The Wall Street Journal - 14.09.2019 - 15.09.2019

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U.S. NEWS


crats who say the Trump admin-
istration is sabotaging the law.
The health of the ACA is
emerging as an important cam-
paign issue for Democratic presi-
dential candidates. Moderates
such as former Vice President
Joe Biden want to preserve and
build on the law. Sens. Bernie
Sanders of Vermont and Eliza-
beth Warren of Massachusetts
advocate scrapping it for a new
government health system
known as Medicare for All,
which would move every Ameri-
can to a government-run health
plan whether or not they have
coverage through their employer.
During Thursday’s presiden-
tial debate, Sen. Kamala Harris
of California criticized President
Trump for backing a lawsuit
from GOP-led states that would

invalidate the ACA, including
coverage protections for people
with pre-existing conditions.
“Let’s talk about the fact
that Donald Trump came into
office and spent almost the en-
tire first year of his term trying
to get rid of the Affordable
Care Act,” Ms. Harris said.
Democrats say Mr. Trump’s
actions, which included ending
billions of dollars in payments
to insurers, have reduced the
number of people seeking ACA
coverage, driving up costs.
“Nearly two million more peo-
ple went without health care last
year following President Trump
and Republicans’ relentless at-
tacks on families’ health care,”
Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of
Washington said Monday.
Mr. Trump is building his
campaign message around the
same administration actions
that Democrats say hurt the
ACA. His administration said it
has initiated changes that give
people more choice and return
policy decisions to states.
Officials pointed to initiatives
that include the expansion of
health plans that are cheaper but
don’t provide the health law’s
consumer protections, which the
officials say are expensive.
Officials also said their ac-
tions have helped stabilize the
ACA markets despite assertions
from Democrats and health-pol-
icy analysts that they have
rolled back the law.

A senior Trump administra-
tion health official blamed the
first increase in uninsured
Americans in a decade on the
Affordable Care Act, pushing
back against Democrats’ claims
in Thursday night’s debate that
the president is hurting the law.
The uptick is due to higher
premiums under the law that
have priced people without
subsidies out of the market,
Seema Verma, administrator of
the Centers for Medicare and
Medicaid Services, said in a
blog post on Friday, in a re-
sponse to data released Mon-
day by the Census Bureau.
The number of uninsured
last year rose by nearly two
million people to 27.5 million,
the Census Bureau report said,
which is about how many fewer
people were covered under
Medicaid compared with 2017.
The number of people covered
by private insurance didn’t sig-
nificantly change.
“The very structure of the law
which imposed billions of dollars
in new, costly regulations also
led to higher and higher insur-
ance premiums,” Ms. Verma said.
Higher-income people are los-
ing coverage because they can’t
afford the premiums and don’t
quality for a subsidy, she said.
The administration’s argu-
ment blaming ACA for the rising
uninsured contradicts Demo-

BYSTEPHANIEARMOUR

Trump Health Official Blames


ACA in Uninsured Increase


Seema Verma says the health
law has led to high premiums.

MICHAEL BROCHSTEIN/ZUMA PRESS

Ms. Huffman said in a
written statement afterward
that she accepts the court’s
decision “without reserva-
tion,” adding, “I broke the
law. I have admitted that and
I pleaded guilty to this
crime. There are no excuses
or justifications for my ac-
tions. Period.”
In a lengthy address before
her punishment was an-
nounced, Ms. Huffman apolo-
gized to U.S. District Judge In-
dira Talwani in front of a
courtroom packed with media
and defense attorneys for
some of the other 33 parents
charged in the case, as well as
Ms. Huffman’s family and
friends. Her voice cracking on
occasion, she said she has re-
turned in her mind regularly

to the time she drove her
older daughter to the SAT
testing site in December 2017.
“I thought to myself, ‘Turn
around. Just turn around,’ ”
she said, choking up. “To my
eternal shame, I didn’t.”
Judge Talwani spoke about
the larger unfairness in the
college-admissions system,
noting the role of donations
and legacy status in admis-
sions, preferential treatment
for athletes, and the opportu-
nity to get additional time for
standardized tests. She said
that is why this case had an-
gered so many members of the
public.
“The outrage is a system
that is already so distorted by
money and privilege in the
first place,” she said.

Ms. Huffman’s relatively
short prison sentence may not
be indicative of punishments
to be assigned to other par-
ents who have pleaded guilty
in the case, as she paid the
least money of any parent in
the scheme, admitted her guilt
early and didn’t participate in
all elements of the fraud.
She will report to prison on
Oct. 25.
Prosecutors have asked for
prison terms of up to 15
months for the parents whose
sentencings are scheduled for
this fall. In total, 15 parents
have pleaded guilty on a con-
spiracy-related fraud charge.
Inside Courtroom 9, Ms.
Huffman also described the
rupture in her family since her
arrest, saying her older daugh-

ter has asked why she didn’t
believe in the girl, and crushed
Ms. Huffman with the com-
ment, “I don’t know who you
are anymore.”
Ms. Huffman, in filings by
her attorneys before her sen-
tencing hearing, painted a dif-
ferent picture of her motiva-
tions. She hired Mr. Singer on
the recommendation of a
friend, she said in a letter to
Judge Talwani, and used his
legitimate tutoring for her
older daughter for nearly a
year before beginning discus-
sions about the fraud. She did
so after Mr. Singer drew a
bleak picture of the girl’s
chances at performing-arts
schools, saying even a stellar
audition couldn’t cancel out a
poor test score.

BOSTON—Actress Felicity
Huffman was sentenced Friday
to 14 days in prison for her
role in the college-admissions
cheating scheme, sending a
strong signal that more of the
wealthy parents in the sprawl-
ing scandal could expect to
serve time.
The actress was the first
parent to be sentenced, and
the result is a middle ground
between prosecutors’ recom-
mendation of one month in
prison and her attorneys’ re-
quest for one year of proba-
tion, 250 hours of community
service and a $20,000 fine.
Prosecutors had argued
anything less than incarcera-
tion for her and the 10 other
parents slated for sentencing
in coming weeks would be a
“penological joke.”
Ms. Huffman was also sen-
tenced to one year of super-
vised release, 250 hours of
community service and a
$30,000 fine, with a federal
judge saying that despite all
her advantages, “You took the
step of obtaining one more ad-
vantage to put your child
ahead of theirs.”
Ms. Huffman pleaded guilty
in May to a fraud-related con-
spiracy charge, admitting to
paying college counselor Wil-
liam “Rick” Singer $15,000 so
he could arrange for a test
proctor in his employ to fraud-
ulently inflate her older
daughter’s SAT score in 2017.
Ms. Huffman almost repeated
the scheme with her younger
daughter, but ultimately didn’t
pursue the plan, according to
court documents.
Ms. Huffman showed little
reaction to the decision. After
court was adjourned, her hus-
band, the actor William H.
Macy, rose from his seat in the
courtroom gallery and went
up to rub her shoulders.

BYMELISSAKORN
ANDJENNIFERLEVITZ

Huffman Sentenced to 14 Days in Prison


Actress Felicity Huffman and her husband, the actor William H. Macy, leaving a Boston courthouse following her sentencing on Friday.

OSEPH PREZIOSO/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Andrew McCabe hasn’t been
indicted for allegedly lying to fed-
eral investigators, according to
an email from his attorney asking
prosecutors to drop the probe, a
sign that the government’s case
against the FBI’s former No. 2 of-
ficial may be in jeopardy.
The email is the latest devel-
opment in days of uncertainty
about whether Mr. McCabe,
who drew repeated criticism
from President Trump during
the U.S. criminal probe into
Russian election interference,

would face criminal charges for
alleged false statements he
made as part of an internal
Justice Department probe into
2016 media leaks.
A federal grand jury met this
week, according to people fa-
miliar with its deliberations.
The days of closed-door drama
without any sign of charges
could indicate that prosecutors
have encountered an unex-
pected snafu.
In an email dated Thursday,
Mr. McCabe’s attorney, Michael
Bromwich, asked the U.S. Attor-
ney in Washington, Jessie Liu,
to confirm Mr. McCabe’s status,
saying he had spoken to the
prosecutors involved in the
case, Joseph Cooney and Molly
Gaston, earlier Thursday.
“At a minimum, based on
our discussion with Mr. Cooney
and Ms. Gaston this afternoon,

it is clear that no indictment
has been returned,” Mr. Brom-
wich wrote.
A DOJ spokeswoman de-
clined to comment.
Mr. McCabe had been under
federal criminal investigation
since the Justice Department’s
internal watchdog concluded
last year that he misled investi-
gators about his role in provid-
ing information in October
2016 to a Wall Street Journal
reporter. Mr. McCabe has long
disputed the allegations.
Prosecutors had presented
the case to a grand jury in
Washington this past week, ac-
cording to people familiar with
the matter. At least 12 members
of the jury—which can range
from 16 to 23 people—must
vote in favor of an indictment
in order for it to be returned.
It is extremely rare for a grand

jury to decline an indictment
sought by prosecutors because
it only hears the government’s
version of events and doesn’t
require unanimity.
Mr. McCabe’s legal team ar-
gued that if a grand jury re-
jected the case, there is no way
a trial jury, with a much higher
burden of proof, would find the
former Federal Bureau of Inves-
tigation deputy director guilty.
“If the grand jury voted not
to approve charges, it did not
find probable cause. Therefore,
it is simply not reasonable to
believe that a trial jury would
find Mr. McCabe guilty of any
charges employing a far more
rigorous and exacting stan-
dard—beyond a reasonable
doubt,” Mr. Bromwich wrote.
The Washington Post re-
ported Thursday that the grand
jury had been released Thurs-

day with no immediate signs of
an indictment.
The investigation centered
on Mr. McCabe’s comments to
FBI agents on May 9, 2017, and
later interviews with the in-
spector general’s office. Mr.
McCabe allegedly said he didn’t
know who had told the Journal
about a phone call he had with
a senior Justice Department of-
ficial in 2016 about an investi-
gation into the Clinton Founda-
tion, even though he had
authorized his lawyer to pro-
vide the information. Mr. Mc-
Cabe has said he never deliber-
ately misled investigators and
cited the “chaos” of that day,
which is when Mr. Trump fired
James Comey as FBI director.
Mr. McCabe sued the Justice
Department last month, saying
his own termination from FBI
was unlawful.

BYARUNAVISWANATHA
ANDBYRONTAU

Case Against McCabe Is in Flux


Lawyer for former FBI
No. 2 tells prosecutors
that grand jury hasn’t
returned an indictment

A panel of outside advisers
recommended that the Food
and Drug Administration
greenlight a proposed treat-
ment for peanut allergies in
children, a step that could
clear the way for marketing
the first approved treatment
of the condition.
The drug, code-named
AR101, is made from peanut
flour and given as a powder
mixed with foods. Its devel-
oper, Aimmune Therapeutics
Inc., proposes to market it un-
der the brand Palforzia.
The FDA isn’t bound to fol-
low the advice of its advisory
committees, but it usually
does. The agency is expected
to decide by late January on
Aimmune’s application to mar-
ket the drug in the U.S.
Trading in Aimmune shares
was halted during regular
hours on Friday because of the
advisory committee’s meeting.
After hours, the stock gained
16% to $28.72. Before Friday, it
had risen 3.1% this year.
Aimmune Chief Executive
Jayson Dallas said allergy pa-
tients and their families are
“anxiously waiting for an FDA-
approved medicine that will
provide them with an option
beyond avoidance alone.”
Peanut allergies have
emerged as a life-threatening
peril for many parents, forcing
them to pore over ingredients
for any signs of peanuts and
to equip their children—and
schools—with devices to help
with sudden and unexpected
allergic reactions.
The incidence of peanut al-
lergies in children has risen
21% in the U.S. since 2010, ac-
cording to the American Col-
lege of Allergy, Asthma and
Immunology. Nearly 2.5% of
children in the U.S. may have a
peanut allergy.
Yet there isn’t an approved
medicine that can prevent al-
lergy attacks. Instead, doctors
have for years advised that
children avoid peanuts alto-
gether, not an easy task. And
those with allergies carry epi-
nephrine shots in case of acci-
dental exposure.
Research in recent years
has raised hopes for a preven-
tive treatment. Studies have
shown that gradually intro-
ducing small amounts of pea-
nut-containing foods to chil-
dren could prevent or limit the
severity of allergic reactions.
That approach is known as
oral immunotherapy. The drug
developed by Aimmune, of
Brisbane, Calif., builds on that
concept.
The FDA’s advisory commit-
tee voted 7-2 that efficacy
data supported use in children
ages4to17years.


BYPETERLOFTUS


Peanut


Allergy


Treatment


Advances


WASHINGTON—The Food
and Drug Administration said
it has learned of a probable
human carcinogen found at
low levels in some versions of
the popular heartburn drug
Zantac, sold over the counter
and in various generic forms.
The agency said it is evalu-
ating whether the low
amounts of the chemical,
known as NDMA, pose a risk to
patients. It said it would make
that assessment available pub-
licly as soon as possible.
Zantac is sold by Sanofi
and generically under the
name ranitidine. The FDA said
that while NDMA may cause
harm in large amounts, the
levels it is finding in prelimi-
nary tests “barely exceed
amounts you might expect to
find in common foods.”
Ranitidine is approved both
for treatment and prevention
of ulcers in the stomach and
intestines as well as for gas-
troesophageal reflux disease.
“Sanofi takes patient safety
seriously, and we are commit-
ted to working with the FDA,”
Sanofi said. “Zantac OTC has
been around for over a decade
and meets all the specified
safety requirements for use in
the OTC market.”


BYTHOMASM.BURTON


Zantac


Is Under


FDA Risk


Review


Dolphin.Pivoting armchair, design Cédric Ragot.
Manufactured in Europe.

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