Overnight Health Care — Presented by the Association of American Medical Colleges — Governors criticize Trump move on pre-existing conditions

Overnight Health Care — Presented by the Association of American Medical Colleges — Governors criticize Trump move on pre-existing conditions
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Happy Monday, and welcome to Overnight Health Care.

Today in Washington, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump nominates ambassador to Turkey Trump heads to Mar-a-Lago after signing bill to avert shutdown CNN, MSNBC to air ad turned down by Fox over Nazi imagery MORE defended his policy of allowing undocumented children and their parents to be separated at the southern border, saying he wouldn't let the country be a "migrant camp." The controversy consumed the White House, with officials repeatedly delaying the day's press briefing before bringing out Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenTrump taps FEMA official to lead agency Unscripted Trump keeps audience guessing in Rose Garden The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine - Will there be any last-minute shutdown drama? MORE to answer questions about the policy. The head of the American Academy of Pediatrics also joined the chorus of critics.


Pediatricians group chief slams child separation policy

The president of the American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday said President Trump's "zero tolerance" policy separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border "amounts to child abuse." 

Dr. Colleen Kraft in an appearance on CNN described the many ways Trump's policy emotionally harms children and laid out in detail what she witnessed when she toured an immigration detention center. 

"I can't describe to you the room I was in with the toddlers," Kraft said. "Normally toddlers are rambunctious and running around. We had one child just screaming and crying, and the others were really silent. And this is not normal activity or brain development with these children."

Kraft added that the emotional strain the children in these facilities are under produces a condition called "toxic stress" and that it inhibits the development of their brains. 

"It disrupts their brain architecture and keeps them from developing language and social, emotional bonds, and gross motor skills, and the development that they could possibly have," she said.

More on the controversy here.



And on to another fight... this time over ObamaCare protections.


Bipartisan governors group denounces Trump on pre-existing conditions.

The bipartisan governors group that has teamed up on health care in the past is back, this time calling for the Trump administration to reverse course on arguing against pre-existing condition protections in court.

"The administration's disappointing decision to no longer defend this provision of federal law threatens health care coverage for many in our states with pre-existing conditions and adds uncertainty and higher costs for Americans who purchase their own health insurance," the governors said.

Who joined the statement?: Govs. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), John Kasich (R-Ohio), Bill Walker (I-Alaska), Tom Wolf (D-Pa.), Brian Sandoval (R-Nev.), Steve Bullock (D-Mont.), Larry Hogan (R-Md.), Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), and Roy Cooper (D-N.C.).

2020 angle: Several of the governors are seen as potential presidential candidates, including Kasich, a Republican who has been critical of Trump.

Kasich and Hickenlooper have teamed up on bipartisan health care proposals in recent months.

Democrats seizing on the issue: Democrats are early bringing up the issue in midterm campaigns. The latest example? On Monday Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William Nelson2020 party politics in Puerto Rico There is no winning without Latinos as part of your coalition Dem 2020 candidates court Puerto Rico as long nomination contest looms MORE (D-Fla.) held an event with people with pre-existing conditions. Nelson is in a tough race for reelection against Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R).

More on the governors' stance here


Congress is trying to tackle the opioid epidemic as deaths from the crisis are mounting. But will lawmakers' efforts help?

Many public health advocates applaud the House's effort, while some say there's still more work to be done to curb an epidemic that sees an estimated 115 Americans dying per day of an opioid-related overdose. This underscores the challenge for congressional leaders as they attempt to tackle this perplexing public health program.

Key quote: "These bills are a good step forward, but we need additional focus and resources and investment to really turn the tide of the opioid epidemic," said Rebecca Farley David, vice president of policy and advocacy at the National Council for Behavioral Health. "I think they have taken action on some very important issues."

Farley David though has concerns about bills centering around grant-funded initiatives. Grants are needed, but they're time-limited, she said, and more permanent solutions are necessary so the grantees don't have to worry that their funding will get cut off in a few years.
Last week: Congress passed 38 bills last week related to the opioid epidemic, mostly with little opposition (Democrats largely opposed three measures).

This week: The House plans to consider at least another 19 measures and send a package to the Senate, according to the majority leader's office.

Read more here.


Bipartisan group of senators target drug shortages.

Sens. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyHouse passes bill to end US support for Saudi war in Yemen This week: Border deal remains elusive as shutdown looms Border talks stall as another shutdown looms MORE (D-Conn.) and Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyIvanka Trump to meet with GOP senators to discuss paid family leave legislation Bipartisan senators ask industry for information on surprise medical bills Virginia abortion bill reignites national debate MORE (R-La.) led 29 of their colleagues in a letter to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. Their ask: for the agency to convene its Drug Shortages Task Force in an effort to determine the causes behind nationwide shortages and craft policy recommendations on how to fix them, by no later than the end of 2019.

What's being affected: There are shortages for some routinely used drugs, making the issue particularly acute. This includes for local anesthetics and sterile IV fluids, the latter of which is used to deliver nearly every drug in an emergency or surgical setting.

We have more on the letter here.


Monday roundup

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday said that compulsively playing video games classifies as a mental health condition.

Rep. Jaime Herrera BeutlerJaime Lynn Herrera BeutlerHouse Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 House votes on 10th bill to reopen government House does redo vote on bill to reopen government MORE (R-Wash.) in an interview on Hill.TV's morning show "Rising" said little has been done to address the alarming racial disparities in maternal deaths. She's introduced legislation with Dem Rep. Raja KrishnamoorthiSubramanian (Raja) Raja KrishnamoorthiIt’s time to shut down all future government shutdowns Democrats are zeroing in on Treasury’s Mnuchin House Democrats clash with Mnuchin following sanctions briefing MORE (Ill.) to cut the maternal death rate in half.

ICYMI from Friday: Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the embattled health startup Theranos, was charged in federal court with wire fraud by prosecutors alleging that the company was a "multi-million dollar scheme to defraud investors."

Also, we break down what you need to know about the legal fight over Kentucky's Medicaid rules.



Sponsored Content -Association of American Medical Colleges

While all doctors are trained to treat pain and addiction, specialists in these fields are critical to address this issue in urban and rural communities alike. The bipartisan "Opioid Workforce Act of 2018" would provide federal support to train more doctors in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, and pain management. We urge Congress to include this legislation in any final package to combat the opioid epidemic. www.aamc.org/opioidresponse



What we're reading

Secret VA nursing home ratings hide poor quality care from the public (USA Today/Boston Globe)

Puerto Rico struggles with jump in asthma cases post-Maria (Associated Press)

Republicans give up on Medicare overhaul (Politico)

State by state

Delaware's health care spending benchmark is complicated. Here are 5 things to know (Delaware News Journal)

Democrats press Florida governor Scott on pre-existing conditions (Tampa Bay Times)

Three health insurance companies to stay in marketplace for N.H. (Associated Press)


From The Hill's opinion pages

Toxic effects of stress on children separated from parents

Tommy Thompson: Here's how we can use better data to combat opioids