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Overnight Health Care: Trump officials want more time to reunite families | Washington braces for Supreme Court pick | Nebraska could be next state to vote on Medicaid expansion

Overnight Health Care: Trump officials want more time to reunite families | Washington braces for Supreme Court pick | Nebraska could be next state to vote on Medicaid expansion
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Happy Friday, and welcome to Overnight Health Care. Congress returns from recess next week and will quickly turn its focus to health care. Here are today's big stories so that you are up to date.

 

The Trump administration is asking for more time to reunite the children and parents it separated at the border as it runs up against a court-imposed deadline of July 10. 

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The Department of Justice asked a federal judge Friday to extend the deadline, arguing that it does not take into account the time needed to verify and vet each parent. 

"The government does not wish to unnecessarily delay reunification," lawyers for the Justice Department said in their response to the court.

"At the same time, however, the government has a strong interest in ensuring that any release of a child from government custody occurs in a manner that ensures the safety of the child."

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar expressed similar concerns in a call with reporters Thursday, noting that it had to use an expedited process of reviewing parents rather than a more "comprehensive one." 

Azar also said HHS is using DNA tests to speed up reunifications, but the Justice Department said Friday that inconclusive tests can lead to delays. 

Why it matters: The court ordered HHS to return children under the age of 5 to their parents by Tuesday. With the DOJ asking for more time, it's unclear how many of those children are ready to go.

Read more here.

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Nebraska could be the next red state to consider Medicaid expansion. 

Insure the Good Life, an activist group pushing for Medicaid expansion in the state, said Thursday it had gathered more than 133,000 signatures in support of a ballot initiative to get the question on the ballot in November.

Voters in Idaho and Utah will also decide in November if they want to expand Medicaid, while Maine voters approved a similar ballot measure last year. 

Why it matters: Many Republican leaders in red states have rejected Medicaid expansion. But taking the issue directly to the voters is a way to work around that. Currently, 34 states, including DC, have expanded Medicaid. If these ballot initiatives are successful, it could inspire similar expansion campaigns in other states. 

Read more here.

 

Happening next week: 

Monday: 2 p.m. at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. HHS Secretary Azar will deliver remarks at the 340B Coalition Summer Conference. 

Wednesday: 10 a.m. in Rayburn House Office Building room 2123. The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on the 340B Drug Pricing program. 

1 p.m. in Rayburn 2123. The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection will hold a hearing on drug impaired driving. 

Thursday: 2 p.m. in Rayburn 2200. The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations will hold a hearing on tuberculosis in Southern Africa.

 

Also coming next week: President TrumpDonald John TrumpMore than 300 military family members endorse Biden Five takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Biden: 'I would transition from the oil industry' MORE says he will announce his pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. 

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The health angle: Expect plenty of fighting between Democrats and Republicans about the nominee's position on Roe v. Wade. Groups on the left have been buying up ad space all week urging Democrats to vote against any nominee that doesn't support access to abortion. 

But Trump has said he will only nominate "pro-life" justices to the Supreme Court. 

 

Republican attorneys general hit back at the Trump administration in an ongoing lawsuit targeting ObamaCare.

Texas, and 19 other states, filed a lawsuit earlier this year arguing that Congress' repeal of ObamaCare's individual mandate penalty makes the entire law unconstitutional. 

Last month, the Department of Justice sided in part with the states, but said aside from the law's protections for people with preexisting conditions, the rest of the law can stand. 

The states disagree and asked in a brief Thursday evening for a judge to place an immediate injunction on the enforcement of ObamaCare. 

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From California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraSecond court blocks Trump's order to exclude undocumented immigrants from census California Republicans agree not to use unofficial ballot drop boxes Schwarzenegger: California GOP has gone 'off the rails' with unofficial ballot boxes MORE, who is leading a coalition of Democratic states to defend the Affordable Care Act in court: 

"The Texas lawsuit is based on a dubious legal claim with the sole goal of stripping Americans of their healthcare. The proponents of the Texas lawsuit want to eliminate the preventive care and prescription drug benefits for working families, seniors and people with disabilities. To roll back the clock and risk the health of millions of Americans is irresponsible and dangerous. We can't and we won't go back."

 

A nonprofit aligned with Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcCarthy faces pushback from anxious Republicans over interview comments Pelosi and Trump go a full year without speaking Jordan vows to back McCarthy as leader even if House loses more GOP seats MORE is dropping $2 million on ads touting the House's efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. 

The ads will air in 10 congressional districts ahead of November's midterm election, including some with competitive races for Republican incumbents, including GOP Reps. Mike CoffmanMichael (Mike) Howard CoffmanColorado mayor says he called protesters 'domestic terrorists' out of 'frustration' Colorado governor directs officials to reexamine death of Elijah McClain in police custody Petition demanding justice for Elijah McClain surpasses 2 million signatures MORE (Colo.) Peter Roskam Peter James RoskamPostcards become unlikely tool in effort to oust Trump Bottom line Lobbying world MORE (Ill.), Andy BarrAndy BarrReclaiming the American Dream Powell, Mnuchin stress limits of current emergency lending programs McConnell holds 12-point lead over Democratic challenger McGrath: poll MORE (Ky.), Bruce PoliquinBruce Lee PoliquinBallot measures across US aim to overhaul voting practices Dale Crafts wins Maine GOP primary to face Rep. Jared Golden House Democrats make initial ad buys in battleground states MORE (Maine), Claudia Tenney (N.Y.), Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotDemocrats, GOP fighting over largest House battlefield in a decade Republican fears grow over rising Democratic tide Speaker Pelosi, House Democrats leave town, fail the American people MORE (Ohio), and Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickLawmakers urge IRS to get stimulus payments to domestic violence survivors Hopes for DC, Puerto Rico statehood rise Florida Democrat introduces bill to recognize Puerto Rico statehood referendum MORE (Pa.) 

An ad will also air in the district of Rep. Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenRace heats up for top GOP post on powerful Energy and Commerce Committee Asbestos ban stalls in Congress amid partisan fight Hillicon Valley: Judge's ruling creates fresh hurdle for TikTok | House passes bills to secure energy sector against cyberattacks | Biden campaign urges Facebook to remove Trump posts spreading 'falsehoods' MORE (R-Ore.), the chairman of the House subcommittee that led the work on the bills. 

AAN is also airing the ads in the districts of two Democrats running in uncompetitive races: Reps. Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkPocan won't seek another term as Progressive Caucus co-chair Democratic leaders: Supreme Court fight is about ObamaCare Rep. Robin Kelly enters race for Democratic caucus vice chair MORE (Mass.) and Mark DeSaulnierMark James DeSaulnierDozens of Democrats plan to vote remotely in a first for the House Rep. DeSaulnier leaves ICU after 3 weeks to continue treatment for pneumonia Rep. DeSaulnier in critical condition due to pneumonia MORE (Calif.) 

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Read more here.

 

Odds & ends 

Health care jobs rose by 25,000 in the month of June, continuing strong growth for the industry, according to the jobs report released Friday.

The FDA announced revised guidance on the testing of donated blood for the Zika virus. 

 

What we're reading

What a U.S.-China trade war could mean for the opioid epidemic (Kaiser Health News)

In a rare success, Paraguay conquers malaria (The New York Times)

 

State by state 

New law preserves ACA measures for Hawaii residents (hawaiinewsnow.com)

What does a drug cost? It depends where you live. (The New York Times)