Overnight Health Care: Collins says Kavanaugh sees Roe v. Wade as 'settled law' | Insurers back pricing disclosure measure | Pfizer extends EpiPen expiration dates amid shortage

Overnight Health Care: Collins says Kavanaugh sees Roe v. Wade as 'settled law' | Insurers back pricing disclosure measure | Pfizer extends EpiPen expiration dates amid shortage
© Greg Nash

Happy Tuesday, and welcome to Overnight Health Care. In case you missed anything in the health care world in the wake of the Michael Cohen plea, the Paul Manafort verdict and the Trump rally in West Virginia, worry not, we have you covered.

Today's big story in health care involves Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

 

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOn The Money: Senate Dems to introduce resolution blocking Trump emergency declaration | Banks made billion in extra profits thanks to GOP tax law | IRS analyst charged with leaking Cohen's financial records Senate Dems to introduce resolution blocking Trump's emergency declaration The Hill's Morning Report - What to watch for as Mueller’s probe winds down MORE says Kavanaugh considers Roe v. Wade 'settled law'.

Collins (R-Maine), a key vote, has been sounding pretty positive about the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court.

Collins said Tuesday that Kavanaugh assured her during their meeting that he believes the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion is "settled law."

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"We talked about whether he considered Roe to be settled law. And he said that he agreed with what Justice [John] Roberts said at his nomination hearing, at which he said that it was settled law," Collins told reporters.

Her comments come after she had a roughly two-hour, closed-door meeting with Kavanaugh, making it one of his longest one-on-one sitdowns with a senator.

"We talked at length about precedent and the application of stare decisis to the abortion cases," she said, referring to the judicial doctrine of precedent.

"We talked about executive power. ... We talked about his judicial philosophy."

Read more about the meeting here.

 

Democrats and their allies appeared unmoved by Collins's comments.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats National emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win House Judiciary Dems seek answers over Trump's national emergency declaration MORE (D-N.Y.) compared Kavanaugh's answer to a "judicial dodge."

"This is not as simple as Judge Kavanaugh is saying Roe is settled law. Everything the Supreme Court decides is settled law until it unsettles it. Saying a case is settled law is not the same thing as saying a case was correctly decided," Schumer told reporters.

NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue said Collins's reference to Roberts was "troubling."

More reaction here.

 

Insurers back amendment to force pharma price disclosures.

The insurance lobby is backing a bipartisan amendment to a government spending bill that would require drug companies to disclose the pricing information in direct-to-consumer advertising.

It's not clear yet whether the amendment from Sens. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyThe Hill's Morning Report - What to watch for as Mueller’s probe winds down Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — Drug pricing fight centers on insulin | Florida governor working with Trump to import cheaper drugs | Dems blast proposed ObamaCare changes Drug pricing fight centers on insulin MORE (R-Iowa) and Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinOvernight Energy: Trump ends talks with California on car emissions | Dems face tough vote on Green New Deal | Climate PAC backing Inslee in possible 2020 run Dems face tough vote on Green New Deal Durbin: Trump pressuring acting AG in Cohen probe is 'no surprise' MORE (D-Ill.) will get a vote, but the disclosure requirement was included in President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff urges GOP colleagues to share private concerns about Trump publicly US-China trade talks draw criticism for lack of women in pictures Overnight Defense: Trump to leave 200 troops in Syria | Trump, Kim plan one-on-one meeting | Pentagon asks DHS to justify moving funds for border wall MORE's drug pricing blueprint. The bipartisan nature of the amendment could push it across the finish line.

In a letter to Durbin and Grassley, America's Health Insurance Plans praised the amendment.

"Your amendment--by taking an important step toward disclosure of pharmaceutical pricing information--recognizes that greater transparency is a crucial ingredient of the broad-based strategy that is needed to put downward pressure on prescription drug prices," AHIP wrote.

The details: Experts are not sure whether forcing drug companies to show the list prices would actually do much to bring down costs, but in the long-running battle over high drug prices, the insurance industry is happy to point fingers at drug companies.

The industry group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) has said the information that would be disclosed in the ads -- list prices -- are often not the prices insurers pay and are generally not a good indicator of what patients will pay at the pharmacy counter.

They also raised First Amendment concerns at the government mandating any type of speech.

Durbin and Grassley want to attach the amendment to a massive Defense, Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor and Education funding bill that is currently being debated on the Senate floor.

 

In other news about that bill...

Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump escalates fight with NY Times The 10 GOP senators who may break with Trump on emergency On unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 MORE wants to use the spending bill to defund Planned Parenthood.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has filed an amendment to the health, defense and labor bill that would prevent federal funding from going to the organization and others that perform abortions.

"This is our chance to turn our words into action, stand up for the sanctity of life, and speak out for the most innocent among us that have no voice," Paul said in a statement.

The Kentucky Republican added that preventing taxpayer dollars from going to abortion providers should be "one of the top priorities" for the GOP-controlled Congress.

The trouble for Paul: Despite Republicans having control of the White House and both houses of Congress, they've been unable to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood. But this amendment is not likely the way it will happen. Leadership has agreed to avoid attaching so-called poison pill proposals to their legislation, so it will be a struggle to get a vote on Paul's amendment.

Read more here  

 

McCaskill presses Trump official on lawsuit against pre-existing condition protections.

Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillPoll: 33% of Kentucky voters approve of McConnell McCaskill: Lindsey Graham 'has lost his mind' Trey Gowdy joins Fox News as a contributor MORE (D-Mo.) made clear again Tuesday that she's putting a lawsuit against ObamaCare's protections for pre-existing conditions at the center of her reelection campaign.

"There does not seem to be any sense of urgency about the fact that this lawsuit is moving its way through the courts and could blow up all of the protections," McCaskill said in questioning CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

"I just want you to walk us down what happens if the administration is successful in their lawsuit," she added.

Verma responded that she supports protections for people with pre-existing conditions and that if the lawsuit backed by the administration against ObamaCare is successful she would work with Congress to try to reinstate them.

"I agree with you that those individuals should have the appropriate protections in place, and if the law changes in any way, shape or form around that, we would work with Congress to address that issue to make sure that they had the appropriate protections in place," Verma said.

Read more here.

 

Pfizer extends some EpiPen expiration dates amid national shortage.

The Food and Drug Administration is working with Pfizer to extend the expiration dates for some EpiPens amid a national shortage of the allergy drug.

Pfizer will extend by four months expiration dates of EpiPen 0.3 milligram Auto-Injectors and its authorized generic.

"Patients should have confidence in using the products from these particular lots as Pfizer works to stabilize supply, which is anticipated in the fourth-quarter of 2018," Pfizer said in a statement Tuesday.

Why it matters: There's been a nationwide shortage of EpiPens for months, with Pfizer citing "manufacturing constraints."

"Pfizer is working tirelessly to increase production and expedite shipments as rapidly as possible," the company said. "Currently supplies vary from pharmacy to pharmacy, and we cannot guarantee that product will be available at all pharmacies."

Read more here.

 

Join The Hill Wednesday, Sept. 12 for "A Healthy Start: Infant and Early Childhood Nutrition," featuring Reps. Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.) and Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottTop Dems blast administration's proposed ObamaCare changes Virginia congressional delegation says it's 'devastated by’ Richmond Turmoil The Hill's 12:30 Report: AOC unveils Green New Deal measure | Trump hits Virginia Dems | Dems begin hearings to get Trump tax returns MORE (D-Va.), and Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service Brandon Lipps. Editor in Chief Bob Cusack will sit down with the headliners to discuss maternal, infant, and early childhood nutrition, and what steps can be taken to establish healthier eating patterns across all communities. RSVP here.

 

What we're reading

Poll: Most American know about the opioid antidote and are willing to use it (NPR)

GOP senator to NIH: Retire your chimPs faster (STAT)

 

State by state

U.S. approves waiver to allow Maryland to lower ObamaCare premium costs (Baltimore Sun)

Ohio Gov. Kasich touts benefits of Medicaid expansion (cincinnati.com)

 

From The Hill's opinion page

Health-care worker infections add to Ebola challenge in Congo