Overnight Health Care: Dem chair meets Trump health chief on drug prices | Trump officials sued over new Kentucky Medicaid work rules | Democrats vow to lift ban on federal funds for abortions

Overnight Health Care: Dem chair meets Trump health chief on drug prices | Trump officials sued over new Kentucky Medicaid work rules | Democrats vow to lift ban on federal funds for abortions
© Camille Fine

Welcome to Tuesday's Overnight Health Care, where the government is still shut down, there's another lawsuit over Medicaid work requirements, and a key Democrat met with the administration on drug pricing. We'll start with that meeting...

 

Dem chairman Cummings meets with Trump health chief to discuss drug prices

Amid all the talk of bipartisan action on drug prices, this is an interesting development: House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsDems press Barr to make Mueller report public Trump bans abortion providers, referrals from family planning program Cohen to testify before Senate Intel on Tuesday MORE (D-Md.) met with Health Secretary Alex Azar on Tuesday.

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"He pledged that he wants to work with me," Cummings told reporters after the meeting. "We have similar goals but the main goal is bringing down the price of drugs. We agreed that we would do everything we could to work together."

The problem: What specifics do they agree on beyond the larger goal of lowering drug prices?

Cummings did not name any specific legislation that the two agreed on in the meeting.

"He's aware of our legislation," Cummings said. "We are headed for the same goals, but not necessarily the exact same legislation, so I've got to tell you I came out of the meeting feeling hopeful that this is something that we can do on a bipartisan basis."

Read more here.

 

Trump administration sued over new Kentucky Medicaid work requirements

What's old is new again.

More than a dozen Medicaid beneficiaries in Kentucky have filed another lawsuit against the Trump administration over its reapproval of the state's controversial Medicaid waiver.

The lawsuit comes after a federal judge in June blocked Kentucky's efforts to impose work requirements and premiums on beneficiaries days before the waiver was set to go into effect.

Flashback: Obama-appointee Judge James Boasberg ruled the administration never adequately considered whether the work requirements and other restrictions would violate the program's central purpose of providing medical assistance to vulnerable citizens.

What's new: After the ruling, the Trump administration opened a new comment period, and re-approved the waiver. Kentucky made no changes to its request, and the administration approved it in November. The work requirements, high premiums and cost sharing, lockouts, and other policies are all still there. The waiver is now scheduled to take effect in April. The 15 plaintiffs suing the administration filed their suit in the same federal court. They want to have the new Trump administration approval also declared to be arbitrary and capricious.

"The Secretary is working to effectively rewrite the Medicaid statute, ignoring congressional restrictions, overturning a half century of administrative practice, and threatening irreparable harm to the health and welfare of the poorest and most vulnerable in our country," the complaint says.

More on the lawsuit here.

 

Democrats vow to lift ban on federal funds for abortions

File under goals Democratic goals have will be hard to enact: House Democrats on Tuesday vowed to repeal a ban on the use of federal funds for abortions.

While a repeal of the long-standing ban is unlikely with Republican control of the Senate, the move indicates the direction Democrats want to go should they gain control of the upper chamber in 2020.

"We are going to end the Hyde Amendment," said Rep. Diana DeGetteDiana Louise DeGetteOvernight 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 Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Powerful House committee turns to drug pricing | Utah governor defies voters on Medicaid expansion | Dems want answers on controversial new opioid MORE (D-Colo.), co-chairwoman of the House Pro-Choice Caucus.

"We intend to fight aggressively to reverse the terrible decisions made by the Trump administration, and frankly previous administrations, going back 40 years."

The Hyde Amendment was initially passed through Congress shortly after the Supreme Court's landmark decision legalizing abortion in Roe v. Wade in 1973

The amendment, which has been added to every appropriations bill ever since, prohibits the use of federal funds for abortions, including through Medicaid, the health care program for the poor, except in the cases of rape, incest, or if the woman's life is endangered.

Read more here.

 

It's back: Senate Dems reintroduce resolution defending ObamaCare

Democrats are continuing to hammer Republicans over the lawsuit seeking to overturn ObamaCare. The latest move: A press conference on Tuesday with Senate Democrats to reintroduce their resolution to intervene in the lawsuit to defend the health law.

The resolution passed the House, but given the GOP majority in the Senate, it's not going anywhere in that chamber.

The politics: Even if the resolution won't succeed in the Senate, Democrats want to call attention to the lawsuit and attack Republicans over it.

"You'd think the Republican party would learn," Senate Democratic Leader Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDon’t look for House GOP to defy Trump on border wall GOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats National emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win MORE (N.Y.) said of GOP anti-ObamaCare efforts. "This hurt them in the election...and yet they persist."

 

New E&C subcommittee chairwomen
Rep. Anna EshooAnna Georges EshooFemale Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations Dems urge regulators to reject T-Mobile, Sprint merger House Dems to mull bills to overturn Trump ObamaCare actions MORE (D-Calif.) will chair the Energy and Commerce health subcommittee, and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) will chair the Oversight subcommittee. 

 

What we're reading

Clinics struggle to resolve fears over Medicaid sign-ups and green cards (NPR)

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Walmart could leave CVS Caremark pharmacy networks amid dispute (The Wall Street Journal)

'A blizzard of prescriptions': Documents reveal new details about Purdue's marketing of OxyContin (Stat)

 

State by state

Wisconsin governor predicts he will prevail on Medicaid expansion (Associated Press)

Massachusetts will ask Medicaid patients about quality of care (Boston Globe)

Texas state health officials call on legislators for funds to fight maternal deaths, tuberculosis (Austin Statesman)