Overnight Health Care: Democrats plot response to Texas abortion law

Overnight Health Care: Democrats plot response to Texas abortion law
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Welcome to Thursday’s Overnight Health Care, where we’re following the latest moves on policy and news affecting your health. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.

NBA players in New York City and San Francisco will need to be vaccinated in order to play during home games. It's not a league rule, technically — it's city ordinances. The NBA does not have a vaccine mandate for its players, but it's lately been finding ways to make sure they get the jab even without one. 

The House plans to vote on a bill that would protect access to abortions as a counter move to the Supreme Court’s decision to decline to block the Texas “fetal heartbeat” law. Democrats are plotting their next move, but without the votes in the Senate, options are limited.

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For The Hill, we’re Peter Sullivan (psullivan@thehill.com), Nathaniel Weixel (nweixel@thehill.com) and Justine Coleman (jcoleman@thehill.com). Write to us with tips and feedback, and follow us on Twitter: @PeterSullivan4, @NateWeixel and @JustineColeman8.

Let’s get started.

House to vote on bill guaranteeing abortion access in response to Texas law 

Speaker <span class=Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats scramble to reach deal on taxes On The Money — Sussing out what Sinema wants Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Key CDC panel backs Moderna, J&J boosters MORE (D-Calif.) answers questions on Afghanistan, the budget and the infrastructure bill during her weekly press conference on Wednesday, August 25, 2021." width="645" height="363" data-delta="5" />

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that the House will vote upon its return to Washington later this month on legislation to guarantee access to abortion after the Supreme Court refused to block a restrictive Texas law that bans most abortions.

Late Wednesday night, the court issued a 5-4 ruling denying an emergency request from abortion providers to block the Texas law, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the three liberal justices in dissent. 

Pelosi said that after the House returns to session on Sept. 20, the chamber will vote on a bill from Rep. Judy ChuJudy May ChuFirst senator formally endorses Bass in LA mayoral bid Bass receives endorsement from EMILY's List Grassley commends Korean American judicial nominee for 'hard work ethic' of 'you and your people' MORE (D-Calif.) to statutorily protect a person's ability to seek an abortion and for health care providers to provide abortion services. She called the Texas law "a flagrantly unconstitutional assault on women’s rights and health" and a "catastrophe." 

But the Senate is a pretty big barrier to such a bill becoming law: Given that Senate Republicans would likely filibuster any House-passed bill to guarantee abortion access, the legislation faces steep hurdles to becoming law despite narrow Democratic majorities in both chambers and a like-minded president.

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Across the Capitol, the Senate companion bill to Chu's legislation has the support of 48 Democrats. Two Democratic senators, Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBiden: Negotiating assault weapons ban more difficult than infrastructure, reconciliation deal Biden says expanding Medicare to include hearing, dental and vision a 'reach' Biden says paid leave proposal reduced from 12 to 4 weeks MORE (W.Va.) and Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseySenate Democrats call for diversity among new Federal Reserve Bank presidents Manchin, Sanders to seek deal on Biden agenda Democrats struggle to gain steam on Biden spending plan MORE (Pa.), have not signed on as co-sponsors.

Read more here.

 

BIDEN DIRECTS ADMINISTRATION TO LOOK INTO WAYS TO RESPOND

President BidenJoe BidenBiden: Democrats' spending plan is 'a bigger darn deal' than Obamacare Biden says he's open to altering, eliminating filibuster to advance voting rights Biden: Comment that DOJ should prosecute those who defy subpoenas 'not appropriate' MORE on Thursday said he is directing his administration to look into ways to protect abortion access for women in Texas after the Supreme Court refused to block the state's law that bans almost all abortions. 

Biden decried the 5-4 decision as an "unprecedented assault" on a woman's right to an abortion under the precedent of Roe v. Wade and warned it will result in harmful consequences for millions of women in the nation's second most populous state.

"By allowing a law to go into effect that empowers private citizens in Texas to sue health care providers, family members supporting a woman exercising her right to choose after six weeks, or even a friend who drives her to a hospital or clinic, it unleashes unconstitutional chaos and empowers self-anointed enforcers to have devastating impacts," Biden said in a statement.

Possible executive action: The White House on Wednesday said the proper recourse to ensure abortion access would be for Congress to codify Roe v. Wade. But Biden on Thursday signaled his administration would take unilateral action where possible.

The president said he was asking the Gender Policy Council and White House Counsel to "launch a whole-of-government effort to respond to this decision, looking specifically to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice to see what steps the Federal Government can take to ensure that women in Texas have access to safe and legal abortions as protected by Roe, and what legal tools we have to insulate women and providers from the impact of Texas' bizarre scheme of outsourced enforcement to private parties."

Read more here.

 

HOUSE DEMOCRATS RAMP UP PROBE OF FDA APPROVAL OF ALZHEIMER’S DRUG

Democratic leaders of two House committees are stepping up a probe of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) controversial approval of the Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm, pressing the agency for information on "anomalies" in the approval process.

In a letter to FDA sent Wednesday, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) and Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn MaloneyHouse Oversight Democrats ask NFL for information from investigation into Washington Football Team New York City helicopter complaints skyrocket Trump company in late-stage talks to sell DC hotel: report MORE (D-N.Y.) said "significant questions" remain even after FDA staff briefed their panels.

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The lawmakers launched the investigation in July, and requested a slew of documents from the pharmaceutical company Biogen over its Alzheimer's treatment.  

What they want to know: Among the information now sought by Pallone and Maloney is details on how FDA makes an approval determination when there is internal disagreement between agency staff as well as disagreement with the relevant advisory committee.

The lawmakers also questioned the agency’s interactions with Biogen during the review process, something that is also being reviewed by an independent government watchdog.

Read more here.

 

American Medical Association: Stop using ivermectin to treat COVID-19 

People arrive for COVID-19 antibody testing

You should seriously stop with the horse drugs.

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The American Medical Association (AMA) is calling for the "immediate end" to the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19, and for doctors to stop prescribing it for that purpose, amid a spike in the use of the drug. 

Ivermectin, often used as a deworming agent in animals and sometimes for humans, is not approved to treat COVID-19 and has not been shown to work for that purpose. Poison control centers have recorded a five-fold increase in calls related to ivermectin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

The AMA, the country's largest doctors group, is now joining the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC in warning against use of the drug.

What they said: "We are alarmed by reports that outpatient prescribing for and dispensing of ivermectin have increased 24-fold since before the pandemic and increased exponentially over the past few months," the AMA said in a statement, joined by the American Pharmacists Association and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. 

"As such, we are calling for an immediate end to the prescribing, dispensing, and use of ivermectin for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 outside of a clinical trial,” the statement continued.

Read more here.

 

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ADMINISTRATION COMMITS $3B TO COVID-19 VACCINE SUPPLY CHAIN

The Biden administration is committing almost $3 billion to the coronavirus vaccine supply chain as the White House aims to expand U.S. manufacturing of the doses, federal officials announced on Thursday. 

The investment in the supply chain will start “in the coming weeks,” and will help companies implement new production lines and facilities, White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff ZientsJeff ZientsWhite House details plans for vaccinating children ages 5 to 11 Overnight Health Care — Presented by The National Council for Mental Wellbeing — NIH study finds mix-and-match boosters effective More than one-third of eligible seniors have received boosters, White House says MORE said during a briefing. 

“This $3 billion investment in our vaccine supply chain will create thousands of the main American jobs, help us deliver on the president's commitment to be the arsenal of vaccines for the world and strengthen our long-term capabilities to respond to future threats,” Zients said.

The White House said officials will choose the companies that will receive funding in the “next several weeks.”

Zients said the U.S. has provided financial support for vaccine manufacturing that extends across the whole supply chain, including vaccine manufacturing equipment, inputs and supplies, which he said has sped up production. 

Read more here.

WHAT WE'RE READING

  • Covid medical bills are about to get bigger (The New York Times)
  • Drug industry banks on its Covid clout to halt Dems’ push on prices (Politico)
  • Philip Morris International cigarettes can cause lung disease. Now the company wants to sell medicine to treat it (Washington Post)
  • Deal with OxyContin maker leaves families angry, conflicted (The Associated Press)

STATE BY STATE

  • Voters in tight recall race sound off on California Gov. Newsom’s Covid leadership (Kaiser Health News)
  • Maine extends vaccination deadline for health care workers amid surge in COVID-19 cases (The Portland Press Herald)
  • Inside Louisiana's battle to control the Delta variant (Politico)

OP-EDS IN THE HILL

 

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s healthcare page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you Friday.