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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.

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

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra blasted his former congressional colleague, House Speaker Paul Ryan, who suggested that President Donald Trump's lack of political experience helps explain his questionable interactions with James Comey when he was FBI director, during an interview with The Associated Press, Friday, June 9, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif. Becerra labeled Ryan an "accomplice" for defending what he termed Trump's incompetence or dereliction of his presidential duties. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Appeals court says state AGs can intervene in Obamacare payment case

Democratic state attorneys general can intervene in a court case over critical Obamacare payments that President Trump has threatened to cut off, a federal appeals court said Tuesday, finding the states demonstrated the risk of premium hikes and an uptick in the number of uninsured people seeking expensive care at state-funded hospitals. Published August 1, 2017

President Donald Trump speaks before bestowing the nation's highest military honor, the Medal of Honor, to retired Army medic James McCloughan during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, Monday, July 31, 2017, at Washington. McCloughan is credited with saving the lives of members of his platoon nearly 50 years ago in the Battle of Nui Yon Hill in Vietnam. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Cutting off Obamacare reimbursements would harm Trump's image, say experts

President Trump has renewed his threat to yank critical Obamacare reimbursements from health insurers but experts said it's likely an empty gesture, insisting that if he does cut off the payments it would leave the markets even wobblier — and the GOP would get the blame. Published July 31, 2017