Medicare

$177.1 Billion Labor-HHS-Education Moves Forward With Family Separation Changes
House Appropriations has approved 11 of 12 fiscal 2019 spending measures

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., wants the Labor-HHS-Education bill linked to the Defense bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Appropriations Committee late Wednesday evening approved, 30-22, a $177.1 billion fiscal 2019 bill to fund the departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services.

The committee has now approved 11 of its 12 fiscal 2019 spending measures, following the marathon 13-hour markup of the massive nondefense bill that left lawmakers from both parties exasperated at various points. The debate covered family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border, gun research funding, abstinence-only sex education and thorny political issues around religious adoption agencies.

Hospital Drug Discount Program Under Lawmakers’ Microscope
House panel to examine legislation Wednesday

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was to address a conference of hospitals participating in a drug discount program facing Congressional scrutiny. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A House panel that has been scrutinizing hospitals’ use of a drug discount program will examine on Wednesday pieces of legislation that stem from members’ concerns over the discounts.

The Energy and Commerce Committee’s oversight panel has had two hearings in the past year on the program, known as 340B. The committee has requested information from hospitals that participate and in January published a report outlining ways the drug discount program could be better run.

So Many Facets in the Downfall of a Single Democrat
Crowley’s ouster emboldens the left, scrambles House leadership and gives all incumbents pause

From left, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley, Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn, Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi all saw their political fortunes change with Crowley’s primary loss on Tuesday, Hawkings writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There’s some silliness to reading too much of a national trend into any single congressional election. So instead it may be better to consider Joseph Crowley’s defeat as more of a Rorschach test.

For the “Bernie Bots,” it’s a sign the progressive wing of the Democratic Party is newly ascendant.

Crowley’s Defeat Spotlights Rising Anti-Corporate Money Message
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is one of dozens of Democratic candidates rejecting corporate PAC money

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley lost his primary in New York’s 14th District on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made rejecting corporate donations a centerpiece of her winning campaign to unseat a top House Democrat. But the message isn’t just resonating in liberal areas like New York City — it also worked for Conor Lamb

The Pennsylvania Democrat highlighted his pledge to reject corporate PAC money in his first television ad in the special election earlier this year, where he pulled off an upset in a district President Donald Trump carried by 20 points in 2016.

Joe Crowley Defeated in Democratic Primary in New York
Caucus chairman loses to 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in stunning upset

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., lost his primary Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley lost his primary Tuesday night, derailing the career of a top Democrat who was poised to move up the leadership ladder.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old former field organizer for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, led Crowley 58 percent to 42 percent, with 88 percent of precincts reporting in the 14th District, when The Associated Press called the race. 

CBO: US Debt Burden Set to Break Record in Early 2030s
Growing deficits to push debt to almost 100 percent of GDP by 2028

A worker stacks the budget for Fiscal Year 2018 at the Government Publishing Office's plant on North Capitol Street before a visit from OMB Director Mick Mulvaney and GPO Director Davita Vance-Cooks on May 19, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Debt as a share of the United States economy is on track to blow through the previous World War II-era record within two decades and keep rising from there, the Congressional Budget Office said in its annual long-term budget report.

Generally assuming no change in current laws, growing budget deficits would push debt held by the public from the current level of 78 percent of the economy to almost 100 percent of gross domestic product by 2028, and to 152 percent of GDP by 2048, according to the agency.

Opinion: To Keep Drug Costs Low, Think Competition, Not Price Controls
A robust, competitive market is the best way to promote innovation and reduce prices

If we truly want to reduce drug costs and make life-changing medications accessible to all Americans, we must increase competition among prescription drugs, Hatch writes. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

Even in today’s highly partisan environment, there’s one thing nearly all Americans agree on: The soaring cost of prescription drugs is alarming.

In fact, 80 percent of Americans consider the cost of prescription drugs unreasonable. At the same time, a majority of Americans recognize that prescription drugs have improved countless lives. The president’s recently unveiled comprehensive blueprint to lower prescription drug costs has many ideas worthy of exploration. However, if we truly want to reduce costs and make life-changing and life-saving medications accessible to all Americans, we must increase competition among prescription drugs — particularly new drugs that have the ability to cure diseases, but face limited competition.

House Passes Bipartisan Opioid Bill Package
Bill ‘does not adequately deal with the magnitude of the crisis,’ Pallone says

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon helped put together the opioids package that passed Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House on Friday passed a bill that will serve as the legislative vehicle for many of the 55 other House-passed bills designed to curb opioid addiction, ending two weeks of floor votes on opioids measures.

The catchall bill, which advanced 396-14, would incorporate a number of proposals from the Energy and Commerce and the Ways and Means committees relating to Medicaid, Medicare, and public health. A group of 161 patient advocacy groups wrote to Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi this week in support of the legislation.

Bipartisan Lawmakers Call for Better Alzheimer’s Detection Capabilities
Proposed comprehensive detection measures aim to lessen burden on families and patients

Representative Linda Sanchez, D-Calif.,  on Tuesday, July 25, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Bipartisan lawmakers, policy advocates, and medical professionals came together Tuesday with nonprofit UsAgainstAlzheimer’s to call for earlier assessment and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

West Virginia Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito and California Democratic Rep. Linda T. Sanchez touted the CHANGE Act, legislation introduced in February by Capito and Democratic colleague Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.

Trump Administration Finalizes Rule on Health Plans
“You’re going to save massive amounts of money and have much better health care,” president says

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta suggested the new rule on associate health plans would help ease regulatory burdens on small businesses. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration on Tuesday finalized a rule expanding the availability of alternative insurance plans that do not meet the 2010 health care law’s requirements despite objections from consumer advocates and the industry.

The rule will extend so-called association health plans, which allow insurance companies to skirt benefit requirements and other parts of the 2010 law. President Donald Trump heralded the new rule in a speech Tuesday to the National Federation of Independent Business trade group, or NFIB.