Medicaid

Trump’s budget chief tries to sell spending and debt limit deal to skeptical conservatives
Fiscal hawks blast agreement: ‘Washington has all but abandoned economic sanity’

Acting OMB Director Russ Vought Vought is viewed as closely aligned with spending hawks in the GOP. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Acting White House budget chief Russell Vought appeared on the Fox News Channel Tuesday morning to defend the two-year spending and debt limit accord reached Monday, which had immediately been savaged by conservatives for costing too much and doing nothing to rein in long-term deficits.

“I love the concern of the conservatives who are bringing attention to the problems that we have with fiscal responsibility in this town. This president put forward more spending cuts than any president in history, and we have been negotiating for five months,” Vought said. “We’re now up against a deadline, heading into the August recess, where we need the debt limit extended, we need to continue to rebuild the military.”

USDA seeks to narrow eligibility for food stamps
Proposal looks to tighten eligibility for people who receive noncash benefits

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the draft rule will close a loophole that allows people with gross incomes above 130 percent of the poverty level to become eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and potentially qualify for food stamps. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration will push ahead with a proposal to tighten food stamp eligibility for people who receive certain noncash benefits from a federal welfare program, a move that could end aid for up to 3 million people.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the draft rule published in Tuesday’s Federal Register will end what he and congressional Republicans say is a loophole that allows people with gross incomes above 130 percent of the poverty level to become eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and potentially qualify for food stamps through the program.

Senators plot drug bill, Pelosi mulls drug price negotiations
Proposals target Medicare drug prices

Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, on Tuesday offered a details on a drug price bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley on Tuesday unveiled details on a long-anticipated drug price bill and scheduled a Thursday committee markup.  Republicans indicated a cost estimate of the measure predicted it would lower consumer and government costs.  

The final bill is expected to contain provisions that would slow the growth of Medicare’s prescription drug spending, limit the cost-sharing for people receiving Medicare, and make it easier for state Medicaid programs to pay for expensive treatments.

2020 census affects more than representation, billions at stake
The census influences more than $800 billion in federal government spending and business decisions

Protesters hold signs at rally in front of U.S. Supreme Court after ruling on census was handed down. In Alaska, census results drive tens of millions of dollars from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to Native American communities to help build up housing that is lacking. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Less than 300 miles from the Arctic Circle, Toksook Bay, Alaska, has about 600 people, a dozen or so streets and averages a high of 12 degrees in January, the month the 2020 census will begin there.

The responses among Alaska Natives in Toksook Bay and throughout the state could have a huge impact on the future of their community, not just in terms of political representation but whether they have a roof over their heads.

Governor who? Hickenlooper, Inslee and Bullock are at 1 percent. Combined
Democrats are ho-hum on their governors in the 2020 presidential race. That’s a pity

The years of executive experience that, from left, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee bring to the table should still matter, Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photos)

OPINION — It’s hard not to feel a little sorry for John Hickenlooper. He did everything you’re supposed to do to become a White House contender. First, he started a successful business in Colorado — one of the first brewpubs around. He then launched a long-shot bid for Denver mayor, which he won. He was reelected four years later with 86 percent of the vote.

Then it was on to eight years as Colorado’s governor. Along with overseeing nearly a decade of a booming state economy, he also racked up Democrat-favored legislative wins from expanding Medicaid to passing gun safety measures limiting high-capacity magazines and requiring background checks to reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. By the time he left the governor’s mansion earlier this year, Colorado had 500,000 more new jobs than when he was first sworn in. So hello, top-tier presidential campaign, amiright? Uh, no.

House passes repeal of Obamacare tax on high-cost plans
‘Cadillac tax’ never took effect under intense lobbying against it by employers and unions

“If we fail to repeal the Cadillac tax, we will leave working families with less health care coverage, higher out-of-pocket health care costs and little to no wage increases,” says Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House passed, 419-6, legislation Wednesday to repeal the so-called Cadillac tax, pleasing health insurers, unions and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers who have long pushed to scrap the levy.

The measure would permanently repeal the 40 percent excise tax on high-cost employer-provided health insurance, which was envisioned as a key way to pay for the 2010 health care law. The tax, which Congress twice delayed from taking effect, is set to go into effect in 2022.

Congress is Trump’s best hope for drug pricing action
But divisions remain between Republicans and Democrats, House and Senate

The administration will need congressional help to take action this year on drug prices. (File photo)

An upcoming Senate bill is the Trump administration’s best hope for a significant achievement before next year’s election to lower prescription drug prices, but a lot still needs to go right for anything to become law.

Despite the overwhelming desire for action, there are still policy gulfs between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, and another gap between the Senate and the House. And the politics of the moment might derail potential policy agreements. Some Democrats might balk at settling for a drug pricing compromise that President Donald Trump endorsed.

Health care continues to define, divide 2020 Democratic field
As candidates debate plans and GOP preps attacks, some early voters just tuning in

Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden said he would build on the 2010 health insurance overhaul enacted by President Barack Obama instead of creating a new system, a clear line of demarcation between him and several other Democrats running for the nomination. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Declaring that “starting over makes no sense,” former Vice President Joe Biden said Monday that he would build on Democrats’ signature 2010 health insurance overhaul and that plans offered by rivals for the presidential nomination would reverse gains made under President Barack Obama.

Biden released his plan ahead of a speech that Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is to give Wednesday to promote a government-run “Medicare for All” system. It is the first of several forums hosted by AARP in Iowa, where 2020 hopefuls will talk about how to lower prescription drug prices.

Trump unveils sweeping goals on kidney disease
Executive order aims to improve quality and cut costs by refocusing care on prevention

President Donald Trump arrives for a rally in Montoursville, Pa., on May 20, 2019. Trump on Wednesday outlined an agenda to improve preventive treatment of kidney disease. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump outlined an agenda to improve preventive treatment of kidney disease Wednesday, zeroing in on a condition that afflicts more than 30 million Americans and costs more than $100 billion in annual Medicare spending.

The executive order Trump signed aims to improve quality and cut costs by refocusing care on prevention. The initiative’s overarching goals are to reduce the number of new patients with end-stage renal disease by 25 percent by 2030, and to have 80 percent of ESRD patients either receiving in-home dialysis or transplants by 2025.

North Carolina likely sending another white male Republican to Congress
Greg Murphy, backed by Freedom Caucus chairman, beats Joan Perry in 3rd District primary runoff

State Rep. Greg Murphy has won the GOP nomination for North Carolina’s 3rd District. (Simone Pathé/CQ Roll Call file photo)

State Rep. Greg Murphy has won the Republican nomination in North Carolina’s heavily red 3rd District, making him the strong favorite to succeed the late Walter B. Jones, who died in February.

Murphy, who was backed by the political arm of the House Freedom Caucus, defeated pediatrician Joan Perry in a low-turnout primary runoff that attracted more than $1 million in spending from outside groups dedicated to electing GOP women. With all precincts in, Murphy got 60 percent of the vote to Perry’s 40 percent, The Associated Press reported.