Overnight Healthcare: McConnell unveils new Zika package | Manchin defends daughter on EpiPens | Bill includes $37M for opioid crisis

The Senate GOP's latest funding bill to fight Zika would end partisan fights over Planned Parenthood and pesticide use that have held up a package since February.

But the long-awaited funding package also includes $400 million in offsets that will likely draw ire from Democrats: The package is partly paid for using the State Department's unused money to fight the Ebola virus and leftover ObamaCare funding from when local officials decided not to set up exchanges.


The legislation unveiled Thursday scraps previous provisions that would have relaxed the rules for pesticides in the name of fighting Zika and block a Planned Parenthood partner in Puerto Rico from receiving any new money to help Zika-infected pregnant women.

Democrats immediately rejected the overall Senate's bill, pointing in particular to its lack of funding for the drinking water crisis in Flint, Mich.

Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonMedia and candidates should be ashamed that they don't talk about obesity Al Franken says he 'absolutely' regrets resigning Democrats target Florida Hispanics in 2020 MORE (D-Fla.), though, who represents the state facing the local spread of Zika, said he would support the measure. "While I support the people of Flint, my priority is the people of Florida. This bill provides a clean $1.1 billion to help stop the spread of Zika virus with no political riders, and I will support it."


The short-term funding bill that Senate Republicans released Thursday also includes $37 million in new funding to fight the crisis of opioid addiction.

Republicans said that the new money would give a head start to setting up programs in the recently passed Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), preventing the need to wait until the longer-term spending bill is considered in December.

Democrats have pushed for a much higher amount of funding, $1.1 billion over a full year, saying that robust resources are what's actually needed to make sure people have access to treatment.

"It's great that Congress may finally put some money behind CARA, but it's not nearly enough to save the millions of American families that are being shattered by opioids," Gary Mendell, founder of Shatterproof, an addiction advocacy group. "President Obama's $1.1 billion emergency request would make sure that all of our loved ones who need treatment can get it, and that's what lawmakers should be focused on." Read more here. http://bit.ly/2cUVfpG


Democrats are beginning to talk about changing ObamaCare to fix what they acknowledge are growing problems in the law's insurance marketplaces.

While Democrats are pushing back at the GOP attacks about premium hikes and insurer exits, they are also asking Republicans to work with them to make fixes to the law next year.

"There are things we can do and need to do to address restoring competition in these exchanges, and my hope is when we're through the elections and past the elections, we'll do those," Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperInstead of raising the gas tax, stop wasting money on frivolous projects To stave off a recession, let's pass a transportation infrastructure bill Overnight Energy: Trump tweets he's revoking California's tailpipe waiver | Move comes as Trump visits state | California prepares for court fight | Climate activist Greta Thunberg urges lawmakers to listen to scientists MORE (D-Del.) said. Read more here. http://bit.ly/2crGDz9

HHS Secretary Sylvia BurwellSylvia Mary Mathews BurwellWhy Trump will win the wall fight Price was a disaster for HHS — Time for an administrator, not an ideologue Overnight Healthcare: GOP chairman to introduce pre-existing condition bill MORE spoke directly to Senate Democrats during their caucus lunch last Thursday and discussed ways that the healthcare law could be improved.

Sen. Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsSenate committee approves 0 million for state election security efforts Media and candidates should be ashamed that they don't talk about obesity Bill to return B in unredeemed bonds advances MORE (D-Del.) said Burwell "answered many tough questions on how to improve the competitiveness of the marketplace, stabilize plans and improve access and affordability." Read more here. http://bit.ly/2crGDz9


Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinToomey on gun reform: 'Beto O'Rourke is not helping' Trump walks tightrope on gun control O'Rourke gun confiscation talk alarms Democrats MORE (D-W.Va.) delivered a robust defense of his daughter, Mylan Pharmaceuticals CEO Heather Bresch, one day after House lawmakers rebuked her for the recent price increases of her company's EpiPen allergy medication.

"We can criticize and beat the living crap out of anyone we want to, and that was proven yesterday. But does that solve the problem? Do they really want to solve the problem?" Manchin told CNN in his first public remarks about the EpiPen controversy, which has involved both his wife and daughter.

Bresch sat through about five hours of combative questioning by House members from both parties on Wednesday about her company's decision to raise the price of its EpiPens, as well as her $19 million salary. Read more here. http://bit.ly/2deDX9a


Public health experts will hold a briefing to call for congressional funding to fight the Zika virus at noon in the Rayburn House Office Building, room B369.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee holds a subcommittee hearing on the handling of potentially deadly pathogens in federal labs at 9 a.m.   

The House Judiciary Committee holds a subcommittee hearing on the Hyde Amendment language restricting federal funds from going towards abortions at 9 a.m.


The divide between liberal and centrist Democrats over the public option is back. (Politico)

The uninsured rate dropped in every congressional district between 2013 and 2015, according to the American Community Survey. (Five Thirty Eight)


The Vermont health department proposes new rules to cut back on opioid prescribing, urging doctors to avoid prescribing the drugs for minor injuries. (Burlington Free Press)

First responders in Ohio are revising their tactics on how to handle heroin overdoses, increasingly using overdose medicine instead of handcuffs. (Columbia Dispatch)

New Mexico's attorney general has opened a probe into the drugmaker behind the EpiPen in response to price hikes. (Associated Press)


House passes bill requiring baby changing stations in federal buildings

Send tips and comments to Sarah Ferris, sferris@thehill.com, and Peter Sullivan, psullivan@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @thehill@sarahnferris@PeterSullivan4

HEALTHCARE EXTRA HAS OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED: Try us for FREE to get our exclusive take on healthcare policy and regulation coverage: https://extra-signup.thehill.com/campaign/Welcome