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Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at

Articles by Tom Howell Jr.

Volunteers and Harris County Sheriff deputies lift an elderly person on a wheelchair over the flooded C.E. King Parkway under the East Sam Houston North on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Houston. (Steve Gonzales/Houston Chronicle via AP)

CDC warns Hurricane Harvey victims of post-storm risks

Americans reeling from the storm damage and flooding in Texas and Louisiana should watch out for major health risks after Hurricane Harvey is gone, federal health officials said Tuesday, warning residents to avoid everything from downed power lines and carbon monoxide to mosquitoes and mold. Published August 29, 2017

FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2013, file photo, a sign marks the entrance to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. The canceled federal conference on climate change and health problem is back on but apparently minus the federal government. Former Vice President Al Gore, the University of Washington, the Harvard Global Health Institute and the American Public Health Association are resurrecting a climate change and health conference set for next month that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had planned then canceled in December. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

CDC: HPV vaccination rates rising, though rural areas lag behind

Most parents are taking their children to get vaccinated for sexually transmitted HPV, yet fewer than half of U.S. teens received the follow-up shots they need to be fully protected, the government said Thursday in a study that also finds rural areas are falling behind. Published August 24, 2017

The Capitol stays open as the Republican majority in Congress remains stymied by their inability to fulfill their political promise to repeal and replace "Obamacare", because of opposition and wavering within the GOP ranks, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Every U.S. county poised to have Obamacare insurer

Obamacare customers in every part of the U.S. are poised to have at least one insurer to choose from in 2018, after Ohio regulators said Thursday they convinced a nonprofit to offer plans in the nation's last remaining "bare county." Published August 24, 2017

Ohio's Paulding County is the only one in the U.S. without a 2018 Obamacare insurer. (Associated Press)

Every U.S. county except one has Obamacare options for 2018

Enticed by local monopolies and leverage to charge high rates, a crop of insurers has stepped in and all but erased Obamacare's "bare county" crisis heading into 2018, allowing state regulators to breathe a little easier ahead of a sign-up season that will still be marked by uncertainty and scarce choices. Published August 23, 2017

Senate health panel announces hearings on Obamacare markets

The Senate Health Committee will hold a pair of hearings on patching up Obamacare's wobbly markets as soon as Congress returns in September from the summer recess, its Republican chairman and ranking Democrat announced Tuesday. Published August 22, 2017

While the U.S. government spent liberally to combat the Zika epidemic, public health officials warn pockets of the once-fearsome disease might still pop up in the country, requiring medical officials to remain vigilant. (Associated Press)

Zika virus reduced to few cases after scare in 2016

The Zika virus scare that sparked unprecedented travel warnings and a rush on bug spray in 2016 has petered out in its second year, with scientists saying that efforts to stamp out disease-carrying mosquitoes and the human immunity built up over the last year have combined to contain the spread. Published August 20, 2017

FILE - This Oct. 10, 2013, file photo, shows an EpiPen epinephrine auto-injector, a Mylan product, in Hendersonville, Texas. Mylan reports earnings Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski, File)

EpiPen manufacturer Mylan agrees to $465 million settlement with U.S.

Mylan, the maker of EpiPens for allergy sufferers, has agreed to pay $465 million to settle claims it short-changed taxpayers by misclassifying its popular device as a generic instead of a brand-name product, a U.S. attorney for Massachusetts said Thursday. Published August 17, 2017

White House: Trump will make contested Obamacare payments in August

The Trump administration confirmed Wednesday it will make critical Obamacare payments to insurers for August -- one day after congressional scorekeepers outlined the risks of cutting off the contested reimbursements over the long haul. Published August 16, 2017

** FILE ** Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J. (Associated Press)

Trump sticks by Garrett nomination to Export-Import Bank

President Trump is standing by former Rep. Scott Garrett, his pick to chair the Export-Import Bank, and is prepared to brave protests from business groups and senators who say the ex-congressman won't even commit to protecting the agency he's supposed to lead. Published August 13, 2017

Trump directs administration to treat opioid crisis as a 'national emergency'

President Trump directed his administration Thursday to treat the opioid epidemic as a national emergency, following through on his own commission's advice just days after his health secretary suggested the president didn't need additional powers to fight the scourge of heroin and prescription painkiller abuse. Published August 10, 2017

Critics decry Trump gutting teen pregnancy prevention grants

The Trump administration is cutting short a batch of Teen Pregnancy Prevention grants, angering big-city health department chiefs who said Wednesday they will no longer be able to figure out what's working to cut pregnancy rates. Published August 9, 2017

Opioid overdose deaths rising despite efforts: Gov't report

Drug overdose deaths spiked in the first nine months of 2016, according to government data that suggests the opioid crisis is still killing an alarming number of Americans despite nationwide efforts to get a handle on the epidemic. Published August 8, 2017

The Capitol building in Washington, D.C. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Senate moves on from Obamacare debate with bipartisan drug bills

The Senate unanimously approved bills Thursday that would let dying patients try medicines that haven't won full regulatory approval and inform doctors if a patient is a recovering drug addict, so they can prescribe safe treatment. Published August 3, 2017

In this May 24, 2017, file photo, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the House Budget Committee hearing on President Donald Trump's fiscal 2018 federal budget. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Governors implore Donald Trump to guarantee insurer payments

Governors from both parties implored President Trump to guarantee critical Obamacare payments to insurers though next year, arguing it is within the White House's power to help steady a wobbly individual insurance market. Published August 2, 2017