Health Care

Ex-HHS Secretary Price Spreads Cash Around in Georgia Races
Former congressman donates maximum to gubernatorial candidate Kemp from leftover campaign funds

Former secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Tom Price’s tenure in Washington may have ended, but he’s still spending campaign cash.

Price’s congressional campaign committee has disbursed $55,000 to campaigns in recent weeks, with the bulk going to candidates in his native Georgia, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Blumenauer Sends Blunt Marijuana Blueprint to Democratic Leadership
Goal is to have Congress pass legislation by the end of 2019

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., wants Democrats to legalize marijuana if they take back the House majority. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer, one of Congress’s most vocal marijuana proponents, sent Democratic leadership a memo Wednesday outlining steps Congress should take to legalize the Schedule I drug.

“Congress is out of step with the American people and the states on cannabis,” Blumenauer wrote in the memo, citing polling showing that 69 percent of registered voters support legalizing marijuana. “We have an opportunity to correct course if Democrats win big in November.”

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.”

Pelosi Not Willing to Trade Over Border Wall, Calls It Trump ‘Manhood Issue’
‘It’s probably the worst way to protect the border,’ House minority leader says

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says she will not trade with President Donald Trump for his border wall, calling it a "manhood issue" for him. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday there is nothing she would trade for President Donald Trump’s border wall, setting a hard negotiating stance in advance of an expected December showdown over the issue.

“It happens to be like a manhood issue for the president, building a wall, and I’m not interested in that,” the California Democrat said during a discussion at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics. 

Bob Casey Pulls Ad After Barletta’s Emotional Appeal
Ad that slams Barletta on votes to repeal health care law will still play statewide except in his home market

While Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Bob Casey’s campaign said he has included a constituent’s story of her children’s fight with cancer in speeches for years, he said he would pull an ad that strikes close to home for Republican challenger Rep. Lou Barletta in his hometown market. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic Sen. Bob Casey has pulled a television ad from his opponent’s home market, giving in to criticism from Republican Rep. Lou Barletta that the family in the ad too closely resembles his own personal troubles.

The ad hit Barletta on his vote for the American Health Care Act during Republicans’ prolonged effort to roll back the 2010 health care law last year. The ad accurately states that the AHCA would have weakened protections for patients with pre-existing conditions, but Barletta took issue with the ad’s parallels to his family.

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.” 

Democrats Double Down After Eight Years Defending Health Care Law
Issue now tops for Democrats in 2018, report finds

The U.S. Capitol building is seen behind two ambulances Friday, June 15, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats have devoted half their advertising spending in midterm races to health care, according to a report released Monday from a left-leaning group that seeks to protect provisions of Barack Obama’s signature 2010 law. 

The survey of recent polling and advertising spending from Protect Our Care underscore a theme that has emerged across the country as Democrats attempt to shift the narrative on 2010 health care law. After eight years of fending off GOP attempts to “repeal and replace” the provisions of Obamacare, Democrats now see their support of the law as one of their biggest strengths. 

Three States Get Ready to Vote on Abortion
Oregon, Alabama and West Virginia have measures on the ballot

Students protest abortion outside the Supreme Court in June. When voters in three states go to the polls this November, they’ll see abortion initiatives on the ballot. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Oregon, Alabama and West Virginia voters will face separate ballot initiatives next month aimed at restricting abortion access in those states.

These initiatives fit into a larger fight over abortion that continues to heat up. Anti-abortion advocates hope that changes at the state level can be used as test cases and later implemented more broadly, while abortion rights advocates hope to defeat them. A particularly contentious ballot initiative can be used as a messaging move to drive voters to the polls in tight elections such as this fall’s West Virginia Senate race.

You’d Think Samuel Beckett Was In Charge of Our Health Care
Finding a path forward for the Affordable Care Act has been like waiting for Godot

Estragon and Vladimir — above as portrayed in a 1978 French production of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” — were stuck in limbo. After waiting on Congress to act on health care, we all know how they feel, Hoagland writes. (Fernand Michaud/Gallica Digital Library)

OPINION — Finding bipartisan agreement in Congress on a path forward for the Affordable Care Act has been like waiting for Godot. Polls tracking Americans’ views have consistently shown an evenly divided public. No single public policy issue captures the country’s polarization better than the debate that has surrounded this law.

That doesn’t mean we have to settle for “nothing to be done.” Improving health insurance markets is a goal worth pursuing, and Republicans and Democrats at the state level are already showing us the way.

Rohrabacher Says Trump Will Liberalize Marijuana Policy After Midterms
Administration to leave recreational use up to states, legalize medical marijuana at federal level

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., said he has received assurances from the White House that “the president intends on keeping his campaign promise” to legalize medical marijuana at the national level. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s administration will work to relax federal marijuana laws and regulations after the midterms, according to one of his staunchest Republican defenders in the House.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California told Fox Business on Thursday he has worked to secure a “solid commitment” from administration officials to legalize medical marijuana across the federal level and leave recreational use of the drug up to the states.

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.

At the Races: What Does All the Health Care Talk in Campaign Ads Mean?
Decoding Democratic and Republican messaging over health care topics

With less than a month before the midterms, Democrats and Republicans are blanketing the airwaves with ads about one of the most heated topics in American politics — health care.

Since health care can be confusing on its own, it gets even more confusing when roped into talking points for the two major parties. 

GOP Yanks Ad Spending for Marquez Peterson in Arizona
Vague debate answer on climate change drew crowd reactions

Former Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick is running in Arizona’s 2nd District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee will halt television ad spending in Arizona’s 2nd District days after the party’s candidate stumbled during a debate.

During the race’s only debate Tuesday, Lea Marquez Peterson drew guffaws for a vague answer on whether she believes in climate change, the Arizona Republic reported. Marquez Peterson trailed Democratic opponent, former U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, by 11 points in a recent New York Times/Siena College poll.

Veteran Who Threatened Rep. Frank LoBiondo, Staff Is Convicted
Defendant was unhappy with VA care

Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A veteran with post traumatic stress disorder was convicted in federal court Wednesday on two counts of making threats to New Jersey Rep. Frank LoBiondo and his staffers, according to the Department of Justice.

Over the spring and summer of 2017, Joseph Brodie, 39, of Millville, New Jersey, sought assistance from LoBiondo’s office in receiving care from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Senate Dems Want Republicans to Take a Position on ‘Junk’
Baldwin hopes to force a vote to overturn Trump administration rule on short-term health care plans

Sen. Tammy Baldwin is leading the charge to reverse the Trump administration’s rule on short-term health insurance plans — or at least to get Republicans on the record. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats are planning to force a vote this week on a resolution that would overturn the Trump administration’s expansion of short-term health insurance plans.

Critics call them “junk” plans, since they’re not required to comply with all the regulations of the 2010 health care law.