Overnight Healthcare: Dems to offer gun measures on mental health bill

A group of Democrats is planning to inject gun control into the mental health debate Wednesday.

There will be a "couple" of gun-related amendments offered to Rep. Tim Murphy's (R-Pa.) mental health bill by Democratic lawmakers, an aide said.


The shooting deaths of 49 people at a nightclub in Orlando this weekend put the issue back in the national spotlight. And some Democrats are now planning to make guns part of the conversation when the House Energy and Commerce Committee considers the mental health bill.

Many other Democrats on the committee, however, said they are not planning to offer gun-related amendments, seeking to keep the issue of mental health separate. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.), the panel's top Democrat, is not expected to offer gun-related measures.

One gun-related measure comes from Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.), who plans to offer an amendment lifting a ban on federal gun violence research, a longtime goal of Democrats, his office said. Read more here. http://bit.ly/1ZP3lzk

Meanwhile, doctors declare guns a public health crisis

Days after the nation's deadliest mass shooting, the American Medical Association (AMA) voted for the first time Tuesday to declare gun violence a "public health crisis" and to "actively lobby" to allow federal research on guns.

The near-unanimous vote, though mostly symbolic, is a significant step that will push the powerful doctors group into a fierce political battle with Second Amendment supporters who have long argued that gun-related violence is no different from other violent acts.  

It's the first time the AMA's policy-making arm has called the epidemic a "public health crisis" -- the same language that sparked controversy in 2014 and nearly blocked U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy from his confirmation. Read more here. http://bit.ly/1USgtPF

Dems eye boosting FDA funding to bring end of blood donation ban for gay men

Top House Democrats say they want to boost funding for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help speed up the agency's effort to eliminate the decades-old policy preventing many gay men from donating blood.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said she spoke by phone to the head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Sunday night, hours after more than 100 people were shot in a gay nightclub in Orlando.  

Wasserman Schultz said she asked the FDA commissioner, Robert Califf, if more funding would help – and he said yes.  http://bit.ly/1tuVWLH

Still, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday the administration has no immediate plans to review the FDA's policy. http://bit.ly/1WN0ZD0

The Olympics should go on, UN health agency says

Leaders of the World Health Organization on Tuesday concluded that holding the Olympics in Brazil this summer poses "a very low risk of further international spread" of the Zika virus.

Members of the WHO cited the Brazilian winter, when the exposure to these viruses "will be minimal" as well as the anti-mosquito measures that "should further reduce the risk of transmission." The WHO's statement came after its third emergency meeting on the Zika virus.


The House Energy and Commerce holds a markup of mental health legislation.

The House Ways and Means Committee marks up a range of healthcare bills.

The Florida delegation holds a panel on the Zika virus at 8:30 a.m.

CDC Director Tom Frieden delivers keynote remarks at a global health event hosted by PATH at 10 a.m.

The Congressional Tri-Caucus holds a press conference to introduce the 2016 Health Equity and Accountability Act at 9:30 a.m.


The Republican-led Congress is moving slowly on increasing funds to combat Zika, a stark contrast from their warnings about the need to get ahead of the Ebola virus. (New York Times)

The American Medical Association voted Tuesday to urge Congress to fully fund the nation's response to the Zika virus, which President Obama has said will cost about $2 billion (Washington Times)

Patients using opioid painkillers had a 64 percent higher risk of dying compared to patients taking other prescription pain medicine – and not just because of overdoses (Associated Press)

Emergency room doctors at the Orlando Regional Medical Center described a scene early Sunday morning that was beyond anything they had handled before, or imagined handling. (New York Times)


HHS wants states to use more Medicaid dollars to boost the number of women using long-acting, reversible contraceptives to reduce the rate of unintended pregnancies. (Kaiser Health News)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said combating the state's opioid epidemic is his top goal for the remainder of this year's legislative session (Associated Press)

In a reversal, Kansas officials said they would not cut off funding to about a dozen healthcare providers who have helped provide cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood clinics. The state will still press to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood affiliates in general. (Associated Press)

Florida and Texas, likely to be hardest-hit by Zika, are among the least-prepared to address women's health concerns over the virus (Kaiser Health News)

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