health-care

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.

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.

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.