Mar 28, 2019 - Health

Trump's health agenda gets boxed in

illustration of trump backed in a t corner of a room

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's health care agenda is making more enemies than friends, hitting brick walls and fierce opposition in the courts, in Congress and even within his own administration.

Driving the news: Yesterday was a bad day for two of Trump's biggest health care priorities.

  • A federal judge slapped down the administration's approval of Medicaid work requirements — arguably the biggest change it has actually made to health policy so far.
  • Some congressional Republicans, meanwhile, are quietly (and not-so-quietly) hoping the administration will also lose the separate lawsuit in which it's trying to get the Affordable Care Act thrown out.

The big picture: These are different kinds of setbacks, and there's still a long way to go in all of these legal proceedings. But together, the crosswinds — the political resistance on one side and substantive losses on the other — leave Trump's agenda in a precarious place.

This will keep happening. The administration appears close to finalizing the part of its drug-pricing plan that calls for including drugs' sticker prices in their TV ads. The pharmaceutical industry will likely challenge that proposal in court.

  • Another component on drug prices — the plan to tie Medicare payments for certain drugs to the prices European countries pay — is still a hard sell for some conservatives on Capitol Hill.
  • They are giving the administration the benefit of the doubt now, but — as we're beginning to see with the ACA lawsuit — the benefit of the doubt doesn't always last forever.

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