Jul 20, 2017

Watchdog group sues for administration letter to Freedom Caucus

C.B. Schmelter/Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP

A watchdog group is suing the Trump administration to force the release of a letter to the House Freedom Caucus that might have outlined the regulatory steps the administration can take to loosen the Affordable Care Act's insurance rules. The lawsuit, to be filed by American Oversight in federal district court this afternoon, seeks the release of a March 23 letter administration officials reportedly gave to the Freedom Caucus to win its support for the House's health care bill, one day before leadership pulled that bill from the floor.

Why it matters: If the letter does exist — and if the group wins its release under the Freedom of Information Act — it could shed light on what kind of regulatory flexibility the Department of Health and Human Services thinks it can provide without any legislative changes. And that could be relevant if the Senate can't revive the stalled ACA repeal-and-replace bill, because then HHS would be sure to pursue those regulatory changes on its own.

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Coronavirus stress tests drug industry's dependence on China

A Hong Kong commuter wears a face mask. Photo: Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

It's unclear whether the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus will actually result in prescription drug shortages, but it has undoubtedly highlighted the potential vulnerabilities of having the supply chain for American drugs so dependent on China.

Driving the news: About 150 prescription drugs — including antibiotics, generics and some branded drugs without alternatives — are at risk of shortage if the coronavirus outbreak in China worsens, per two sources familiar with a list of at-risk drugs compiled by the Food and Drug Administration.

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Bernie's path to the presidency

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks yesterday during a rally at Houston University. Photo: Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images

Lots of Democrats are in full panic that Bernie Sanders will win the nomination and get clobbered in the general election — and bring the party down, too. But the evidence, particularly the polling, doesn't back those doomsday warnings.

Why it matters: Virtually every national and swing state poll shows Sanders tied with or beating President Trump.  And, unlike every rival, he has a huge base of fervent, unshakable supporters he can only grow.

These swing voters don't like Trump’s environmental rollbacks

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Swing voters in four battleground states decisively oppose President Trump’s sweeping rollbacks of environmental regulations — but it’s unlikely to sway their votes.

Why it matters: It’s voters living in states like these, including Florida and Pennsylvania, who fill pivotal roles electing America’s presidents, so we should listen.