OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Dems earn victory over NRA with new surgeon general

The Senate voted Monday to confirm Dr. Vivek MurthyVivek Hallegere MurthyCoronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Jerome Adams The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Former Rep. Harman says Russia is trying to exploit America; Mylan's Heather Bresch says US should make strategic reserve in medicines; Trump unveils leaders of 'Warp Speed' The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Moniz says U.S. needs energy jobs coalition and Manchin says Congress is pushing Wall Street solutions that don't work for Main Street; Burr to step aside MORE as the next surgeon general despite GOP opposition over his support for gun control and ObamaCare.

Murthy, a 36-year old physician, was narrowly confirmed 51 to 43 as the nation’s top doctor amid an international Ebola crisis that added urgency to the confirmation process. Three Democrats voted against the nominee.


The confirmation had been held up for more than a year after conservative groups, led by the National Rifle Association, publicized comments he made calling guns a "public health issue." He has also accused members of Congress of "playing politics" with guns because they were "scared of the NRA."

Gun-control groups were quick to cheer the Senate’s decision Monday to confirm Murthy.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence released a statement minutes after the vote calling Murthy’s appointment a "huge victory" for gun control supporters.

Lobbyists for gun industry groups, including the National Sports Shooting Foundation (NSSF), have been applying pressure to Senate offices over the last two weeks to oppose the vote.

Larry Keane, the senior vice president of NSSF, said his organization instead called for confirming the acting surgeon general, Rear Admiral Boris Lushniak, because "he has not injected himself" into the politics of gun control.

"We actually think the acting surgeon general is very capable and a better candidate because it has not become political," Keane said Monday. Read more here.

Tennessee makes big move on Medicaid: Tennessee has struck a tentative deal with the federal government to become the latest red state to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare, Gov. Bill Haslam (R) announced Monday.

Haslam said he has received "verbal approval" from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to move forward with a new pilot plan to help about 200,000 low-income Tennesseans gain coverage.

The state’s plan veers from the traditional route of expanding Medicaid, but is on track to receive a windfall of federal dollars. "We believe Tennessee has generally described an approach that could be approvable," an HHS spokesman wrote. Read more here.

SCOTUS says no to abortion drug case: The Supreme Court said Monday it would not intervene in a challenge to Arizona's law limiting access to medication abortions, leaving the rule blocked while the case proceeds through the lower courts.

The state is prevented from enforcing its 2012 law under a separate ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the justices decided not to take up an appeal from the state of that decision.

Supporters of abortion rights welcomed the high court's move, calling it a victory for women's health. Read more here.

Insurance deadlines delayed in two states: Minnesota became the second state to push back its deadline to sign up for healthcare coverage on Monday, citing "historic interest" in its program.

Officials from MNsure announced Monday afternoon that they will extend the deadline to Dec. 20 after receiving 1,600 calls per hour with an average wait time of 20 minutes in just one day.

New York became the first state to push back its deadline on Friday. Read more here.

Tuesday’s schedule:

The Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will hold a meeting of the Interagency Committee on Smoking and Health.

State by state:

Los Angeles porn actors must wear condoms, appeals court rules

Burwell makes ObamaCare pitch to Houston Baptists

Va. gov. to include Medicaid expansion in budget

Medicaid expansion could be months away in Alaska

What we’re reading:

Huge US child health study canceled after $1.3 billion

2014 Lie of the Year: Exaggerations about Ebola

Prolific prescribers of controlled substances face Medicare scrutiny

How the obesity epidemic drains Medicare and Medicaid

What you might have missed from The Hill:

HealthCare.gov faces crucial deadline

Senators spar over surgeon general nomination

CDC calls 2014 'unprecedented' for public health challenges

Cassidy given HELP Committee seat

Please send tips and comments to Sarah Ferris, sferris@thehill.com, and Elise Viebeck, eviebeck@thehill.com.

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