Congress

A reservoir project that could help address water challenges in the Everglades is one step closer to being built.

Congressional committees on Thursday approved a bill that, if passed, would authorize construction of a $1.4 billion water storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. The reservoir would help reduce water discharges from Lake Okeechobee that contribute to algae blooms on Florida’s coasts; it would also increase water flow south to Florida Bay.

Legislation that would allow terminally ill patients to get access to experimental drugs is headed to the president's desk.

The House on Tuesday passed a "right-to-try" bill that was approved by the Senate in 2017.

"People who are terminally ill should not have to go from country to country to find a cure," said Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, on the House floor Tuesday.

The bill, which President Trump is expected to sign, has patient advocates divided.

Congress Tackles The Opioid Epidemic. But How Much Will It Help?

Mar 20, 2018

The nation’s opioid epidemic has been called today’s version of the 1980s AIDS crisis.

The House overwhelmingly approved a bill to improve school safety Wednesday, the first gun-related action by Congress since the shooting that left 17 dead at a Florida high school.

It started as a bipartisan attempt to curb soaring health care premiums.

But Congress' effort to stabilize the nation's insurance markets is faltering amid escalating demands by each party and erratic positions by President Donald Trump. Democrats want bigger federal subsidies for consumers under President Barack Obama's health care law while Republicans, still fighting that statute, aim to relax its coverage requirements and win abortion restrictions.

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A leading House Democrat announced his opposition Monday to a Republican bill making it easier for some terminally ill patients to try experimental drugs, clouding the measure's fate.

A bipartisan group of senators and House members has been working since last summer toward measures to keep prices from rising out of control and undermining the individual market—the market that serves people who don't get insurance through work or through the government. Members hope to attach a package of fixes to what should be the year's final temporary spending bill, due late this month.

WMFE

After a 10-day break, members of Congress are returning to work under hefty pressure to respond to the outcry over gun violence. But no plan appears ready to take off despite a long list of proposals, including many from President Donald Trump.

Bipartisan Senate Budget Deal Boosts Health Programs

Feb 8, 2018
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In a rare show of bipartisanship for the mostly polarized 115th Congress, Republican and Democratic Senate leaders announced a two-year budget deal that would increase federal spending for defense as well as key domestic priorities, including many health programs.

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Buoyed by the sudden likelihood of a budget pact, lawmakers are on track to avoid a repeat of last month's government shutdown — though President Donald Trump unexpectedly raised the possibility of closing things down again if he can't have his way on immigration.

With the clock ticking on the current stopgap bill that funds the federal government through Feb. 8, Congress is steeling itself to consider another must-pass budget bill.

Once again, health care could be caught in the crosshairs.

During previous debates over government funding, it was the high-profile Children's Health Insurance Program that went months without reauthorization and became a bargaining chip. A deal in January extended it for six years.

A brief, partial shutdown of the federal government ended Monday, as the Senate and House approved legislation that would keep federal dollars flowing until Feb. 8, as well as fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program for the next six years.

Agency For Health Care Administration

The state is disputing a report that found funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program in Florida will run out in February if Congress doesn't act.

WMFE

Democrats are shifting to offense on health care, emboldened by successes in defending the Affordable Care Act. They say their goal is a government guarantee of affordable coverage for all.

Some states are facing a mid-January loss of funding for their Children's Health Insurance Program despite spending approved by Congress in late December that was expected to keep the program running for three months, federal health officials said Friday.

The $2.85 billion was supposed to fund states' CHIP programs through March 31. But some states will start running out of money after Jan. 19, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. CMS did not say which states are likely to be affected first.

U.S. Navy

Congress again failed to approve long-term funds for a popular program that provides health insurance for nearly 9 million low-income children, leaving each party blaming the other for Christmas-season gridlock and states scrambling to decide how to parcel out dwindling money.

Experts Tell Congress How To Cut Drug Prices

Dec 12, 2017
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The nation’s most influential science advisory group will tell Congress today that the U.S. pharmaceutical market is not sustainable and needs to change.

WMFE

Skeptical Democratic senators are getting a chance to question President Donald Trump's pick for health secretary about what he'll do about rising drug prices and the future of "Obamacare."

Several million people unlucky enough to face big medical bills not covered by their insurance would lose a valuable and versatile deduction under the House GOP tax bill. Groups representing older people and patients are trying to save it.

House OKs Children's Health Funds, But Obstacles Remain

Nov 5, 2017
WMFE

Legislation providing five more years of financing for an expired children's health program won House approval Friday, but a partisan battle over paying for the extension seemed certain to delay the bill in the Senate. Each side is using the fight to accuse the other of jeopardizing a program that serves more than 8 million low-income children.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Anxiety is high among leaders at community health centers after Congress failed to meet a deadline to reauthorize their funding over the weekend.


WMFE

One community health center in New York has frozen hiring. Another in Missouri can’t get a bank loan to expand.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Maine Republican Susan Collins have been talking to each other about ways of finding a breakthrough on health care reform, an issue that has deeply divided Congress along party lines.

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The Senate will move forward with a key vote this week on a Republican health bill but it's not yet known whether the legislation will seek to replace President Barack Obama's health care law or simply repeal it.

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House Democrats are calling foul on Republican assertions that cuts to a little-known discount drug program will eventually reduce skyrocketing drug prices.

Gage Skidmore (Flickr)

Less than six weeks after he helped revive a flagging House Republican health care bill and push it to passage, President Donald Trump now says the measure is "mean" and is asking GOP senators to make it more generous.

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More than $800 billion in cuts to Medicaid are wrapped into the health care reform bill that Senators are now considering.

Grassley, Chaffetz Send Fiery Response To HHS Memo

May 10, 2017

Two Republican congressmen are blasting a Department of Health and Human Services memo to division heads as a “potentially illegal and unconstitutional” infringement on whistleblowers’ rights to call attention to waste, fraud and abuse in the executive branch.

Lawmakers returning to Washington this week will find a familiar quagmire on health care legislation and a budget deadline dramatized by the prospect of a protracted battle between President Donald Trump and Democrats over his border wall.

Florida Governor Rick Scott says Republicans should start chipping away at eliminating the Affordable Care Act. He spoke to Fox News after attending a White House bill signing.

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