Health Care — White House braces for Roe v. Wade ruling
Ahead of tomorrow’s NBA Finals Game 3, watch a group of Golden State Warriors players try (and mostly fail) to pronounce city names in Massachusetts.
A Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade is imminent, and the White House is preparing for the response to the monumental decision.
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White House prepares for abortion decision
The White House is quietly preparing for a Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, a consequential decision expected to come this month that will create immediate pressure to respond and take action.
Members of the administration have held listening sessions with state officials, medical organizations, faith leaders and businesses regarding the legal barriers to abortion already in place in certain states.
- Focusing on state leaders underscores the White House doesn’t have a lot of options unless Congress acts.
Showing interest: Individuals who participated in those meetings told The Hill that they are encouraged by the White House’s attention but are waiting for concrete details.
“I believe that we are at least setting the stage to fight a bigger fight that’s going to happen,” said Marsha Jones, executive director of The Afiya Center, an organization devoted to the health of Black women and girls in Texas. “The White House, at least they are giving the perception that they are willing to fight this fight with us.”
How vocal will Biden be? Publicly, President Biden has been largely mum on the issue of abortion in the weeks since he expressed outrage at the Supreme Court draft ruling nixing Roe, which leaked at the start of May.
Vice President Harris, meanwhile, has become one of the administration’s leading voices, holding a roundtable on Monday with faith leaders on abortion rights in Los Angeles and releasing a video on social media last week arguing that other rights are at risk if the court overturns the landmark abortion ruling.
FDA panel gives nod to Novavax COVID-19 shot
An outside advisory panel voted overwhelmingly to recommend the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorize a COVID-19 vaccine made by Novavax for use in adults, a move that could lead to adding a fourth vaccine to the U.S. arsenal.
The FDA’s vaccine advisory panel voted 21-0, with one abstention. The FDA does not have to follow the panel’s recommendation, though it often does.
- Novavax’s two-dose vaccine was about 90 percent effective at preventing mild, moderate and severe COVID-19 during clinical trials.
- But critically, the trials were conducted before the omicron variant and panel members expressed concern about whether the efficacy would hold up against the current variants.
Reaching vaccine holdouts: Novavax’s vaccine could appeal to people who have been reluctant to receive one of the mRNA vaccines, as it was manufactured using a fundamentally different process.
But winning over even a small number of eligible people who haven’t yet been vaccinated could be a difficult task and it’s not clear how much success the company will find. The U.S. is not short on doses from any of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines that have been available for more than a year.
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FOUR DESTINATIONS ADDED TO COVID TRAVEL WARNING LIST
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added four destinations to its list of “high-risk” travel locations regarding COVID-19 statistics.
Guyana, Mongolia, Namibia and St. Kitts and Nevis were all deemed a Level 3 travel risk on Monday, according to the CDC. They were previously categorized at Level 2, or “moderate” risk.
- CDC said people should avoid those countries if they are not up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations.
- To be considered a Level 3 or high-risk destination, countries must have more than 100 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the past 28 days.
The new standard: In April, the agency removed all destinations from the Level 4 risk category, saying it would reserve “Level 4” warnings “for special circumstances, such as rapidly escalating case trajectory or extremely high case counts, emergence of a new variant of concern, or healthcare infrastructure collapse.”
WATCHDOG PRESSES NIH OVER FOREIGN FUNDING DISCLOSURES
The oversight office for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a report Tuesday that found a majority of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) grant recipients failed to meet federal requirements regarding foreign financial interests and support.
HHS’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that more than two-thirds of grantees — 69 percent — who conducted NIH-funded research failed to meet at least one federal requirement on disclosing foreign financial interests, and many also lacked oversight that would ensure the materials they submit to NIH are accurate and complete.
- The report stated it is the responsibility of grantees to ensure that foreign financial interests are disclosed.
- OIG found that grant recipients did not require their researchers to disclose grants, professional affiliations or participation in foreign government programs despite recent reminders from NIH to do so.
A lack of enforcement: However, the report acknowledged that the recipients of certain grants may have been unaware that they were subject to specific federal requirements and many — nearly 3 out of 4 — lacked the training or guidance on disclosing foreign support.
Warnock presses Schumer to hold vote on insulin bill
Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) is pressuring Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to hold a vote on legislation to lower the cost of insulin.
Warnock faces a tough reelection race this year and has made lowering the cost of insulin a central part of his message.
“I am deeply disappointed the Senate was not able to vote on this critical legislation before Memorial Day,” Warnock wrote in a letter to Schumer dated Monday.
“The time is now to finally act on this critical issue, and we can’t afford to wait any longer,” he wrote.
Different bills: Warnock has a bill to cap patients’ out-of-pocket costs for insulin at $35 per month. But the main effort on insulin in the Senate is a measure from Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine.) that would include a $35 cap on patient costs while also including other measures aimed at reducing the overall price of the drug.
Slipping timeline: Schumer gave his support to the talks between Shaheen and Collins in March and said then that he planned to hold a vote “as soon as possible after Easter recess,” but that timeline has now come and gone.
Collins said Tuesday that she and Shaheen are “close” to introducing their bill.
WHAT WE’RE READING
- They thought they bought Obamacare plans. What they got wasn’t insurance (Kaiser Health News)
- Manchin is waffling on whether he wants to avoid setting off an Obamacare time-bomb. (Insider)
- ‘Testing bottleneck’ for monkeypox puts hope of containment at risk, experts warn (Stat)
STATE BY STATE
- With new senator, Nebraska abortion opponents gain ground (Associated Press)
- California wants to slash insulin prices by becoming a drugmaker. Can it succeed? (Kaiser Health News)
- First probable case of monkeypox reported in Maricopa County (ABC15)
OP-EDS IN THE HILL
- ObamaCare premium hikes are making Democrats sick
- Call to end inbound international flight testing is correct, for all the wrong reasons
- America’s seniors are paying for Medicare mismanagement
That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Health Care page for the latest news and coverage. See you tomorrow.