Overnight Health Care: Dem leaders keep distance from Sanders single-payer bill | Last-ditch ObamaCare repeal effort struggles for votes | Dems press Trump on ObamaCare outreach funds

Overnight Health Care: Dem leaders keep distance from Sanders single-payer bill | Last-ditch ObamaCare repeal effort struggles for votes | Dems press Trump on ObamaCare outreach funds
© Greg Nash

Democratic support for a single-payer health-care system has grown by bounds this year, attracting more lawmaker endorsements than any time in the past. But one group is conspicuously not on board: party leaders.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerData confirm that marijuana decriminalization is long overdue Pollster: Kavanaugh will get Dem votes Democrats slam Trump for considering Putin’s ’absurd’ request to question Americans MORE (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday previewed the much-anticipated release of Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersBernie Sanders mocks Trump: ‘He could change his mind tomorrow’ Sunday shows preview: Questions linger over Trump-Putin summit Bernie Sanders: Trump 'so tough' on child separations but not on Putin MORE's (I-Vt.) "Medicare for all" bill by taking the notable step of refusing to throw their weight behind it.

"Right now I'm protecting the Affordable Care Act," Pelosi told a group of female reporters in the Capitol.


"Democrats believe that health care is a right for all, and there are many different bills out there," Schumer echoed a few hours later.

The tepid response highlights the dilemma facing the top Democrats, who are hoping to energize the party faithful without alienating the more conservative-leaning voters that flocked to President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff: Surveillance warrant docs show that Nunes memo 'misrepresented and distorted these applications' Chicago detention facility under investigation following allegations of abuse of migrant children Ex-Trump aide: Surveillance warrants are 'complete ignorance' and 'insanity' MORE last year.

Both Pelosi and Schumer are liberal lawmakers who have supported single payer in the past. But as minority leaders fighting to win back power, they're also charged with crafting a campaign message that resonates with the centrist voters they'll need to pick up seats in 2018 and beyond.

Read more from The Hill's Mike Lillis here.

For more on Schumer's response, click here. And for more from Pelosi, click here.


Who is on board with Bernie?

Sanders has championed single-payer healthcare for decades, but the idea is catching fire among Democrats following his strong run for the White House in 2016. Several Democrats who could run for the White House in 2020 -- a category that includes Sanders -- are expected to appear at the bill's unveiling. Here's a list of where Senate Democrats stand so far...

Read more here.


McConnell tells senators to find the votes for their ObamaCare repeal effort

Sens. Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyGOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE Lawmakers pitch dueling plans for paid family leave New push to break deadlock on paid family leave MORE (R-La.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSunday shows preview: Questions linger over Trump-Putin summit Soccer ball Putin gifted to Trump gets routine security screening Graham: Biggest problem is Trump ‘believes meddling equals collusion’ MORE (R-S.C.) met on Tuesday afternoon with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPelosi: 'Thug' Putin not welcome in Congress GOP to White House: End summit mystery Sunk judicial pick spills over into Supreme Court fight MORE (R-Ky.) to discuss their last-ditch ObamaCare repeal bill.

Leaving the meeting in McConnell's Capitol office, Cassidy said the leader's message was that Graham and Cassidy need to find 50 votes for the bill on their own.

"He just says we need 50 votes," Cassidy said of McConnell.

The ObamaCare replacement bill faces long odds, and leadership is not throwing its weight behind the effort at this point. Graham and Cassidy plan to introduce their legislation at a news conference on Wednesday, along with Sens. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerHistory argues for Democratic Senate gains Senate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Jacky Rosen hits Dean Heller over health care in first negative ad MORE (R-Nev.) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonOn The Money: Trump 'ready' for tariffs on all 0B in Chinese goods | Trump digs in on Fed criticism | Lawmakers drop plans to challenge Trump ZTE deal Juan Williams: Putin wins as GOP spins GOP senator: Harley-Davidson is right to move some production overseas MORE (R-Wis.).

The effort faces a fast-approaching deadline of Sept. 30 before the fast-track authority to pass it with a simple majority expires. It comes after the GOP's stunning defeat of a prior effort by just one vote.

Read more here.


Dems press Trump to fund ObamaCare outreach groups

A group of Democratic lawmakers are calling on the Trump administration to pay millions of dollars to outside groups that help people sign up for ObamaCare.

The letter from 31 House Democrats, led by Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (N.H.), pressed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to release funding for navigator groups, which also help with ObamaCare education and outreach.

Late last month, the Trump administration announced it was slashing the grant money for navigators by nearly 41 percent, or $23 million.

The groups were blindsided by the announcement. Navigators are expected to learn this week how much money they'll receive.

Democrats have accused the Trump administration of deliberately trying to sabotage the law ahead of open enrollment that begins Nov. 1.

Read more here.


Alexander: Major differences remain for bipartisan health bill

Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderMontana governor raises profile ahead of potential 2020 bid Dems pressure GOP to take legal action supporting pre-existing conditions Trump administration to explore importing prescription drugs MORE (R-Tenn.) indicated on Tuesday that Democrats and Republicans are still far apart on finding a path to a compromise bill to stabilize ObamaCare.

Alexander said Republicans want to make it easier for states to waive certain coverage protections, and Democrats will need to accept such changes if they want funding for insurers to help prevent an insurance premium spike.

"I would caution members that there are still significant differences to deal with," Alexander said during his opening remarks at the panel's Tuesday hearing.

The hearing is the third in a series of bipartisan efforts to find a compromise to stabilize ObamaCare's insurance markets. Alexander and the committee's Democrats largely agree on the need to fund the payments but disagree on how long they should be funded for.

Democrats want multiple years, but Republicans back funding them for one year.

Read more here.


House committee to hold hearing on opioids

House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) is calling on lawmakers to "redouble" efforts to address the opioid epidemic as his committee prepares to hold a hearing on the crisis next month.

"President Donald Trump recently declared the epidemic a national emergency," Walden wrote in a Morning Consult op-ed published Tuesday. "While the administration prepares to take action, it is of utmost importance we in Congress kick our work into high gear as well."

Read more here.


GOP chairman rips bipartisan proposal as 'bailout' of ObamaCare

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchLighthizer to testify before Senate next week as trade war ramps up Senators introduce bipartisan bill to improve IRS Senate panel advances Trump IRS nominee MORE (R-Utah) on Tuesday derided bipartisan efforts to shore up ObamaCare's insurance market as a "bailout."

"At this point, it's pretty clear that the parties will need to work together if any of this is going to improve. That said, I am concerned that many of the proposals for a bipartisan solution would amount to little more than a bailout of the current system," Hatch said in his opening remarks at his committee's health-care hearing Tuesday.

"This, in my view, would be a mistake."

Read more here.


Obama CDC director to launch global health initiative

Dr. Tom Frieden, the former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under President Obama, is launching a multimillion-dollar initiative aimed at preventing heart attacks, strokes and other epidemics around the world.

The initiative, called "Resolve to Save Lives," is funded by a $225 million investment from three major donors: Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

"I identified specific areas where the world is at a tipping point. And with strategic investments we can make an enormous difference saving lives. And that's how we designed this," Frieden told STAT in an interview.

Frieden explained that his initiative is centered around taking existing public health strategies that have yet to be implemented and making them a reality.

Read more here.


Shkreli apologizes for bounty on Clinton's hair

Former drug company CEO and recently convicted felon Martin Shkreli is apologizing for putting a $5,000 bounty on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House protests extend into sixth day despite rain Clinton: US is 'losing friends and allies' under Trump Justice Dept releases surveillance applications for former Trump aide MORE's hair.

"I want to personally apologize to this Court and my lawyers for the aggravation that my recent postings have caused," Shkreli wrote in a letter filed with the court and addressed Monday to the judge overseeing his case.

"I understand now, that some may have read my comments about Mrs. Clinton as threatening, when that was never my intention when making those comments. I used poor judgment but never intended to cause alarm or promote any act of violence whatsoever," he continued, urging the judge not to have his bail release reconsidered.

Shkreli came under fire last week after offering a $5,000 reward to anyone who successfully grabbed a sample of hair from the former Democratic presidential candidate while touring to promote her new book -- but only promising to pay if the "sequences" match.

The former CEO of Turing Pharmaceutical was found guilty last month on three counts of deceiving investors in hedge funds, facing up to 20 years in prison. Shkreli said he plans to challenge his conviction.

Read more here.


What we're reading

Houston's floodwaters are tainted with toxins, testing shows (The New York Times)

CDC cracks down on communications with reporters (Axios)


State by state

Left out of health debate, Appalachian poor seek free care (Associated Press)

Connecticut hospitals see huge risk in Malloy's fix for budget impasse (The Connecticut Mirror)

California assembly passes drug price transparency bill (The Mercury News)


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