Medicaid

Both Parties Seek to Energize Base Voters on Health Issues
As Republicans talk Obamacare repeal, Democrats re-emphasize top issue

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and other Democrats are seizing on comments by Republicans to put health care front and center as the election approaches. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats are seeking to energize their core supporters by repeating Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s remark this week that Republicans hope to revive a push to overhaul the 2010 health care law.

“McConnell gave us a gift,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer told MSNBC on Friday. “That’s a game-changer when he shows who he is and wants to really hurt people on health care.”

Poll: Health Care a Top Issue For Midterm Voters
Both nationally and in Florida and Nevada, voters focused on health care

Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., right, and Bill Nelson, D-Fla., are running for re-election amid a national electorate focused on health care. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A majority of individuals rank health care as a “very important” issue in determining who they plan to vote for, according to a new poll that looks at prospective voters nationally as well as in two key battleground states.

Thirty percent of those polled nationally selected health care as the “most important” issue, outranking the economy, immigration, and gun policy, according to data from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

Democrats Spin McConnell Entitlement Comments Into Political Messaging
McConnell says Republicans cannot tackle program on their own but Democrats warn of GOP action

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., says a vote for the GOP is a vote to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, spinning Senate Majority McConnell’s comments that Republicans can’t execute that goal on their own. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats are spinning comments Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently made on overhauling entitlements to craft a political message that electing Republicans will lead to cuts in safety net programs. 

“Sen. McConnell gave the game up in his comment yesterday,” Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said on a press call Wednesday. “It was very clear from what he said that a vote for Republican candidates in this election is a vote to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. That’s what he said.”

GOP Ad Defends Rep. David Joyce on Health Care Protections
Ad doubles down on strategy to run Republican as health care centrist

Rep. David Joyce, R-Ohio, who has voted with his party multiple times to repeal the 2010 health care law, is depicted as a centrist on the issue in an ad released Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group supporting Rep. David Joyce is releasing an ad Tuesday touting the Ohio Republican’s commitment to “protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions.”

The $125,000 ad buy from Defending Main Street, the political arm of the Republican Main Street Partnership, doubles down on Joyce’s campaign strategy of painting the candidate as an independent voice who has bucked his party on health care and who has “stood up to President Trump.” 

Fiscal 2018 Deficit Clocks In at $779 Billion, White House Reports
Largest hole in six years, executive branch finds

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney testifies before a House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee hearing in Rayburn Building on the FY2019 Budget for OMB on April 18, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The federal government ran a $779 billion deficit in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the largest budget shortfall in six years, the White House reported Monday.

The official deficit tally for fiscal 2018 marked a $113 billion increase from the previous year and accounted for 3.9 percent of gross domestic product, an increase of 0.4 percentage points. The report confirms the third consecutive fiscal year of rising deficits despite a strong economy. 

Three States Get Ready to Vote on Abortion
Oregon, Alabama and West Virginia have measures on the ballot

Students protest abortion outside the Supreme Court in June. When voters in three states go to the polls this November, they’ll see abortion initiatives on the ballot. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Oregon, Alabama and West Virginia voters will face separate ballot initiatives next month aimed at restricting abortion access in those states.

These initiatives fit into a larger fight over abortion that continues to heat up. Anti-abortion advocates hope that changes at the state level can be used as test cases and later implemented more broadly, while abortion rights advocates hope to defeat them. A particularly contentious ballot initiative can be used as a messaging move to drive voters to the polls in tight elections such as this fall’s West Virginia Senate race.

Words and Deeds Can Come Back to Haunt Incumbents in Tight Races
Yoder, McCaskill and others face attacks on past votes, policy positions

Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., now finds himself in a “Tilts Democratic” race in Kansas’ 3rd District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Incumbency comes with benefits, but in a throw-the-bums-out kind of year, it also offers sitting lawmakers one potential major disadvantage on the campaign trail: a voting record on Capitol Hill.

Political opponents can, and do, weaponize one vote, one position on a hot-button policy such as health care, tax or immigration. They might target a pattern of partisanship or, more importantly this year, support for an unpopular president.

Health Care Exchange Premiums Dip, Finally
After steep increases in 2017 and 2018, states on the exchanges see a decline of 1.5 percent

Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, says the lower premiums are “encouraging,” but that the health care law is set up to fail over time. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Health insurance premiums in the 39 states that use HealthCare.gov will fall 1.5 percent on average for the most commonly purchased plans in 2019, marking the first time that rates have dropped since the 2010 health care law was implemented.

The decline is a significant departure from steep increases in 2017 and 2018. Premiums for HealthCare.gov plans grew by an average of 37 percent for plans this year, after rising by 25 percent the year before, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Thursday.

New York Race Spotlights National Clash Over Health Care
Issue has shaped 19th District race between Faso and Delgado

Protesters stand outside of GOP Rep. John Faso’s Kingston, N.Y. office on Sept. 21. (Bridget Bowman/CQ Roll Call)

KINGSTON, N.Y. — When Republicans tried to repeal the 2010 health care law last year, Democrats knew they had an issue that would define this election cycle. A year and a half later, health care is still dominating Democratic messaging.

Take New York’s 19th District, which stretches  where GOP freshman John J. Faso faces Democratic lawyer Antonio Delgado. 

It’s Baaaccck! Health Care Law Again Front and Center in Midterms
As voters worry about health care, Dems flip the pre-existing script

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., speaks at a July 19 press conference in the Capitol on pre-existing conditions. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Missouri Democratic senator Claire McCaskill is taking an approach in her fight for re-election that would have been unthinkable in her race six years ago — she’s defending the health care law.

The two-term, red-state senator has attacked her opponent, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, for joining a suit brought by conservative state officials seeking to overturn the law and has rebuked the Trump administration for undercutting its protections.