Overnight Health Care: Kavanaugh hearing off to contentious start | Planned Parenthood targets Kavanaugh in new ads | Patient groups pan GOP bill on pre-existing conditions

Overnight Health Care: Kavanaugh hearing off to contentious start | Planned Parenthood targets Kavanaugh in new ads | Patient groups pan GOP bill on pre-existing conditions
© Greg Nash

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It's finally Kavanaugh Week!


Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh started a week of hearings in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee today, but frequent protests and Democratic motions meant he didn't give his opening statement until late in the afternoon.

The hearing will resume Wednesday morning, when, presumably, Democrats will try to get Kavanaugh to give his views on a range of health-care issues, from pre-existing conditions to abortion. While it's unlikely they will succeed, advocacy groups are raising the alarm over his nomination.

To recap the day, check out The Hill's live blog on today's, at times, wild hearing.


Planned Parenthood is out with new TV ads in D.C. and Alaska Tuesday just as Kavanaugh begins his Senate confirmation hearing.

The ads in D.C. will air through this week on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday. Ads in Alaska will air on TV and radio.

The six-figure ad buy highlights the "risk" Kavanaugh's nomination poses to abortion access in the U.S. and urges senators to vote against his confirmation.


Read more here.


More on Kavanaugh:

Dems interrupt Kavanaugh hearing, asking that it be adjourned.

Protesters dress as "handmaids" for hearing.

Capitol Police arrest 70 during first day of hearings.

Trump slams Dems for "mean, angry and despicable" hearing.

Cornyn says Kavanaugh hearing dissolved into "mob rule."

Hatch snaps at protesters for "insolence."

And tune in to the Hill's coverage tomorrow for day two.


Patient groups say GOP bill on pre-existing conditions is insufficient

10 Republican senators last month introduced a bill trying to show that Republicans support maintaining protections for pre-existing conditions even if a GOP-backed lawsuit against ObamaCare succeeds.

But now more than 25 patient groups say the bill is insufficient.


The problem, according to the patient groups: The measure would enshrine into law the Affordable Care Act's protections against charging more money or denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

However, the groups note that the measure does not include a ban on insurers simply excluding coverage of pre-existing conditions, meaning insurers could offer plans that do not cover the care that patients need most while still not denying coverage outright.

The legislation also would allow insurers to charge higher premiums based on factors like age, the groups note.

The groups issuing the statement include the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and American Diabetes Association.

Read more here.


Speaking of the ObamaCare lawsuit, arguments are tomorrow


Oral arguments in the case will start on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. EDT, 9:30 a.m. local time in Fort Worth, Texas, and are expected to last for a couple of hours.

Participants will be on the lookout for clues on how the judge is thinking.

Democrats will be stepping up their messaging around the case, which already has been a main theme of their midterm campaign message, arguing that Republicans are jeopardizing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

Check back at TheHill.com tonight for a curtain raiser on the arguments and the high stakes for both parties.


Health care attacks heat up in Nevada Senate race

Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerOn The Trail: Democrats plan to hammer Trump on Social Security, Medicare Lobbying World Democrats spend big to put Senate in play MORE (R-Nev.) has been getting hammered on health care by opponent Rep. Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenSchumer reminds colleagues to respect decorum at State of the Union speech Senate confirms Trump's 50th circuit judge, despite 'not qualified' rating Hillicon Valley: Facebook to remove mentions of potential whistleblower's name | House Dems demand FCC action over leak of location data | Dem presses regulators to secure health care data MORE (D-Nev.). Now he's hitting back.


Heller launched a new ad on Tuesday that seeks to counter an ad from Rosen last month that called him "Senator Spineless" and featured an inflatable figure waving in the wind.

Heller's ad features him standing in front of the same inflatable figure, where he states, "Jacky Rosen's idea of fixing health care? A campaign commercial. The truth is, in her two years in Congress, Jacky Rosen has done nothing to fix health care. Nothing. Zero."

What's he responding to? Rosen's ad last month hit Heller for initially opposing GOP ObamaCare repeal efforts last year at a high-profile press conference alongside the state's GOP governor, Brian Sandoval, before later sponsoring an ObamaCare repeal and replacement bill of his own, called Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson.

How do Heller's claims stack up? Heller argues in his new ad that he is "fighting to protect pre-existing conditions."

He cites a bill he cosponsored last month with other GOP senators to enshrine into law ObamaCare protections against people with pre-existing conditions getting charged more or denied coverage in case the Republican lawsuit against ObamaCare succeeds.

However, Larry Levitt, a health policy expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said that the GOP bill would still allow insurers to exclude coverage of pre-existing conditions altogether, making the protections in the measure "something of a mirage."

In addition, the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson ObamaCare repeal and replacement bill that Heller backed also took fire last year for its provisions on pre-existing conditions. That measure would have allowed states to waive ObamaCare's protections against people with pre-existing conditions being charged higher premiums.

Read more here.


What we're reading

What's at stake in the latest Affordable Care Act court battle (NPR.com)

One of ObamaCare's big experiments to lower costs is working surprisingly well (Vox.com)

The high cost of hope: when the parallel interests of pharma and families collide (The Daily Beast)

Health insurance premiums on marketplaces are settling down (NPR)


State by state

California state lawmakers push to protect patients and counter Trump (California Health Line)

Maine Gov. LePage files Medicaid expansion plan but urges feds to reject it (pressherald.com)


The Hill event

Join us Wednesday, September 12 for "A Healthy Start: Infant and Early Childhood Nutrition," featuring Reps. Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.) and Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottOvernight Health Care: House panel advances legislation on surprise medical bills | Planned Parenthood, ACLU sue over Trump abortion coverage rule | CDC identifies 13th US patient with coronavirus House panel advances bipartisan surprise billing legislation despite divisions Ex-HHS chief threatens to vote 'no' on surprise medical billing measure 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.