Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Likely Chairman Of House Judiciary Committee To Probe Justice Department’s Decision Not To Defend Health Law

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The Justice Department’s decision earlier in the year not to defend the ACA against a suit challenging the law’s constitutionality prompted three Justice Department career attorneys to withdraw from the case. Now Rep Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) says the House Judiciary Committee will investigate the department’s refusal to defend a federal statute.

Allowing Medicare To Negotiate Drug Prices Is A Top Priority, Says Likely Chairman Of Energy And Commerce Committee

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Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) says fast-tracking generic drug approvals is also on the agenda. Meanwhile, the Trump administration moves forward with ideas to curb high drug prices — specifically plans that don’t need congressional approval. And, Michigan’s Medicaid program is granted a waiver to pay for drugs based in part on how well they work.

With Congressional Gridlock Expected For Foreseeable Future, Look To States For Health Care Action

KHN Morning Briefing

While Medicaid expansion was the big winner in the midterms, states have been taking up the reins on other issues such as prescription drug prices, as well. With a split Congress, that might be where most of the movement is in the next two year. Meanwhile, Gov.-elect Laura Kelly’s decisive five-point win in Kansas has made longtime Medicaid expansion advocates optimistic that they can get it signed into law during the 2019 legislative session after years of opposition from Kelly’s Republican predecessors. News comes out of Louisiana, as well.

Lawmakers Campaigned On Promises To Curb High Drug Prices. Now This Coalition Is Holding Them To It.

KHN Morning Briefing

The initial ads from Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing will focus on insulin costs, and feature a man with diabetes penning a letter pleading with his congressman to follow through on a pledge to lower drug costs. “In your campaign, you said you would act,” the man reads aloud to an unspecified lawmaker. “You said you would do something about drug prices. Keep your commitment: hold Big Pharma accountable.”

Veterans Committee Dems Vow To Investigate Reports Of ‘Shadow Rulers’ Exerting Influence On VA Decision-Making

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One of the concerns of the next leaders of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee are reports about three members of President Donald Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago resort — Bruce Moskowitz, Ike Perlmutter and Marc Sherman — steering VA policy and personnel decisions. Meanwhile, the likely new chairwoman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee is emphasizing the importance of respecting science as she seeks the position.

Although Medicaid Wasn’t On Ballot In Kansas And Wisconsin, New Governors Give Democrats Hope For More Victories

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Kansas Gov.-elect Laura Kelly and Wisconsin Gov.-elect Tony Evers, both Democrats who flipped seats from Republicans, vowed in their campaigns to expand Medicaid coverage. They might be aided by the momentum of ballot success in other states, but they do face headwinds in their legislatures. News on Medicaid comes out of North Carolina and Florida, as well.

Rep. Elijah Cummings Has Been A Thorn In Pharma’s Side For Years. Now He’s Poised To Take Over Powerful Oversight Committee.

KHN Morning Briefing

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) is expected to take up the gavel of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which will give him authority to haul drugmakers in front of Congress to question them on high prices. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies are already getting nervous about a potentially relationship between House Democrats and President Donald Trump over the issue.

House Democrats Already Mulling Vote To Intervene In Lawsuit Against Health Law

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The potential vote would serve as an intervention in the lawsuit working its way through the courts that could effectively kill the health law. It would also force Republicans to go on record almost immediately against the popular provisions of the ACA, such as protections for preexisting conditions.

Elections Help Cement Health Law As Part Of National Landscape, But Changes Still Lie Ahead

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Health care was the No. 1 issue among many voters this election, according to a recent survey, and the results seem to speak to the health law’s growing popularity in recent years. And with Democrats in control of the House, Republicans will be unable to move forward with any lingering plans for repeal. Meanwhile, ballot measures in several red states and a switch in leadership in Maine could mean that Medicaid could see its biggest boost in enrollment since expansion began. It’s not all rosy for the program though: some results could chip away at gains already made in Alaska and Montana.

Health Care Stocks Soar As Threat To Health Law Fades With Democrats’ House Victory

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Analysts have called a split Congress the best case scenario for the marketplace. “We expect to see legislative deadlock for the next two years, with an uptick in House hearings and political posturing while President Trump continues to push his agenda through executive action and the judiciary,” Leerink analyst Ana Gupte said.

In Florida Races, The Might Of The NRA Was Pitted Against Vocal Gun Safety Movement Led By Parkland Students

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The gun safety movement was unable to turn the tide in some key races in Florida, but the Parkland students say they are encouraged by how close some of the results were. “Things didn’t necessarily go our way but we know that this is the start, that it’s going to be a long road,” one of the most vocal students, David Hogg, said on Wednesday. “The Florida elections were very close, which is encouraging. For us, the loss in Florida is a call to action.”

How Did Progressive Measures Like Medicaid Expansion Pass In Deeply Red States? Strip Away The Partisan Labels

KHN Morning Briefing

This election delivered wins on more liberal ballot measures even in states where voters elected politicians with deeply conservative views. The dissonance could show a way forward for advocates looking to focus on policy rather than politics. “Americans want everyone to make a living wage and be able to go to the doctor when they got sick,” said Jonathan Schleifer, executive director of the Fairness Project. “Ballot initiatives shows there’s an agenda that can bring people together across party lines.”