Medicaid

Ocasio-Cortez grills CEO of pharma company making billions on government-patented HIV drug
Daniel O’Day faced scathing questions over taxpayers funding research and development for blockbuster drug

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., was among the Democrats on the House Oversight Committee grilling Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day on Thursday over the high price of the HIV prevention drug, Truvada. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day faced scathing questions at a House hearing Thursday, with Democrats demanding answers on how the drug manufacturer could charge $1,700 a month for an HIV prevention drug discovered through taxpayer-funded research.

“How can Gilead do this? How can our system allow a company to take a drug treatment that was developed with taxpayer funds and abuse its monopoly to charge such astronomical prices?” Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah E. Cummings asked at the top of the hearing. “This lifesaving treatment would not exist but for the research funded by the CDC and the NIH.”

Alice Rivlin, first CBO chief and Clinton budget director, dies

Alice Rivlin, the founding director of the Congressional Budget Office, former director of the Office of Management and Budget and a member of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, died Tuesday at the age of 88. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call)

Alice M. Rivlin, an economist, budget and health care expert respected on both sides of the aisle and the first director of the Congressional Budget Office, died Tuesday at the age of 88 after a battle with cancer.

The Brookings Institution, where she served as a senior fellow, confirmed Rivlin’s death.

Steve Bullock announces presidential run
Montana governor touts record of winning in a Trump state and taking on dark campaign money

Montana Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock won re-election in 2016 while Donald Trump was winning his state in a landslide. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock became the 22nd major Democratic candidate for president when he announced his entry into the race on Tuesday.

The two-term governor, who won re-election in 2016 while Donald Trump was winning the state by 20 points, made his announcement in a video that touted his electability and promised to take dark money out of politics.

White House wants to update poverty thresholds. It could affect food stamps and Medicaid benefits
Critics say move could weaken public assistance programs and increase hardship for low-wage earners

Supporters hold up “Save Medicaid” signs during the Senate Democrats’ news conference with disability advocates in September 2017 to oppose a Republican health care overhaul proposal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House Budget Office is considering its first update to inflation adjustment guidelines for poverty thresholds since 1978, with potential consequences for benefit programs serving low-income households.

The initiative is part of a re-evaluation of six inflation indexes used to track the impact on consumers of rising or falling prices. One of the indexes is used to adjust poverty thresholds, which underlie the calculation of eligibility for a number of benefit programs including Medicaid, food stamps and school lunches and breakfasts for poor children.

Trump aide sees room for talks on Democrats’ opioid bill
Trump’s top drug control official left the door open to a bipartisan deal on a bill authorizing billions to address opioid crisis

From left, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Reps. Peter Welch, D-Vt., Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., conduct a news conference in the Capitol on January 10, 2019. Cummings and Elizabeth Warren released a draft bill Wednesday that would authorize $100 billion over a decade to address the opioid crisis. Trump’s aide left the door open Thursday for a bipartisan solution with the bill’s sponsors. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats got a surprising compliment from the Trump administration’s top drug control official at a Thursday hearing as they discussed boosting opioid addiction treatment funding, while Republicans promoted efforts to stem illegal drugs through securing the southern border.

House Oversight and Reform Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va., who presided at the full committee hearing, touted a draft bill that Chairman Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland released with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday that would authorize $100 billion over 10 years to address the crisis. The bill, which is supported by all of the committee’s Democrats, faces a tough path to becoming law without Republican support.

An American credo: Justice for some, especially the four-legged
Trump’s Kentucky Derby tweet points to a larger American problem

Surprised that Trump’s bizarre foray into officiating a horse race barely caused a ripple while more pressing matters await? We have always been a country that compartmentalizes, Curtis writes. Above, spectators watch the Kentucky Derby on May 4. (Robin Marchant/Getty Images)

OPINION — From the current administration’s indifference to congressional requests for information on the Mueller report to its hardening policies restricting those seeking asylum from violent homelands, one would think Donald Trump and company cared little for justice. But the president did manage to speak out recently in support of one particular victim he felt was wronged.

In a signature tweet, he said: “The Kentuky Derby decision was not a good one.” (He has since corrected the spelling to “Kentucky.”) “It was a rough and tumble race on a wet and sloppy track, actually, a beautiful thing to watch. Only in these days of political correctness could such an overturn occur. The best horse did NOT win the Kentucky Derby — not even close!”

Lawmakers aim to double down with more opioids legislation
New efforts would double down on existing policies to curb illegal fentanyl use and authorize more funding

Reps. David Trone, D-Md., and Susie Lee, D-Nev., conduct a news conference at the House Triangle on Thursday, January 17, 2019. Trone heads the newly formed Freshmen Working Group on Addiction. He told CQ Roll Call the group will attempt to pass opioid-related bills it supports as individual measures to stem the opioid crisis, but that it’s possible the Senate could take up the bills as a package. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers are showing renewed interest in continuing bipartisan work to combat the opioid epidemic, less than a year after the president signed a legislative package into law.

While the law focuses on various aspects of the crisis such as curbing prescription drug abuse, new efforts would double down on policies to curb illegal fentanyl use and authorize additional funding.

Pelosi: ‘Trump is goading us to impeach him’
‘Every single day he’s just like taunting, taunting, taunting,’ she said at an event

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., conducts her weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on March 14. Tuesday she said President Donald Trump was “goading” Democrats into impeaching him. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that President Donald Trump is trying to bait Democrats into starting impeachment proceedings against him but cautioned that her caucus will only be led to that process by the facts.

“Trump is goading us to impeach him,” the California Democrat said during an event in New York City hosted by the Cornell University Institute of Politics and Global Affairs.

Mental health clinics wait on Congress
If federal lawmakers don’t renew a promising program before the end of June, it will be up to the states to find the money

Sen. Debbie Stabenow is leading the charge in the Senate to renew a promising mental health program. The clock is ticking. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The promise of higher federal Medicaid payments is giving eight states the chance to show that one-stop mental health clinics with 24-hour crisis care could offer patients a better option than the de facto safety net of police departments and emergency rooms.

But the two-year experiment is drawing to a close now, leaving the program with an uncertain future if Congress doesn’t extend it.

Klobuchar plan to combat addiction draws on experience with her dad
Policy proposal comes as part of her 2020 presidential campaign platform

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., unveiled a mental health policy proposal on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s mental health plan, unveiled Friday morning, draws on proposals from several of her Senate colleagues — and it’s also a highly personal quest for the senator.

One of the early major proposals of the Minnesota Democrat’s 2020 White House campaign, it calls for aggressive investments to support mental health and treatment for addiction, including an increased focus on early intervention. It also draws on her experience with her father’s alcoholism.