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Health Care Reform

News coverage, opinion and information on health care reform and health care policy including the Affordable Care Act.

Former New York City Mayor and United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Action Michael Bloomberg speaks at World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings, in Washington, in this Thursday, April 19, 2018, file photo. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

Michael Bloomberg announces $50 million to fight opioid epidemic

By Dino Hazell - Associated Press

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's charity has announced a $50 million donation to help fight the nation's opioid epidemic. Published November 30, 2018

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Former President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign rally for Democratic candidates Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Trump administration seeks dismissal of cities' Obamacare lawsuit

Associated Press

The Trump administration is seeking to dismiss a lawsuit filed by several cities for allegedly sabotaging the Affordable Care Act. The Daily Record reports that the defendants argued in a motion filed Monday that the dispute is a political disagreement outside federal court's jurisdiction.

Pfizer said its system's rebates and discounts rise just as fast for patients. "We believe the best means to address affordability of medicines is to reduce the growing out-of-pocket costs that consumers are facing due to high deductibles and coinsurance, and ensure that patients receive the benefit of rebates at the pharmacy counter," said CEO Ian C. Read. (Associated Press)

Big Pharma's return to business as usual galvanizes Trump administration, divided Congress

- The Washington Times

President Trump was riding high in July after a series of strident tweets and personal phone calls paid off: Pfizer, a top drug manufacturer, had decided to defer price increases for the rest of the year. He called it "great news" for American consumers, and other companies followed suit. They froze their prices while the White House worked on a prescription-pricing blueprint. But with New Year's Day looming, the freeze is thawing.

Police change tactics to battle opioid crisis

- The Washington Times

The surge of powerful opioids and record number of deadly overdoses are forcing law enforcement to change the way they do their jobs, adding social work and education to their traditional role of crime-fighting as they scramble to combat the threat.

In this April 10, 2018, file photo, a high school principal displays vaping devices that were confiscated from students in such places as restrooms or hallways at the school in Massachusetts. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

U.S. surgeon general warns of teen risks from e-cigarettes

- Associated Press

The government's top doctor is taking aim at the best-selling electronic cigarette brand in the U.S., urging swift action to prevent Juul and similar vaping brands from addicting millions of teenagers.

HealthCare.gov signups 500K behind last year's pace

- The Washington Times

Roughly 500,000 fewer people have selected coverage on the main Obamacare website than at this point last year, the administration reported Wednesday, meaning sign-ups continue to lag heading into the final days of 2019 enrollment.

"Health care was on the ballot, and health care won," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, about the midterm election. (Associated Press)

McConnell: GOP hopes to ax Obamacare are gone

- The Washington Times

The Senate's top Republican admitted Wednesday that the party's hopes for repealing Obamacare are dead in Congress after Democrats captured control of the House, leaving in place a law that few think is working.

This Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, photo shows supporters of a Montana ballot initiative to extend the state's Medicaid expansion program and raise tobacco taxes rally in Helena, Mont. (AP Photo/Matt Volz)

Three deep-red states vote to expand Medicaid

- The Washington Times

Three ruby-red states voted Tuesday to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, meaning more than 300,000 people will be eligible for taxpayer-funded insurance once Republican governors begin drawing down federal funds.

Illustration on drug pricing by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Seeking clarity on drug pricing

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar wants to make prescription drug pricing more transparent. We agree, but his well-intentioned plan will only confuse and mislead consumers. What's the good of listing drug prices in advertising if almost no one pays that "list price?" When patients say, "My drugs are too expensive," they're not talking about the list price — they're talking about their co-pays at the pharmacy.

President Donald Trump sits with Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the FBI National Academy graduation ceremony in Quantico, Va., on Dec. 15, 2017. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Trump: No heads-up from Sessions on Obamacare position

- The Washington Times

Two months after oral arguments, a federal judge hasn't said whether a Republican tweak to Obamacare should stop the entire program in its tracks, pushing an explosive fight over the law beyond the midterms and forcing voters to decide which party can be trusted to balance protections for pre-existing conditions with affordable coverage.

Synagogue Stained Glass Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Issues that dominate the midterms

Several issues dominate the midterm elections this week: The roaring economy, migrant caravans on a mysteriously swift journey to the United States, health care reform and leftist mobs protesting almost nonstop.

In this June 26, 2018, file photo, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. A DEA report obtained by The Associated Press shows heroin, fentanyl and other opioids continue to be the highest drug threat in the nation. The National Drug Threat Assessment will be released publicly later Friday.  Azar said earlier this month that overdose deaths have now begun to level off. But he cautioned it is too soon to declare victory. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Feds say heroin, fentanyl remain biggest drug threat to U.S.

- Associated Press

Opioid overdose deaths hit the highest level ever recorded in the United States last year, with an estimated 200 people dying per day, according to a report by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

The federal website where consumers can sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is shown on a computer screen in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Federal health care website up and running after slow start

- Associated Press

The federal website where consumers can get health insurance under the Affordable Care Act was up and running Thursday after a slow start as sign-up season for 2019 opened days before the midterm elections.

This April 3, 2018, file photo shows a closeup of a beam scale in New York. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)

Obesity epidemic costs U.S. economy $1.72 trillion

- The Washington Times

The obesity epidemic in the U.S. has cost the U.S. economy $1.72 trillion, which includes hundreds of billions of dollars in health care costs and more than a trillion dollars in lost productivity, according to a report published Tuesday by the Milken Institute, a California-based economic think tank.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions accompanied by accompanied by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon, right, and other officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration, State Department, Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, speaks at a news conference to announce enforcement efforts against Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, at the Justice Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) ** FILE **

Justice Department announces new measures to fight opioids

- The Washington Times

The Justice Department will create a task force to target prescription opioid abuse in the Appalachian region, as part of a series of measures to fight a drug epidemic that has claimed the lives of 72,000 Americans, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday.

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Chart to accompany Moore article of June 4, 2018.

Eight reasons to still hate Obamacare

Remember Obamacare? The fight is far from over on the future of the Obama-era health insurance overhaul. Republicans are making a list-ditch effort this year to turn the program and the money over to the state. This isn't full Obamacare repeal, but would make a world of sense because states would be free to experiment and find ways to reduce costs and provide better services.

Opioid treatment gap in Medicare: Methadone clinics

- Associated Press

One in three older Americans with Medicare drug coverage is prescribed opioid painkillers, but for those who develop a dangerous addiction there is one treatment Medicare won't cover: methadone.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., flanked by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., right, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., left, speaks to reporters as they faced assured defeat on the Graham-Cassidy bill, the GOP's latest attempt to repeal the Obama health care law, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, in Washington. The decision marked the latest defeat on the issue for President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Republican-controlled Congress. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Another funeral for repeal and replace

The Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare was dead and buried. The eulogies, such as they were, were over and the Health Care Freedom Act of 2017 was dispatched to a forgettable corner of the graveyard. But when a couple of senators noticed a twitch and heard a groan they pulled it out of its coffin and called the medics.

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From The Vault

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at the National Sheriffs' Association convention in New Orleans, Monday, June 18, 2018, in this file photo. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) **FILE**

Sessions announces biggest health-fraud takedown 'in history'

- The Washington Times

Federal agents carried out the biggest health care fraud takedown "in history" on Thursday, the Department of Justice said, charging more than 600 people across the country with bilking taxpayers for $2 billion through fake medical claims and prescriptions for unneeded opioids.

President Donald Trump speaks during an event about prescription drug prices with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, right, in the Rose Garden of the White House, Friday May 11, 2018, in Washington  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Trump vows to end 'rip-offs' at the pharmacy counter

- The Washington Times

President Trump said Friday he will put "American patients first" by speeding cheaper drugs to market, forcing companies to disclose prices and leveraging trade deals to put U.S. consumers on a level playing field with those abroad.

In this Wednesday, April 5, 2017, file photo, Dr. Scott Gottlieb speaks during his confirmation hearing before a Senate committee, in Washington, as President Donald Trump's nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Feds take on clinical, commercial roots of opioids crisis

- The Washington Times

Food and Drug Administrator Scott Gottlieb said Thursday his agency will be "very aggressive" in warning consumers about opioid-related products or taking them off the market, noting for too long, people thought the U.S. drug epidemic was welling up from the illicit heroin market.

This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

Senators, agencies plot ways to head off opioids addiction

- The Washington Times

Government officials on Thursday said they're scrambling to keep Americans from getting hooked on opioids in the first place, from cutting the number of pills in circulation to crafting drugs that attack pain without triggering brain receptors that crave another high.

This image provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services shows what the new Medicare cards will look like. The cards are getting a makeover to fight identity theft. No more Social Security numbers will be placed on the card. Next April, Medicare will begin mailing every beneficiary a new card with a unique new number to identify them. (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services via AP)

Medicare to issue new cards in anti-fraud measure

- The Washington Times

Medicare enrollees will receive brand-new cards that replace their Social Security numbers with unique IDs, the Trump administration said Thursday, hoping to crack down on the type of identity theft and fraud that's soaking the federal insurance program.

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Obama chats up health care

Obama chats up health care

Gallery: 6 Photos
President Obama speaks about the Patient's Bill of Rights and health care reform in the backyard of a private residence in Falls Church, Va.