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Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at [email protected].

Articles by Tom Howell Jr.

First lady Melania Trump speaks at the White House Opioid Summit in the East Room of the White House, in Washington, Thursday, March 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

First lady: 'Much more work to be done' on opioid epidemic

First Lady Melania Trump kicked off an opioids summit Thursday by saying she is "so proud" of the administration's efforts to combat addiction but that far too many Americans still need treatment, a shoulder to cry on and belief they're not alone in the fight. Published March 1, 2018

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

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. Published March 1, 2018

Catherine Reviati reviews the different Affordable Care Act enrollment options, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, in Hialeah, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz) ** FILE **

Majority now favors Obamacare, poll shows

Obamacare has reached new heights of popularity, with a firm majority of Americans holding a favorable view of the health care law in a closely watched poll being released Thursday. Published March 1, 2018

"We're hopeful that [Mr. Trump] doesn't pass judgement," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said, adding he only defends Texas statutes he deems constitutional. "Certainly, the president has been very critical of Obamacare." (Associated Press)

Republican AGs to Trump: 'Let us win' Obamacare lawsuit

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, leading the latest attempt to kill Obamacare in the courts, said Tuesday the Trump administration should "let us win" instead of defending the program, saying a victory could be the spur that Congress needs to replace the 2010 law after several failures. Published February 27, 2018

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 unveil sequel to major 2016 opioids bill

A bipartisan crop of senators on Tuesday unveiled a sequel to landmark 2016 legislation that targeted the opioids crisis, saying Congress should make sure a brand-new batch of federal dollars are directed toward programs that work. Published February 27, 2018

States file lawsuit against revoking Obamacare rule

Twenty states filed a lawsuit Monday arguing the new law President Trump signed last year revoking Obamacare's individual mandate actually makes the rest of the 2010 health law unconstitutional as well. Published February 26, 2018

In this June 27, 2017, file photo, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, right, joined by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, left, speaks during a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Governors push for bipartisan middle ground on health care

Congress should restore contested Obamacare payments but let the states and private sector innovate to drive down costs, a trio of governors said Friday, stepping into the policy void left by a Congress deadlocked over fixing Obamacare. Published February 23, 2018

This Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, photo shows an arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen in New York. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison) ** FILE **

House panel pledges to make opioids its 'top priority'

Fighting the opioid epidemic will be the top priority for the House Energy and Commerce Committee over the next few months as Congress tries to put some substantive muscle behind President Trump's declaration of emergency on prescription painkiller and heroin abuse. Published February 22, 2018

In this Feb. 14, 2018 photo, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar attends a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the FY19 budget on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Trump administration is clearing the way for a lower-cost alternative to comprehensive medical insurance plans sold under former President Barack Obama's health care law.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

HHS looking to courts to settle illegal immigrant abortion rights

Health Secretary Alex M. Azar II said Tuesday that his department has a difficult balancing act when it comes to illegal immigrant girls seeking abortions, saying he has to balance their rights versus "as well as the interests of their unborn children." Published February 20, 2018

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar attends a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the FY19 budget, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) ** FILE **

Extended short-term insurance deals latest blow to Obamacare

The Trump administration said Tuesday it wants to let insurers sell "short-term" insurance policies that last up to year, expanding the range of cheaper options for people left behind by Obamacare while dealing a potential blow to the 2010 law's markets. Published February 20, 2018

FILE- In this Jan. 19, 2018, file photo, Del. Terry G. Kilgore, R-Scott, chairman of the House Commerce and Labor committee, listens during the floor session of the House at the state Capitol in Richmond, Va. Kilgore said Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, on the John Fredericks Show that he'd changed his mind after years of opposition to Medicaid expansion and now supports it. (Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP, File)

Medicaid expansion getting second look after work rule

GOP-led states that had been reluctant to expand Medicaid under President Obama are suddenly giving it another look after the Trump administration said last month they can require those on the program to also hold down jobs. Published February 19, 2018

"We're in the science business and the evidence-generating business, and so I will have our agency certainly be working in this field as they do across the whole broad spectrum of disease control and prevention," Trump health secretary Alex Azar told the House Energy and Commerce Committee. (Associated Press)

Trump administration stakes out bipartisan ground in gun debate

The Trump administration's health secretary said he is open to having the government study the roots of gun violence in the wake of the latest mass shooting at a high school, breaking with a long-held interpretation of federal law. Published February 15, 2018

Health officials encourage people to get flu shots, even though the vaccine has been shown to be about only 30 percent effective against the H3N2 strain. Health experts are struggling to determine why flu-like illness in increasing among younger people. (Associated Press)

Federal officials implore Americans to get flu vaccine

Adults who get the flu shot this year are 36 percent less likely to get the illness, federal scientists said Thursday, imploring Americans to get vaccinated even though it is late in a "scary" flu season. Published February 15, 2018

A Broward County sheriff's deputy escorts a protestor away from the door of the courtroom where a hearing was held for school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, at Broward County Court in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.  Cruz is accused of opening fire Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., killing more than a dozen people and injuring several.   (Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald via AP, Pool)

HHS secretary signals he's open to gun violence research

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar signaled Thursday he is open to researching gun violence, despite a legislative add-on that bars the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from promoting gun control. Published February 15, 2018

In this Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, file photo, a nurse prepares a flu shot at the Salvation Army in Atlanta. The U.S. government's Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, flu report showed the flu has further tightened its grip on the U.S. This season is now as intense as the swine flu epidemic nine years ago. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Senate Democrats call for $1B to develop a universal flu vaccine

Senate Democrats urged Congress Thursday to approve $1 billion over five years to develop a universal flu vaccine, saying the U.S. spends billions per year, anyway, to combat various strains that kill thousands of people each year. Published February 15, 2018