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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.

In this image from video, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., speaks on the flood of the U.S. Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Sept. 17, 2018. McConnell says Republicans will review the sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh by the book with bipartisan interviews on the Judiciary Committee. (Senate Television via AP)

Senate passes sweeping bill to battle opioid epidemic

By Tom Howell Jr. - The Washington Times

A Senate riven by disputes on a Supreme Court pick set aside the sniping long enough Monday to approve legislation to combat the opioid epidemic by limiting the runaway flow of addictive pills, expanding treatment and giving inspectors new tools to root out deadly fentanyl in the mail stream. Published September 17, 2018

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This Feb. 2, 2017 file photo, shows used needles littering the ground along train tracks in Philadelphia's largest open air drug market in the Kensington section of the city.  (Michael Bryant/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP) **FILE**

Government survey finds progress in opioids fight

- The Washington Times

The number of people taking up heroin for the first time dropped by more than half in 2017 compared to the prior year, in a sign that prevention efforts may be taking hold, according to a government survey released Friday.

In this May 9, 2018, file photo, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is shown during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Sen. Joe Manchin shoots anti-Obamacare lawsuit in new ad

- The Washington Times

Eight years ago, Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia promised to "repeal the bad parts of Obamacare" in a special-election ad that features him touting his folksy bona fides and literally shooting a "cap and trade" bill designed to combat climate change.

Illustration by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Taking responsibility for the opioid crisis

America is in the midst of one of the worst drug epidemics in history. Unlike past crises, this one was fueled not just by illegal drugs peddled on the streets, but by the over-prescription of legal painkillers that sadly led many patients into a cycle of dependency and addiction.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., center, speaks after a caucus luncheon, with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., left, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The nightmare of 'Berniecare'

Were student members of the American Medical Association smoking something when they flacked a universal health care model at the AMA's meeting last June?

Stop Opioids Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Attacking the opioid crisis from all angles

In communities across the country, politicians at the federal, state and local levels are understandably putting solutions to the opioid epidemic at the top of their list of priorities.

Better Health Care Deal Illustration by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Providing better deals for health coverage

More than a dozen state attorneys general just sued the Department of Labor over a new rule that makes it easier for small businesses and self-employed individuals to form "association health plans." AHPs enable these firms and sole proprietors to band together to negotiate with insurers for better deals for health coverage.

Trump's cheaper short-term health plans have coverage gaps

- Associated Press

The Trump administration on Wednesday cleared the way for insurers to sell short-term health plans as a bargain alternative to pricey Obama-law policies for people struggling with high premiums.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo attends the ceremony marking Billy Joel's 100th performance at New York's Madison Square Garden, Wednesday, July 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) ** FILE **

Dozen blue states sue over Trump's 'association plans'

- The Washington Times

Democrats in a dozen states filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging President Trump's decision to let small employers and self-employed people pool together and buy health plans that are cheaper and cover fewer benefits than what Obamacare dictates.

Sunlight on the Research Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Congress calls for transparency in health funding

Justice Louis D. Brandeis in 1914 in a book about how banks used "other people's money" wrote the now famous phrase "Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants." That credo can be applied today to federal funding of heath studies.

This Oct. 25, 2011, file photo shows the logo of Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG on one of their buildings in Basel, Switzerland. (Georgios Kefalas/Keystone via AP, File)

Novartis joins Pfizer in deferring drug-price hikes

- The Washington Times

Novartis on Wednesday became the second major drug company to defer price increases in 2018, citing a "dynamic environment" in the U.S. as President Trump attempts to swat away critics and use market-based pressure to bring costs down.

An employee works among the shelves of the flagship Dougherty's Pharmacy in Preston Royal Village on Thursday, May 31, 2018, in Dallas. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

FDA pushes for more prescription drugs to be sold over-the-counter

- The Washington Times

The Trump administration said Tuesday that it is pushing to let consumers purchase more medicines without prescriptions, saying better labeling and digital apps that let patients "self-select" drugs would expand access to cholesterol-reducing pills, opioid overdose-reversing naloxone and other drugs.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (left) failed to divest himself of certain holdings, said the ethics office. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price squandered about $341,000 in government funds, according to the HHS inspector general's report. Mr. Price left his position last September.
testifies before a House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Space Subcommittee and House Armed Services Committee Strategic Forces Subcommittee joint hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Ross says he is selling off all his vast stock holdings after news reports raised questions about the timing of some of his stock transactions and he received a sharp reprimand from the chief federal ethics officer. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) (Associated Press photographs)

Price, Ross under fire for ethical lapses, travel costs, business holdings

- The Washington Times

Watchdogs fired a double-barrel shot at the Trump administration for ethical lapses last week, ruling the Health and Human Services Department should have stopped its former secretary's lavish travel plans, and that current Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross Jr. is financially entangled with businesses he shouldn't be.

Chart to accompany Moore article of July 16, 2018.

How Trump can lower drug prices

One of Donald Trump's more memorable promises on the campaign trail was to lower the cost of prescription drugs. Polls show this issue remains popular with Americans — especially lower-income families — who are worried about high drug prices.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, Texas Republican. (Associated Press/File)

House GOP debates Obamacare subsidies

- The Washington Times

With their Obama repeal efforts failed and with customers howling over rising costs, House Republicans went back to the drawing board Wednesday looking to come up with new solutions to boost consumer choices and free businesses from the 2010 law's punishments.

FILE - This Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017 file photo shows an arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen, also known as Percocet, in New York. Cities and counties of all sizes have sued companies that make and distribute prescription opioids. Among the plaintiffs so far: Philadelphia; the state of Ohio; Princeton, West Virginia; the Cherokee Nation; and a consortium of counties across Wisconsin. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)

Hundreds of Ohio Medicaid enrollees at risk of opioid overdose: HHS IG

- The Washington Times

Rogue prescribers and Medicaid "doctor shoppers" are using taxpayer-funded insurance to fuel the deadly opioid epidemic, according to a new audit Tuesday that found 1 in 6 people on Ohio's government-run health program for the poor were prescribed opioids and hundreds of them were at "serious risk" of overdosing.

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.

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

House passes sweeping opioids bill

- The Washington Times

The House passed a massive opioid bill Friday to expand treatment options, block the flow of deadly fentanyl into the U.S. and reduce the number of addictive pills in circulation -- an unusual display of bipartisanship in a bitter election year, even as Democrats grumbled that GOP leaders still aren't doing enough.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., pauses for reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) ** FILE **

Medicaid fraud exploded after Obamacare expansion: GOP report

- The Washington Times

Medicaid fraud has risen and bogus payments have more than doubled since Obamacare expanded the government's chief health insurance program for the poor, topping $37 billion a year, according to a new report released Wednesday by the Senate's chief watchdog committee.

Opioid Crisis Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Addressing a national health emergency

Very few places in America have been harder hit by the opioid crisis than the state of Ohio. According to CDC data, the Buckeye State ranked second, only behind neighboring West Virginia, in overdose death rates per 100,000 residents in 2016. Over the last few years these mortality rates have continued to climb, despite new restrictions on prescription painkillers and better treatment for those struggling with addiction. As we seek to address this national health emergency it's important to understand what is driving these overdose deaths and what can we do to stop it.

Recent Opinion Columns

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.

Recent Blog Entries

From The Vault

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.

President Barack Obama gestures as he answers questions during his news conference at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Lima, Peru, on Nov. 20, 2016. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Obama's IRS 'misled' Obamacare customers: Audit

- The Washington Times

The Obama administration "misled" Americans into thinking signing up for Obamacare would be cheaper than it really was, according to an inspector general's report Thursday that said the IRS dramatically understated the actual cost of enrolling.


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.