What We're Reading: Democrats to Run on Healthcare; Va. State Budget; Title X Changes

Democrats are eager to run on healthcare in the 2018 midterm elections; the Virginia State Senate convened for a procedural move that put the state budget bill before the finance committee as a battle over Medicaid expansion continued; in separate letters sent to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, more than 200 Democratic lawmakers from the House and Senate warned against making changes to a federal family planning program for low-income Americans,

Democrats Eager to Seize on Healthcare as an Issue in 2018 Midterms

Democrats are eager to run on healthcare in the 2018 midterm elections, seeing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as an advantage as it has grown more popular in the wake of Republican efforts to repeal it, Politico reported. Democrats are also seizing the issue of rising prescription drug prices, another cost problem the public holds the GOP responsible for, according to polls.

Virginia State Senate Finance Panel Starts Talks on Budget Bill, Medicaid Expansion

The Virginia State Senate convened for a procedural move that put the state budget bill before the finance committee as a battle over Medicaid expansion continued. The panel is expected to vote on the bill at a meeting Tuesday or Wednesday, The Washington Post reported. Dozens of healthcare advocates staged a “die-in” by sprawling on Capitol Square. The state needs a budget in place by July 1 to avoid a government shutdown.

Democrats Warn Trump Administration About Family Planning Changes

In separate letters sent to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, more than 200 Democratic lawmakers from the House and Senate warned against making changes to a federal family planning program for low-income Americans, The Hill reported. Democrats argue these restrictions would be harmful for patients, especially those who go to Planned Parenthood. Anti-abortion groups and Republicans have urged the Trump administration to bring back regulations that banned organizations receiving Title X funding from promoting or referring patients for abortions. It would also require funding recipients have a physical and financial separation from abortion facilities.