Medicare

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. 

What’s Missing in the Health Care Debate?
By focusing on costs, we ignore the issues of health care quality and innovation

The push for single-payer health care ignores the impact it would have on innovation, Winston writes. Above, a Bernie Sanders staffers sets up for an event to introduce the senator’s “Medicare for All” legislation last year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — The drumbeat on the left for single-payer health care is getting louder, pushed by Democratic luminaries and congressional hopefuls, all trying to make it a major issue this fall. 

That’s no surprise. Health care as a political and policy issue has been a front-burner concern for almost a decade, with both parties failing to find a solution that addresses access, quality and affordability.

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.

Drug Prices Could Become a Divisive Issue for Democrats
Internal tensions over Big Pharma could be on full display next Congress

Divisions among Democrats over the pharmaceutical industry could hurt their party’s efforts to address high drug costs if they win a majority next year. (Courtesy iStock)

Democrats are making the cost of prescription drugs a pillar of the party’s health care agenda in the midterms, but if they win a majority for the 116th Congress, the party will have to grapple with internal divisions over the issue that might be magnified next year.

This campaign season has been notable for candidates pushing the party to reject corporate influence. For emboldened progressive Democrats, the party’s current plans might not be enough. Their views compete with those of new candidates from politically moderate areas with a big pharmaceutical industry presence that might be more inclined to join with longtime incumbents who sympathize more with the industry’s perspective.

Rap and Upstate New York Roots Rankle Must-Win Race for Democrats
Democrat Antonio Delgado is taking on GOP Rep. John Faso

Democrat Antonio Delgado talks with supporters at the Cauliflower Festival in Margaretville, N.Y., on Sept. 22. (Bridget Bowman/CQ Roll Call)

BOVINA, N.Y. — The Democrats gathered outside the farmhouse knew exactly where Antonio Delgado was going with this. 

“Some of you might have heard of my career, at least one of my careers, after law school,” he said on a recent Saturday, drawing laughs. People across the country have heard about it, too.

House Democrats, Republicans Unite Behind Opioids Bill
Bipartisan measure now heads to the Senate

Oxycodone pain pills prescribed for a patient with chronic pain lie on display in Norwich, Conn. (John Moore/Getty Images)

The House passed consensus legislation, 393-8, on Friday intended to help combat the opioid crisis. The legislative compromise was finalized earlier this week, and now heads to the Senate for a final vote.

The two chambers came to an agreement on Tuesday, but made additional changes to the bill after the Congressional Budget Office initially estimated that the bill would increase the deficit by $44 million over the next 10 years.

Kavanaugh Nomination Fate Is Still the Superunknown
Supreme Court battle is still a ways from being over

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our newsletter here.

Well, that was a day. The lengthy hearing featuring testimony and questioning of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused him of sexual assault, has resulted in Republicans’ decision to go ahead with a confirmation vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday

A New York Republican in Trump Country Fights for Survival
Rep. Claudia Tenney is among the most vulnerable incumbents

New York Rep. Claudia Tenney speaks at a GOP picnic in Homer on Sunday. (Bridget Bowman/CQ Roll Call)

HOMER, N.Y. — Claudia Tenney had a dire message for her fellow Republicans. 

“Today, the chaos of the Democratic Party is about taking away your rights, whether it’s Second Amendment, First Amendment, you name it,” the freshman congresswoman said at a Cortland County GOP picnic here Sunday. “It’s about creating chaos.”