publicly, all signs point to somewhat similar language to the House bill (HR 1628), which would reduce funding for Medicaid compared to current law and impose caps on Medicaid funding. Under the House bill, older people also would face higher premiums — and rural areas tend to be home to a large number of older Americans.

Schumer Wants All-Senate Gathering on Health Care

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is making public his “dismay” at Republicans’ closed-door negotiations on the health care bill by inviting all senators to an open meeting on health care in the Old Senate Chamber next week.

“We believe we all owe it to our constituents to meet to discuss your potential legislation that would profoundly impact so many American lives,” the New York Democrat said in a letter sent to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on Friday.

CBO Estimate of Revised House Health Care Bill Changes Little
Senate GOP leaders say the votes still are not there for passage

BY KERRY YOUNG AND SANDHYA RAMAN

A House-passed health care bill would reduce federal spending by $119 billion over a decade, compared to a previous estimate of $150 billion over a decade. And it would cause the number of Americans lacking medical insurance to rise by 23 million by 2026, which is 1 million less than under previous iterations of the measure, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

Sparring Over Women’s Health in Georgia’s 6th District
Handel, Ossoff trade jabs over Planned Parenthood

As the June 20 runoff election in Georgia’s 6th district approaches, Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel are facing off with competing ads on women’s health and anti-abortion groups have joined in the fight.

Ossoff’s broadcast cable ad, released Tuesday, features an ob-gyn doctor criticizing Handel for her move to “cut off funding for Planned Parenthood cancer screenings when she was an executive at Susan G. Komen.”