Veterans Circle The Wagons Around Shulkin Even As Trump’s Frustration Bubbles Over Into Public Sphere
For now Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin's job seems to be safe because of his powerful supporters. And the fact that no one else really wants the job.
Trump Administration Dials Back Shulkin Firing Rumors — For Now
President Donald Trump may be itching to fire him, but Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin has the support of GOP lawmakers and veterans, and the lack of a preferred successor may keep him at the agency’s helm at least for now. Trump’s consternation with Shulkin bubbled over Monday, as he was meeting with Energy Secretary Rick Perry and planning Rex Tillerson’s ouster from the State Department. Trump didn’t offer Perry the job, nor did he ask if Perry wanted it, but the events prompted speculation that a major Cabinet shakeup was in the works. (Woellert and Allen, 3/14)
In other national health care news —
The New York Times:
Trump’s Vow To Make More Federal Benefits Depend On Having A Job Faces An Uncertain Future
In his State of the Union speech two months ago, President Trump vowed to end welfare as he defined it, heralding a plan to force recipients off federal housing vouchers, food assistance and Medicaid if they were not willing to do “a hard day’s work.” Days before the speech, as part of the plan, several federal departments took steps to impose the stricter work requirements on able-bodied adults receiving noncash aid. The move could result in the loss of subsistence benefits for as many as four million poor, single adults over the next few years, experts say. (Thrush, 3/15)
Head Of Major Insurer Lobby Stepping Down After Turbulent Term
Marilyn Tavenner is stepping down after three tumultuous years at the helm of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a K Street powerhouse that's seen its influence decline as Washington grew more hostile to Obamacare. Tavenner oversaw AHIP as Republicans took full control of the federal government, hellbent on dismantling the 2010 health care law. The industry group was forced to take on that fight with diminished resources, with three of the country’s largest insurers — UnitedHealth Group, Aetna and Humana — dropping out of the organization in recent years. AHIP spent $6.5 million on lobbying last year — a nearly 40 percent decline from four years earlier. (Demko, 3/14)
The New York Times:
Hepatitis C Drugs Save Lives. Sick Prisoners May Never Find Out.
Any national campaign to eliminate hepatitis C, an insidious virus that kills tens of thousands of Americans a year, would almost certainly involve prisons. One in seven state inmates are believed to be infected, and the regimented environment of a prison has its advantages when it comes to screening and treatment.The problem is, the drugs that effectively cure the disease are priced in the tens of thousands of dollars — far more than prisons can pay. In 2015, state corrections departments were treating less than 1 percent of those inmates known to be infected, a survey found. (Alcorn, 3/15)
Exit Poll Shows Health Care A Top Issue In Pa. Special Election
The majority of voters in Tuesday’s special election in Pennsylvania considered health care to be one of the most important issues in deciding who to vote for, according to an exit poll released Wednesday. For 52 percent of voters, health care was ranked as a top issue when deciding who to vote for, while 19 percent said it wasn’t at all important to them, according to Public Policy Polling, a Democratic polling firm. (Hellmann, 3/14)