Overnight Health Care: House to vote next week on defending ObamaCare in court | Trump predicts Supreme Court will overturn health law | Public health advocates warn regulators over Altria deal for Juul

Welcome to Overnight Health Care. It's the eve of the new Democratic House majority, and also the 12th day of the government shutdown, with appears to have no end in sight.

On the health care front, some ObamaCare news. President TrumpDonald John TrumpAmash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' McConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Trump blasts 'corrupt' Puerto Rico's leaders amid political crisis MORE predicted the Supreme Court would overturn the health law, while House Democrats are looking to jam Republicans with an early vote on the ObamaCare lawsuit. We'll start there.

 

House to vote next week on intervening to defend ObamaCare in court

Democrats are taking over the House on Thursday, and plan to start off quickly highlighting health care.

A spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSally Yates: Moral fiber of US being 'shredded by unapologetic racism' Al Green calls for additional security for House members after Trump rally #IStandWithPresTrump trends in response to #IStandWithIlhan MORE (D-Calif.) said the vote on having the House formally intervene in court to defend ObamaCare will come next week. That's in addition to a vote this coming Thursday on intervening in the lawsuit as part of the larger package of rules for the new session of Congress.

The politics: Holding the separate additional vote next week will put Republican lawmakers on record, highlighting the political pressure that Democrats hope to put on vulnerable GOP lawmakers who campaigned last year pledging to support protections for people with pre-existing conditions. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Voting to intervene in the lawsuit is essentially symbolic, but Democrats say if GOP lawmakers vote against defending ObamaCare, they will be showing that they don't actually support the protections for people with pre-existing conditions contained in the health law. Read more on the vote here.

 

Trump predicts Supreme Court will overturn ObamaCare

President Trump on Wednesday predicted that the Supreme Court would declare ObamaCare unconstitutional, and Democrats and Republicans would have to work together on a new health plan.

"That case from Texas should win in the Supreme Court," Trump said Wednesday during a televised cabinet meeting.

"We should win at the Supreme Court, where this case will go. When we do, we will sit down with the Democrats and we will come up with great health care."

Texas District Judge Reed O'Connor, a George W. Bush appointee, recently ruled that the entire ObamaCare law is unconstitutional in a lawsuit brought by 20 Republican-led states. The suit was supported by the Trump administration.

Context: Many legal experts, on both sides of the aisle, think an appeals court will overturn O'Connor's decision.

If the case reaches the Supreme Court, it could drag the issue of health care and pre-existing conditions into the 2020 elections.

Democrats largely credit their winning the House majority to the Trump administration's decision not to defend ObamaCare in court and the GOP's attempts to repeal the law. More on Trump's remarks here.

 

If you don't get The Hill's Overnight Health Care, CLICK HERE to subscribe to our newsletter.

 

Anti-abortion groups oppose spending bill House Dems will vote on

The spending bill, which would end the shutdown, would also reverse the Trump administration's policy banning health aid to foreign NGOs that perform or promote abortion as a method of family planning.

"On day one of the new Congress, Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats are already trying to foist a radical pro-abortion agenda on the nation," said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser.

March for Life Action said it will score against any spending bill that includes the language.

Context: The bill will likely pass the House with support from the new Dem majority, but it's unlikely to be voted on in the Senate if it doesn't include money for Trump's wall.

 

Trump signs Alzheimer's bill into law

There was at least one bipartisan bill signed into law during the government shutdown.

President Trump on New Year's Eve signed the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer's Act. The bill authorizes $100 million over 5 years to create Alzheimer's public health centers for excellence to educate the public about the disease and promote effective treatment.

 

Public health advocates warn FTC over Altria's purchase of Juul

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids wants the Federal Trade Commission to "fully evaluate the public health consequences" before allowing the Altria/Juul acquisition to proceed.

In a letter to FTC Chairman Joseph Simmons, the group warned that "there is every reason to believe that the Altria/Juul combination will serve to accelerate the spread of the youth nicotine epidemic."

The group asked FTC to consult with the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Office of the Surgeon General.

Late last month, Altria announced a $12.8 billion investment into Juul, giving the tobacco giant a 35 percent ownership stake in the vaping company.

The acquisition comes amid an alarming spike in previously non-smoking young people taking up vaping. According to a National Institutes of Health survey, the number of high school seniors who say they vaped nicotine in the past 30 days has doubled since 2017 -- from 11 percent to nearly 21 percent.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Campaign noted the acquisition "will effectively combine Altria's decades of experience in marketing tobacco products to young people with Juul's extraordinary ability to design e-cigarettes with features perfectly adapted to appeal to digital-age youth."

 

What we're reading:

Drug companies greet 2019 with US price hikes (Reuters)

People in Puerto Rico can't get the same hepatitis C meds as other American citizens do (Kaiser Health News)

How PhRMA finally lost: the inside story of the group's biggest lobbying failure in years (Stat)

 

State by state:

En route to Congress, California Democrats hit wall on 'Medicare-for-All' (California Healthline)

Activists brace for 2019 abortion-rights battles in the states (NPR)

 

From The Hill's opinion page:

The 116th Congress can improve Medicare and Social Security