Health Care

Trump Blindsides Advisers with Promised Opioid Plan

President Trump “overrode his own advisers when he promised to deliver an emergency declaration next week to combat the nation’s worsening opioid crisis,” Politico reports.

“Blindsided officials are now scrambling to develop such a plan, but it is unclear when it will be announced, how or if it will be done, and whether the administration has the permanent leadership to execute it.”

“Trump’s off-script statement stunned top agency officials, who said there is no consensus on how to implement an emergency declaration for the drug epidemic.”

Senators Urge Trump to Back Bipartisan Health Deal

“Key Senate Republicans are urgently trying to get President Trump to reconsider his apparent opposition to a bipartisan deal shoring up health insurance markets,” Politico reports.

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who negotiated the deal with Democratic Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), both spoke to the president about it on Wednesday evening.

Said Graham: “You can’t save Obamacare but you can keep the markets from collapsing until we get a replacement, which will be Graham-Cassidy … I just don’t see a transition to Obamacare to a block grant that doesn’t require at least a couple years to implement.”

Bipartisan Health Bill Not Dead Yet

Sam Baker: “Yes, the Senate’s bipartisan Affordable Care Act bill ran into some political roadblocks yesterday. The White House said President Trump, who had taken several positions over the course of the day, is against it. House Speaker Paul Ryan is also against it. And conservatives are against it.”

“The story of the Alexander-Murray bill likely won’t be over until December, when Congress has to take care of several must-pass bills, in negotiations where Democrats have a lot of leverage. The December agenda already includes funding the government and raising the debt ceiling — must-pass items that can only pass with a lot of Democratic votes, just like Alexander-Murray.”

Ryan Does Not Support Bipartisan Health Bill

Speaker Paul Ryan’s press secretary told Axios that despite the bipartisan push behind the Alexander-Murray health bill, “The speaker does not see anything that changes his view that the Senate should keep its focus on repeal and replace of Obamacare.”

“This is a huge setback for the bill. Even if the measure can get 60 votes in the Senate, it still needs to pass the House. With Ryan against it, the odds of it passing aren’t looking good.”

Trump Changes Mind on Bipartisan Health Plan

“A bipartisan Senate deal to curb the growth of health insurance premiums is reeling after President Trump reversed course and opposed the agreement and top congressional Republicans and conservatives gave it a frosty reception,” the AP reports.

Trump said that “while I commend” the work by the two senators, “I continue to believe Congress must find a solution to the Obamacare mess instead of providing bailouts to insurance companies.”

Senators Reach Deal to Stabilize Obamacare

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said that he and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) have reached a bipartisan deal to stabilize the Affordable Care Act, the New York Times reports.

The deal would extend key Obamacare payments to insurers for two years and give states more flexibility to change Obamacare rules.

Said Alexander: “This takes care of the next two years. After that, we can have a full-fledged debate on where we go long-term on health care.”

President Trump called it a “good short term solution.”

Trump Said to Urge Bipartisan Health Care Deal

President Trump urged Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) “to seek out an Obamacare deal with Democrats — encouragement that might help sway Republicans who are skeptical of a bipartisan agreement,” Politico reports.

“Alexander said Trump told him by phone Oct. 14 he’d like to see a bill that funds the Obamacare cost-sharing subsidies that he abruptly cut off last week. In return, he wants to see ‘meaningful flexibility for the states in providing more choices.'”

Health Care Back on the Congressional Agenda

“The Senate this week will grapple with President Trump’s decision to stop making subsidy payments to health insurers, with lawmakers seeking a deal that would keep the money flowing while Republicans try to fold in conservative-oriented health-care priorities,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“It remains unclear whether a package could emerge that attracts support from a critical mass of senators and also from House Republicans. That could be put to the test quickly, as Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA.) are expected to introduce a plan within days and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) unveils his own, more-conservative-leaning version.”

Playbook: “Republicans at the White House and in Hill leadership stopped the bipartisan process last time around, hoping that Congress would fully repeal the health care law. Now that full repeal is all but dead, will leaders give the bipartisan approach the green light?”

How Congress Derailed the DEA’s War on Opiods

Washington Post: “In April 2016, at the height of the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history, Congress effectively stripped the Drug Enforcement Administration of its most potent weapon against large drug companies suspected of spilling prescription narcotics onto the nation’s streets.”

“By then, the opioid war had claimed 200,000 lives, more than three times the number of U.S. military deaths in the Vietnam War. Overdose deaths continue to rise. There is no end in sight.”

“A handful of members of Congress, allied with the nation’s major drug distributors, prevailed upon the DEA and the Justice Department to agree to a more industry-friendly law, undermining efforts to stanch the flow of pain pills, according to an investigation by the Washington Post and 60 Minutes. The DEA had opposed the effort for years.”

Trump Health Care Attacks Worry Republicans

President Trump “lit a fuse this week that will blow a hole in the Affordable Care Act, but the collateral damage could very well include fellow Republicans,” the Boston Globe reports.

“The step also heightens the risk that Republicans will be blamed for higher costs and other market disruptions stemming from Trump’s administrative assaults on the health care law, which was President Obama’s signature accomplishment.”

Los Angeles Times: “Trump move threatens to deliver chaos to health care: Insurance markets are expected to raise premiums sharply after key cost-sharing subsidies are blocked.”

For members: Why Trump’s Sabotage of Obamacare Will Backfire