Health Care

Abuse Allegations Loom Over Minnesota Race to Replace Ellison
Female candidates dominate 5th District Democratic-Farmer-Labor primary

Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison vacated his 5th District seat to run for state attorney general. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic candidates running for Rep. Keith Ellison’s seat in Minnesota’s deep-blue 5th District are pushing voters to the polls Tuesday, as abuse allegations against the congressman threatened to send them off-message in the campaign’s closing hours.

The three front-runners for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor nod in Tuesday’s primary declined to take sides when asked at a candidate forum Monday about allegations that Ellison physically abused a former girlfriend — which he has denied. The six-term congressman vacated the 5th District seat to run for state attorney general. 

Number of Pregnant Women Abusing Opioids Skyrockets
Vermont and West Virginia most affected

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., speaks during a Senate Democrats' news conference on the impact of repealing the Affordable Care Act on the opioid epidemic on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. His home state is one of the worst affected in the CDC's findings. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The number of women giving birth with opioid use disorder quadrupled between 1999 and 2014, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.

The increase underscores the severity of the country’s opioid epidemic as a legislative package aimed at helping states curb addiction rates idles in the Senate. Newborns exposed to drugs while in the womb can suffer severe complications, including withdrawal, preterm birth and death.

3 Eye-Popping Details in the Chris Collins Case Documents
Bad news at the White House, in-law joint indictments and prior knowledge

The events leading to Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., arrest are eye-catching. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins was arrested Wednesday on charges including insider trading and lying to authorities. The indictment documents and related complaint from the Securities and Exchange Commission illuminate a wild chain of events that led to the arrest.

Here are three of the most eye-popping details from the documents:

Democratic Candidates Walk Political Tightrope on Drug Prices
Pharmaceutical industry employs many potential voters in some districts

Making the cost of prescription drugs an issue may be complicated for Democrats running in areas that are big pharmaceutical hubs. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

Democrats working to regain control in Congress this fall are making the cost of prescription drugs a centerpiece of the party’s message. The path to a majority, however, runs through some places where the pharmaceutical industry employs a lot of potential voters.

Southern California, New Jersey, and the Philadelphia suburbs are among the areas where Democrats have the strongest chances to turn red House seats blue. Yet since these states are some of the biggest pharmaceutical hubs in the United States — the industry estimates it directly employs 44,000 people in Pennsylvania, 65,000 people in New Jersey, and 131,000 in California — candidates there tread a little more cautiously on the issue of drug prices.

Republicans Made ‘Big Mistake’ on Trying Obamacare First, Heller Says
Dean Heller is running against Rep. Jacky Rosen

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Rep. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., are running against each other in Nevada’s Senate race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Dean Hellersaid Republicans in Congress made a “big mistake” when they tried repealing the 2010 health care law as their first legislative item of the Trump administration.

Republicans could have successfully repealed the law if they had passed tax and transportation legislation first, Heller told the Washington Examiner.

Trump Plan: Consumers Could Keep Short-Term Health Plan Skirting Federal Rules
Rule could take effect in 60 days, but ‘slow ramp-up’ anticipated

The Trump administration is seeking to finalize a rule that would allow consumers to purchase plans that don’t comply with all the regulations in the 2010 health care law.  (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photo)

The Trump administration on Wednesday moved to finalize a rule that would let consumers maintain a short-term health insurance plan that skirts federal rules for just under a year, a step officials say will provide more affordable insurance options to more Americans.

The rule, which will be prepared Wednesday for publication in the Federal Register, is part of the administration's effort to allow people to purchase health care plans that don't comply with all of the regulations set by the 2010 health care law , and are typically less expensive than plans sold in the individual market exchanges.

Podcast: Left to Its Own Devices: Medical Tech, Congress and the Public
Political Theater, Episode 30

Director Kirby Dick and producer Amy Ziering discuss their movie "The Bleeding Edge" with Political Theater podcast host Jason Dick and CQ Health Editor Rebecca Adams. (Bian Elkhatib/CQ Roll Call)

Durbin Back on the Warpath Against E-Cigarette ‘Candy-Flavored Poisons’
Introducing new legislation to make e-cig manufacturers show benefits

Sen. Richard J. Durbin has new legislation designed to curtail flavored e-cigs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin has launched a new offensive against a familiar foe: electronic cigarettes.

For years, the Illinois Democrat has been alarmed by the use of e-cigs by young adults — and flavorings that seem designed to appeal to kids, like gummy bear.

‘Undeterred’ Trump Administration to Push Ahead With Medicaid Work Rules
Despite Kentucky setback, Alex Azar says HHS is “fully committed” to work requirements

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says the administration will continue to litigate the Kentucky case and is “fully committed” to work requirements in the Medicaid program. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration will continue to approve state Medicaid work requirement proposals, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Thursday, despite a federal court recently blocking Kentucky from implementing such rules.

The administration will continue litigating the Kentucky case and is “fully committed” to work requirements in the Medicaid program, Azar said during an address at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

Support for Roe is Up, But Other Abortion Polling Divided and Steady
71 percent think 1973 decision should stand

Two men argue over abortion at the Families Belong Together protest outside of the White House Saturday June 30, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While recent polling from NBC News/Wall Street Journal showed an uptick in support for Roe v. Wade, other survey data on abortion reflects a remarkably consistent and nuanced approach from Americans on the choice issue that stretches across decades.

The recent survey of 900 registered voters, conducted July 15-18, showed 71 percent believe the 1973 decision, which established a woman’s legal right to an abortion, should be kept in place while 23 percent believe the ruling should be overturned.

House Backs Suicide Hotline Bill; Could Lead to 3-Digit Dial Code
Measure designed to streamline aid for mental health crisis prevention

Rep. Chris Stewart is sponsoring legislation to streamline the suicide prevention hotline. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo.)

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is headed for an overhaul, with passage of a House bill Monday. The bipartisan proposal would move towards creating a new national three-digit dialing code — similar to 911 — to be used for a mental health crisis and suicide prevention hotline.

The House passed the bill by an overwhelming, 379-1, margin. Michigan Republican Justin Amash cast the lone nay vote against the bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah. 

Senate Democrats Likely to Oppose Push to Block Health Insurance Mandate
Desire to keep contentious amendments off spending bills might prevail

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., chairs the Appropriations subcommittee where any amendment on the D.C. health insurance mandate might come up first in the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A Republican amendment to a House-passed spending package that would ban the District of Columbia from implementing an individual health insurance coverage requirement is unlikely to gain steam as the Senate prepares to take up a similar measure.

It’s not clear yet if any Senate Republicans will introduce a similar amendment when the Financial Services and Interior-Environment package reaches the Senate floor, but it would likely face fierce minority opposition in the chamber, where Democrats are defending the 2010 health care law at every opportunity.

Universal Vaccine Research Moves Ahead After Deadly Flu Season
Yearly vaccines still only 10 to 60 percent effective, NIH official says

Simone Groper receives a flu shot at a Walgreens pharmacy in San Francisco in January. After a particularly deadly flu season, trials for a universal vaccine are advancing. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Scientists from across the country and the globe are making progress toward developing a universal flu vaccine, but reaching that goal will likely still take years, a top administration health official said Wednesday.

The National Institutes of Health recently funded a phase two clinical trial of what is one of several likely candidates for a universal influenza vaccine, said Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is part of the NIH. The first version of a vaccine that might protect against any type of flu likely won’t actually be universal but more targeted to specific strains, though, Fauci said.

Democrats Push Senate to Take Legal Action Backing Pre-existing Condition Protections
McCaskill and Manchin among leaders of the effort

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., shakes hands with Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who is also running for U.S. Senate, before the start of the Ripley 4th of July Grand Parade in Ripley, West Virginia on July 4. The two men are on opposite sides of a debate over pre-existing conditions that could become a part of their campaigns. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 3:15 p.m. | In a possible preview of Senate Democrats’ midterm political messaging, Democratic senators want the chamber to go to court to defend health insurance protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Two of the Democrats leading the effort face Republican challengers in 2018 who have signed on to the legal effort that could undermine the regulations from the 2010 health care law: state attorneys general in Missouri, Josh Hawley, and West Virginia, Patrick Morrisey.

Schumer ‘Blowing a Lifeguard Whistle’ on Increased Kids’ Drowning Rates
Democratic senator says rate of drownings for youngest children is increasing

Sen. Charles E. Schumer wants the CDC to investigate drowning risks to young children. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer wants answers about an uptick in drowning rates for children under the age of 5.

“When it comes to the dangers of drowning, who is playing the lifeguard? Not the federal government,” Schumer said Sunday. “I’m blowing a lifeguard whistle on the dangerous trend.”