Health Care — Biden boosts ‘cancer moonshot’ with JFK nods
Spare a thought for the people of Stow, Mass: They no longer have a Dunkin’
Donuts in the town, and now have to drive as far as a mile and a half for their
President Biden on Monday delivered a speech to promote his “cancer moonshot” initiative to end cancer reminiscent of former President John F. Kennedy’s push to reach the moon.
Welcome to Overnight Health Care, where we’re following the latest moves on policy and news affecting your health. For The Hill, we’re Nathaniel Weixel and Joseph Choi. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.
Biden pitches ‘cancer moonshot’ as bipartisan pursuit
President Biden on Monday channeled John F. Kennedy in an effort to rally the country behind the administration’s Cancer Moonshot, an effort to “end cancer as we know it.”
The moonshot has a goal of cutting cancer deaths by at least 50 percent in the next 25 years.
- “Cancer does not discriminate red and blue, it doesn’t care if you’re Republican or a Democrat. Beating cancer is something we can do together and that’s why I’m here today,” the president said at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.
- “Unwilling to postpone, President Kennedy set a goal to win the space race against Russia and advance science and technology for all of humanity,” he said.
His speech was delivered on the 60th anniversary of Kennedy’s “moonshot” speech at Rice University in Houston, during which he outlined his plan for the U.S. to become an international leader in space exploration.
“Together, we can choose to move forward with unity, hope, and optimism. And I believe we can usher in the same unwillingness to postpone, the same national purpose that will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills. To end cancer as we know it and even cure cancers once and for all,” Biden said Monday.
The initiative, which he relaunched in February, aims to cut the cancer death rate in half over the next 25 years and improve the lives of caregivers and cancer survivors.
Dems seek opportunity with ObamaCare court ruling
Democrats are seizing on a federal judge’s ruling against ObamaCare’s prevention coverage as an opportunity to campaign on preserving health care just two months before the midterm elections.
The ruling last week by Judge Reed O’Connor in Texas escalates another battle over ObamaCare and could jeopardize access to preventive care for millions of Americans, including screenings for colorectal and other cancer, depression and hypertension, among many other services.
Running on saving the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has proven effective for Democrats in the past: The party used the GOP’s attempt to repeal the law in 2017 to mount a successful campaign in 2018 to take control of the House.
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court’s June decision to overturn Roe v. Wade gave Democrats another health issue with which to galvanize their base — and now it appears they’re looking to build on that strategy with O’Connor’s ruling.
“With the GOP’s utter disdain for our health, safety and freedom, it is only a matter of time that another drug, treatment, vaccine or health service becomes the next target of their extremism,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement shortly after the ruling.
NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE SEES JUMP IN CALLS, TEXTS
More Americans are reaching out to the national 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline more than a month after the new three-digit hotline number went live.
- The 988 lifeline received 413,425 contacts during the month of August, through phone calls, online chat messages and text messages. That’s a 45 percent increase in overall volume compared to August 2021 and about a 2 percent increase from July 2022, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
- Calls and text messages in August exceeded July metrics, except for online chats, which were at about 75,000 in July 2022.
“We want everyone to know that there is hope. Whether you’re experiencing thoughts of suicide, a mental health or substance use crisis, or any other emotional distress, there is compassionate, accessible care and support,” Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, HHS assistant secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, said in a statement.
Suicide rates have been growing in the U.S., with nearly half a million lives lost to suicide from 2010 to 2020. During the same period, the suicide death rate increased by 12 percent, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
CONCERNS ABOUT COVID EXPOSURE AT WORK STEADY SINCE LAST FALL
A third of employed adults are concerned about exposure to COVID-19 at work, a figure that is relatively unchanged since the fall last year, according to a new Gallup poll.
Negligible shift: The new survey found only a 3-point drop from November 2021, when 36 percent of workers expressed at least moderate concern for exposure to COVID-19 at work.
The percentage has fallen, however, from the first six months of the pandemic in 2020. Roughly half of respondents were uneasy about exposure at work at the time, while the percentage of those saying they are “not concerned at all” has grown from 23 percent in 2020 to a record high of 39 percent in the latest polling.
- Exposure concerns did not significantly vary by age, but the new survey did find a substantial gender gap.
- The poll was conducted before Americans started receiving booster shots designed to target omicron variants.
FDA sets meeting on OTC birth control pill application
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has scheduled a joint meeting to discuss pharmaceutical company Perrigo’s application for what could be the first over-the-counter (OTC) daily birth control pill available in the U.S., the company announced Monday.
- The joint meeting will be held on Nov. 18 with the FDA’s Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee and the Obstetrics, Reproductive, and Urologic Drugs Advisory Committee, according to Perrigo.
- If approved by the FDA, Perrigo’s progestin-only daily pill would be the first non-prescription birth control pill available in the U.S. Perrigo filed its application to move its birth control pill from prescription to OTC in July.
International norms: Many countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa already allow for OTC birth control pills to be sold.
Perrigo filed its application just weeks after the Supreme Court overturned
Roe v. Wade, leading to several states in the U.S. enacting total or near-total abortion bans. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion sparked concerns that protected access to contraceptives could also be overturned.
WHAT WE’RE READING
- So you haven’t caught COVID yet. Does that mean you’re a superdodger? (NPR)
- ‘I’m living from day to day’: Isolating for MPX can put people out of work for weeks (The Los Angeles Times)
- Store shelves are no longer bare, but baby formula remains in short supply (The New York Times)
STATE BY STATE
- Indiana court hearing set after abortion ban takes effect (AP)
- Which states have the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates? (ABC News)
- Nurses go on strike at Twin Cities, Duluth area hospitals (Star Tribune)
THE HILL OP-EDS
- Health care is, once again, Democrats’ key to victory
- The US can use the Abraham Accords to nearshore vital medications
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.
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