Health Care

Opinion: One Year Later — Why 21st Century Cures Still Matters
Help underway for diseases that impact virtually every family

Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., left, and Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., hold thank you signs made by Max Schill, who’s diagnosed with Noonan Syndrome, a rare genetic condition, after the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of the 21st Century Cures Act on Capitol Hill in Washington in 2015. Upton and DeGette spearheaded the act. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

 

 

Consumer Choice for Health Care Lags Behind Rhetoric
Experts urge consumers to “shop around,” but pricing is dizzyingly complex

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady has said he wants health care to be like a “backpack” that consumers can take with them throughout their lives. “You decide what to put in the backpack,” he wrote in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

When Chris Raymond called her insurance company recently to get the price of a brain scan, she came prepared. Or so she thought.

Raymond’s experience as a former medical reporter for the Journal of the American Medical Association gives her an edge over the typical patient trying to navigate the fractured health care system. As an active middle-aged woman who still plays recreational basketball, Raymond has also suffered enough injuries to understand the system from the patient perspective.

Trump Executive Actions a ‘Disruptive’ Lot
Full effects of president’s unilateral moves still years away, experts say

President Donald Trump after signing an executive order Oct. 12 targeting the 2010 health care law. Experts and lawmakers say his executive actions are among the most “disruptive” of any president. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

The executive actions President Donald Trump has signed have the potential to be among the most “aggressive” and “disruptive” ever issued by a chief executive, according to lawmakers and experts.

Trump and his top aides often describe his use of executive orders, actions and memoranda as the president using his constitutional authorities to “put America first” and plot a policy course to benefit the country’s forgotten men and women. Both were major themes of his 2016 campaign.

Wheelin’ and Dealin’ McConnell in Full Force on GOP Tax Bill
Successful vote on the motion to proceed ignites last-minute scramble to 50 votes

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is assembling the votes for the GOP tax overhaul. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans on Wednesday evening got the necessary votes to launch debate on the party’s measure to overhaul the U.S. tax code. But this came after a day of backroom deal-making by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that could lead to several major changes to the current version of the legislation.

The pressure on the Senate GOP is sky-high as the party looks to achieve at least one major legislative victory during President Donald Trump’s first year in the White House.

HHS Pick Grilled on Drug Prices
Azar pledges to lower cost of prescriptions, but Paul has “doubts”

Alex Azar, nominee to be Health and Human Services secretary, takes a seat for his hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The nominee to lead the Health and Human Services Department, Alex M. Azar, told a Senate panel that his top priority would be addressing the high price of prescription drugs. But there was skepticism from both sides of the dais at Wednesday’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing that Azar, a former pharmaceutical company executive, would live up to that promise.

While it was mostly Democrats who took aim at Azar’s tenure working for and running the U.S. affiliate of Eli Lilly & Co., Sen. Rand Paul said he would also need to be convinced. The Kentucky Republican pressed Azar on whether he would work on a system to safely import lower-cost prescription drugs from places with comparable systems, like Canada and Europe.

CBO: Insurance Market Stabilization Impact Null If Mandate Repealed

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Legislation from the duo at the helm of the Senate health panel would do little to improve the number of uninsured individuals if the mandate created by the 2010 health law is repealed, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

A repeal of the mandate — which requires individuals to purchase insurance or pay a yearly fine — is currently included in the GOP bill to overhaul the U.S. tax code.

Different Trumps Displayed on Each End of Penn. Ave.
Dems get ‘street fighter,’ GOP gets charmer in chief

President Donald Trump arrives at the Capitol on Tuesday with Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for the Republican Senate policy lunch. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump sometimes tries to charm others during negotiations, but often he prefers to fight. 

Both strategies were on display Tuesday, as the president and Republican leaders, even while working to shepherd a tax overhaul through the Senate, turned their attention to a massive spending measure needed to avert a government shutdown next month — a measure that will require Democratic votes to pass.

Trump Lobbies GOP on Tax Bill, But McConnell Still Needs Votes
During turbulent day, White House tries to get a legislative win

President Donald Trump arrives on Tuesday with Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for the Republican Senate Policy luncheon in the Capitol to discuss a tax overhaul bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump lobbied GOP senators behind closed doors Tuesday to support a tax overhaul bill that is key to his agenda, but the chamber’s leading Republican indicated afterward he is still searching for the votes to pass it.

Trump returned to Capitol Hill for the third time in four weeks to sell Republican members on the House and Senate versions of GOP tax plan. But this time, he also went to try and wrangle the remaining holdouts to secure the 50 votes needed to pass the bill later this week. (Vice President Mike Pence could cast the 51st and decisive vote.)

Democrats Hold Cards on Year-End Talks With Trump, GOP
President, ‘Big Four’ will talk about pre-holiday to-do list

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will need help from Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to pass some sort of end-of-year spending bill next month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

After a mid-day visit to the Capitol — his second in as many weeks — President Donald Trump will host congressional leaders at the White House on Tuesday, as Democrats look to cash in on a deal they struck with him in September to push debt and spending questions to Dec. 8.

Republicans need support from both parties to extend government funding to Dec. 9 and beyond. But Democratic leaders and rank-and-file members have complained for months about both the substance of GOP-crafted bills and the processes used to write them, which complicates any effort to corral their votes.

Lawmakers Push Alcohol Tax Cut Despite Rising Drinking Rates
The tax break would save alcohol producers $4.2 billion

Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio leaves the Republican Senate policy lunch in the Capitol on Nov. 14. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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

Oregon governor Kate Brown recently wrote to her state’s two Democratic senators warning that federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program will  run out in December. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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. 

Opinion: The GOP Tax Bill — All Hat and No Rabbit
Even passing no legislation might be a better option

From left, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady and Majority Whip Steve Scalise celebrate during a news conference after the chamber passed the GOP tax bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

All politics is state and local.

That update of Tip O’Neill’s dictum is inspired by the Republican tax bill. The legislation that passed the House on Thursday eviscerates the deduction for state and local taxes and the current Senate version, which just emerged from the Finance Committee, eliminates the write-off entirely.

10 Things to Watch as the Tax Bill Moves Forward
House passage just the first step

President Donald Trump arrives for a meeting with the House Republican Conference in the Capitol on Thursday to discuss the GOP’s tax bill. White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, far left, and House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving, foreground, also appear. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House passage of a tax code rewrite Thursday was just the first in a multistep process. Many changes are expected before a bill reaches President Donald Trump’s desk.

First, the Senate has to prove it can pass a tax overhaul after failing to do so on health care.

Hot Start With Trump 'Pep Rally' Burns Out as Tax Bill Cruises
Before passing tax bill, GOP members gush about president

President Donald Trump, accompanied by his chief of staff John Kelly, arrives at the Capitol to speak to House Republicans before a floor vote on a GOP-crafted tax overhaul bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Two fireplaces outside the House chamber told the story Thursday a few minutes before members streamed in to vote on a sweeping tax bill. Orange embers were still just visible in both beneath scorched logs and ash. For Republicans, what had started with a white-hot visit by President Donald Trump ended with the anti-climactic passage of their tax plan.

But there was nothing anti-climactic a short time earlier in the basement of the Capitol, where House GOP members gather weekly as a group. They scurried in — mostly on time, with a few notable exceptions — for the presidential visit, and many emerged just before noon strikingly giddy about the scene during the president’s roughly 20 minutes of remarks.

Bill Nye, from Science Guy to Science Statesman
Advocate for science raising profile in policy and with new film

Marchers, including Bill Nye the Science Guy, center, lead the March for Science down Constitution Avenue in Washington on Earth Day 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In one corner is a roster of climate change deniers who now run key congressional committees and the Environmental Protection Agency. In the other corner is Bill Nye the Science Guy, arguably the scientific community’s biggest advocate.

“I’ve got to fight this fight,” Nye says in the forthcoming documentary “Bill Nye: Science Guy,” as he hits back against a growing anti-science movement that questions evolution and humans’ contribution to climate change.