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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.


10 years later, debate over Terri Schiavo's life and death lingers

The Rev. Frank Pavone, a pro-life leader, was one of the few able to visit Terri Schiavo in the final days of her life 10 years ago as she lay in a hospital bed, fixed to a feeding tube, the subject of an intense national debate over euthanasia. Published March 30, 2015

House Speaker John A. Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reached a rare bipartisan accord with last month's passage of H.R. 2, which reforms Medicare physician reimbursements. (Associated Press)

Congress on clock for fix with Medicare payments to doctors set to expire April 1

Full payments for doctors who treat Medicare patients run out on April 1, but the Obama administration has a two-week grace period before it would actually have to begin cutting payments, giving Congress a short window next month to fix the problem before earning the ire of physicians nationwide. Published March 29, 2015

Paul Ryan: GOP must have Obamacare replacement by late June

House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan says Republicans must have a plan to replace Obamacare by late June, a deadline that coincides with a Supreme Court decision that could blow a huge hole in the controversial law. Published March 26, 2015

Rep. Michael C. Burgess, Texas Republican. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) ** FILE **

House passes Medicare payment overhaul in rare spark of bipartisanship

The normally fractious House made governing look effortless Thursday, passing a long-sought deal to permanently cancel Medicare budget cuts that eat into doctors' pay, erasing a perennial political headache while praying that a set of replacement reforms will help pay for some of the $200 billion in new spending. Published March 26, 2015

Sen. Charles Schumer, New York Democrat said of the Medicare language, "is it as severe as the provision in the trafficking bill? No, so we'll see where we come out." The Medicare bill would repeal an outdated budget tool that Congress overrides each year, anyway, through a so-called "doc fix," even when the formula calls for a cut to doctors' pay. (Associated Press)

Democrats may not sink House bill on doctors' pay

Senate Democrats said Wednesday there is daylight between a pro-life provision they opposed in an anti-trafficking bill and abortion language tucked into a House deal to overhaul Medicare, signaling their objections may not torpedo long-sought reforms to how the health program pays doctors. Published March 25, 2015

GOP House bill would balance budget, cut Obamacare

House Republicans came together Wednesday to pass a budget that balances within a decade, cutting spending by over $5 trillion, repealing Obamacare and turning Medicare into a voucherlike system along the way. Published March 25, 2015

House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican, pauses during a news conference on Capitol in Washington on March 19, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Medicare overhaul will cost $200B+, with $140B added to deficit: CBO

A House bill to overhaul Medicare payments would cost $214 billion over the next decade, with $141 billion added to the deficit and the rest covered by wealthier Medicare recipients and changes to reimbursements for hospitals and other providers, nonpartisan budget scorers said Wednesday. Published March 25, 2015

Under pressure from pro-choice groups, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is balking at pro-life language designed to keep federal funds from paying for abortions in both bills, known as the Hyde amendment. (Associated Press)

Abortion fight threatens Medicare deal as Dems balk at pro-life language

This was supposed to be a Congress focused on jobs and the middle class, but Democrats have quickly turned it into a fight over abortion, the thorniest of social issues, which has already derailed a bipartisan anti-human trafficking bill and now threatens to undermine a long-sought deal on fixing Medicare. Published March 24, 2015


Obamacare repeal debate stalls budget talks in Congress

Partisan rhetoric spotlighted the ill will that still surrounds Obamacare. It also kicked off a pivotal week for the Republican majority Congress, which must pass its budget plans before it can use an arcane budget procedure to bypass a Democratic filibuster in the Senate and get a repeal bill on President Obama's desk. Published March 23, 2015

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas announces his campaign for president, Monday, March 23, 2015, at Liberty University, founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, in Lynchburg, Va. Cruz, who announced his candidacy on twitter in the early morning hours, is the first major candidate in the 2016 race for president. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

White House scoffs at Ted Cruz's Obamacare repeal vow

Marking Obamacare's fifth anniversary Monday, the White House brushed off 2016 GOP campaign vows to scrap the law entirely, saying Republicans don't have a track record that supports their ambitions. Published March 23, 2015

FILE - In this April 1, 2014 file photo, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Republican senators poised to lead major committees when the GOP takes charge are intent on pushing back many of President Barack Obama's policies, setting up potential showdowns over environmental rules, financial regulations and national security. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

Obamacare saved hospitals $7 billion: HHS

Obamacare cut hospitals' costs for treating uninsured patients by more than $7 billion last year, the administration said Monday in marking the fifth anniversary of the overhaul's passage. Published March 23, 2015

In this Nov. 12, 2014, file photo, the website, where people can buy health insurance, on a laptop screen, is seen in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File) still fixing tax-form blunder

The administration said Friday it still had to send corrected tax forms to 80,000 of the 820,000 customers who received erroneous information from the federal Obamacare exchange earlier this year. Published March 20, 2015