Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by Amgen — For Republicans, fight over fetal tissue research comes back to Planned Parenthood | CDC traces contaminated romaine lettuce to California farm | Dems aim to punt vote on ObamaCare taxes

Welcome to Thursday's Overnight Health Care.

The FDA and CDC have cleared romaine lettuce from more counties, but are still investigating the e-coli outbreak. Also, Republicans are fighting over fetal tissue, an appeals court blocked Trump's birth control rule, and Dems are trying to punt a vote on ObamaCare taxes. First up...

 

For Republicans, fight over fetal tissue research comes back to Planned Parenthood

Congress was back to fighting over a familiar subject on Thursday: Planned Parenthood.

"Taxpayers are paying on the front end for something that many of the folks that I get the privilege to represent just think is absolutely wrong -- giving money to Planned Parenthood, which is taking life from unborn kids," Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanMcCarthy, allies retaliate against Freedom Caucus leader Republicans request update on investigation into ex-FBI official accused of leaks GOP lawmakers rip Dems for calling Cohen to testify MORE (R-Ohio) said at a House hearing on fetal tissue on Thursday.

"And then paying on the back end for the very tissue that was used in a practice they don't approve of to get results that can be achieved with alternatives."

Background: Anti-abortion groups and Republicans in Congress have led the charge this year in pushing the administration to cancel more than $100 million a year in contracts the National Institutes of Health (NIH) spends on projects that involve fetal tissue, arguing that better alternatives are available.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, chaired by government affairs subcommittee Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsOvernight Health Care: Trump vows to veto bills expanding abortion rights | Abortion foes march into divided Washington | Medicaid work requirements approved in Arizona Abortion foes march into divided Washington McCarthy, allies retaliate against Freedom Caucus leader MORE (R-N.C.), looked to add pressure this week as the Trump administration tries to reach a decision about how to move forward.

More on the fight here.

 

 

Appeals court blocks Trump birth control rules in five states

A U.S. appeals court on Thursday blocked Trump administration rules that would allow businesses to claim moral and religious exemptions to ObamaCare's contraception mandate.

The ruling only applies to the five states that filed a joint lawsuit against the rules last year: California, Delaware, Maryland, New York and Virginia.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a preliminary injunction on the rules by a district court.

More here.

 

Dems aim to punt vote on ObamaCare taxes

It's that time of year again when health-care industry groups mobilize to try and delay  looming taxes. But Democrats have other ideas. They want to wait until they're in charge next year to deal with this issue.

At issue are the medical device tax, Health Insurance Tax, and tax on generous "Cadillac" health plans.

"The sense that I get is that the Democrats would prefer to deal with the ACA [Affordable Care Act] taxes under Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi," said James Gelfand, senior vice president for health policy at the ERISA Industry Committee, which represents large employers and is pushing to delay the Cadillac tax.

A House Democratic aide struck a similar note. "I don't see an incentive for Democrats to work on these issues in the limited time we have left this year," the aide said.

Bigger action next year? Gelfand said his hope was that if work on the Cadillac tax slips into next year, House Democrats could move to fully repeal it, not just delay it.

Unions, major Democratic allies, have long been fierce opponents of the Cadillac tax, making the issue more of a priority for many Democrats than delaying the other two ObamaCare taxes.

More on the tax wrangling here.

 

Government shelters now housing nearly 15K migrant children

Nearly 15,000 migrant children are being held at government shelters, putting the facilities nearly at capacity, NPR reported Thursday.

The news outlet reported that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said its network of more than 100 shelters is 92 percent full. The influx of migrant children in recent months has prompted the department to weigh options for how to accommodate additional bodies.

HHS confirmed to The Hill that there are "about 14,700" unaccompanied migrant children in government custody, but would not confirm how close to capacity the shelters are. An official said the program is set up to expand and contract as needed

A senior official with the department told NPR that "everything is on the table" to address the crowding at shelters, including releasing the children more quickly to sponsors in the U.S. or building additional shelters.

Read more here.

 

CDC traces e-coli outbreak to a California farm

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday said they had traced the source of an e-coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce, but officials said the investigation is still ongoing.

Investigators found the e-coli strain in a contaminated agricultural water reservoir on a farm in Santa Barbara county. Officials with the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration said the Adam Bros. Farming, Inc. farm has been cooperating with the investigation and has stopped shipping lettuce.

However, the officials said not all illnesses could be traced to this farm, so the contamination is likely coming from somewhere else.

Fifty-nine people have been infected across 15 states, CDC and FDA said.  

More on the outbreak here.

 

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What we're reading

We read Democrats' 8 plans for universal health care. Here's how they work. (Vox.com)

Arkansas tries to simplify Medicaid work requirements (CNN)

Deep in the troubled heart of Texas, health care suffers (NBC)

 

State by state

Proposed Oklahoma senate bill would eliminate Medicaid program for low-income pregnant women (KFOR)

New York's brewing health-care battle is a preview of the Medicare for All war (Vice)

Ohio lawmakers poised to send Gov. Kasich two abortion bans. Which will he sign? (Cincinnati Enquirer)  

 

From The Hill's opinion page

Voters on both sides chose people who pledged to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid