Medicaid

Opinion: Is It Too Early for North Carolina Democrats to Get Their Hopes Up, Again?
After years of dashed dreams, progressives are back to seeing blue

The Rev. William Barber hosts a “Moral Monday” in Raleigh in 2016. With efforts like Barber’s Poor People’s Campaign gaining steam in North Carolina, progressives are once again seeing blue at the end of the tunnel, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In 2008, Barack Obama’s slim North Carolina victory in his first presidential run had Democrats in the state celebrating in the present and dreaming of a blue future in what had been considered a (relatively) progressive Southern state. Boy, were those dreams premature.

But 10 years later — after new redistricting and voting rules solidified GOP control in both the state and U.S. House delegations and a bill on LGBT rights made the state a poster child for conservative social policies — Democrats are again seeing light at the end of a deep-red tunnel.

Health Officials Hit Back at Critics of Trump’s Drug Price Plan
As Democrats say the president’s plan is weak, Azar calls it a ”fundamental potential restructuring” of the American economy

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, shown here at the White House last week, defended the president’s drug plan on Monday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Top administration health officials on Monday defended President Donald Trump’s plan to address high prescription drug prices, which has drawn criticism from both the industry and those who see it as a capitulation to drug companies.

In a speech Monday in the foyer of the Health and Human Services Department, Secretary Alex Azar, a former pharmaceutical company executive, took direct aim at the industry. He said drug companies were offering the American people a false choice between the development of life-saving innovations and affordability.

Trump Targets Drug Pricing in Trade Agreements
‘It’s unfair, it’s ridiculous and it’s not going to happen any longer’

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar testifies during a Ways and Means Committee hearing on the FY2019 budget for HHS in Longworth Building on February 14, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump has instructed trade ambassador Robert Lighthizer to grant the drug industry’s wish of making pharmaceutical prices a “top priority” in negotiations with other countries.

Trump revealed the instruction during a Friday announcement unveiling the administration’s overall strategy for lowering drug costs.

Republicans Warming to $15 Billion Cuts Package
Dispute remains over whether proposal is protected from filibuster

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not rule out his chamber considering a proposal to cut spending already authorized, as long as it passes the House. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans appear ready to advance the White House’s $15.4 billion rescissions request through both chambers of Congress, after the administration dropped the idea — for now — of canceling funds provided in the fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill enacted in March.

“If the House is able to pass the rescissions package, we’ll take a look at it,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday, noting that the so-called special message “does not breach the bipartisan agreement we reached in the caps deal.”

Partisan Fight Over $15 Billion Rescissions Package Developing
Democrats not ready to play ball, Pelosi suggests

President Donald Trump begrudgingly signed the omnibus spending bill in March. Now his administration is making a $15 billion rescissions request. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

The Trump administration on Monday outlined a roughly $15 billion “rescissions” request it plans to send to Congress on Tuesday, targeting unspent health care and green energy funds for the largest share of the cuts.

The bulk of that request proposes eliminating $7 billion in budget authority from the Children’s Health Insurance Program — $5 billion from fiscal 2017, for which there is no authority to spend the money, and $2 billion from a contingency fund for states that the White House doesn’t expect any states to draw from, a senior administration official said.

4 of Congress’ Recent Anti-Abortion Actions, After Iowa Passes Measure
A look at Hill action after Iowa legislation passes both state chambers

Guests bow their heads in prayer near the Washington Monument during the annual March for Life on Jan. 27, 2017. Attendees march from the monument to Capitol Hill to oppose abortion. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Iowa state legislature this week passed a bill banning abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, one of the stricter regulations in the U.S. should the governor sign the bill into law.Dubbed the “heartbeat bill,” the legislation aims to block abortions once a heartbeat is detected, which would essentially ban the procedure for most cases after a month and a half.More lawmakers across the United States started introducing anti-abortion legislation following President Donald Trump’s election. Nineteen states instated 63 restrictions in total to abortion procedures in 2017, the highest number of state laws on the issue since 2013, according to sexual and reproductive health research organization the Guttmacher Institute.States have successfully put more roadblocks in front of abortion, but federal lawmakers have not had such luck. Here are some recent attempts by Congress to limit abortions:

The Senate rejected a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in January after the bill passed the House in 2017.The “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham, failed to overcome a Democrat filibuster“To those who believe in this issue, we will be back for another day,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and the chief sponsor of the bill, said in advance of the vote according to the New York Times.

Medicaid Won’t Look the Same Next Year
From expansions to work mandates, states seek sweeping changes in 2018

Some states want to expand Medicaid, others want to add a work mandate, and Virginia is trying to do both. This year may define the 50-year-old program. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

This year could mark a significant shift for Medicaid programs across the country, as some states look to expand the government insurance program to more poor Americans while others seek to add more requirements for people who benefit.

Initiatives to get Medicaid expansion put on the November ballot are underway in Utah, Nebraska, Idaho and Montana. And Virginia lawmakers appear on the verge of securing an expansion deal, after years of rejecting the idea.

Drug Pricing Proposal Should Revamp Medicare, GOP Experts Say
Overhauling Part B drug benefit could have “massive impact overnight”

HHS Secretary Alex Azar has been outspoken in seeking to carry out the president’s push to reduce drug costs. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An upcoming Trump administration proposal on lowering drug costs should ask Congress to allow private insurance companies to negotiate prices for drugs administered in a doctor’s office or hospital, two Republican policy experts said.

The administration’s proposal is a request for comment on strategies to lower drug prices and out-of-pocket costs. It was originally expected to be released in tandem with a speech by President Donald Trump on Thursday, but the speech was delayed as Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar recovers from an infection.

Committees Tackle Politically Powerful Issue of Opioids Legislation
Senate HELP panel advanced bipartisan package Tuesday

Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, chairs the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, which will consider over 60 bills to address the opioids crisis at a Wednesday markup. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House heads into a marathon opioid markup Wednesday, a day after the Senate health committee approved bipartisan legislation of its own addressing the crisis. Both chambers are eager to advance bills to combat the crisis under an aggressive timeline, with an eye toward demonstrating action before the midterms on an issue that affects voters representing most demographics and districts.

“Even though this epidemic is worse in some parts of the country than others, find me a congressional district where this isn’t an issue,” said Keith Humphreys, a drug policy expert at Stanford. “Absolutely, they do not want to go into an election and have their constituents mad at them.”

DCCC Adds Five More Candidates to Red to Blue Program
Two of them have said they won’t back Pelosi for Democratic leader

New Jersey Democrat Tom Malinowski, a former assistant secretary of State for democracy, human rights, and labor, is among the latest additions to the DCCC’s Red to Blue list. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is announcing its fifth round of Red to Blue candidates Wednesday. 

The five latest additions, obtained first by Roll Call, include two candidates running in districts that President Donald Trump carried by double digits, both of whom have said they wouldn’t support Nancy Pelosi for Democratic leader if elected.