Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — State of the Union takeaways | DOJ sues to stop country’s first safe injection site | House Dems to consider bills to overturn Trump ObamaCare actions

Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — State of the Union takeaways | DOJ sues to stop country’s first safe injection site | House Dems to consider bills to overturn Trump ObamaCare actions
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Overnight Health Care.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE's State of the Union featured a heavy dose of health care, which included both fiercely partisan appeals and bipartisan ones. 

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice is taking action for the first time to stop what could be the country's first safe injection site for opioids from opening. 

We'll start with some of the highlights from last night's speech:  

  • Drug prices: No surprise, Trump talked about lowering drug prices, but there weren’t many details and nothing much that he hasn’t said before. “I am asking Congress to pass legislation that finally takes on the problem of global freeloading and delivers fairness and price transparency for American patients, finally,” Trump said. 
  • Abortion: On a much more polarized note, Trump attacked abortion laws in Virginia and New York and called for Congress to pass legislation banning late-term abortion (which has no chance in a Democratic House).
  • HIV and cancer: He called for eliminating the HIV epidemic in the United States in 10 years, an ambitious goal, and providing $500 million over 10 years for research into childhood cancer. (In the context of the the National Institutes of Health budget, that’s not much.)




House Dems to consider bills to overturn Trump ObamaCare actions

Now that the shutdown is over, House Democrats’ efforts to push back on Trump’s ObamaCare actions are ramping up.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will consider three bills at a hearing next week to:

  • Overturn the expansion of cheaper, skimpier "junk" plans
  • Restore funding for ACA enrollment outreach that Trump cut
  • Overturn guidance letting states make conservative changes to the health law

The politics: The hearing is part of an effort by the new Democratic House majority to highlight what they call Trump’s “sabotage” of the ACA, and take actions to reverse it.

The bills likely have no chance of passing through the GOP-controlled Senate,  but they provide Democrats a chance to show their priorities and highlight Trump’s actions.

Read more here.


Cuomo pens op-ed blasting Trump for 'assault on abortion rights'

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Wednesday accused President Trump of "spreading lies" about the state's recent legislation to expand access to abortion after the president seized on the law during his State of the Union address.

Cuomo wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times that Trump and the "religious right" have pushed misleading claims about New York's Reproductive Health Act with the ultimate goal of outlawing all legal abortion.

"Mr. Trump and the religious right are spreading falsehoods about New York’s law to inflame their base," Cuomo wrote. "Activists on the far right continue to mislead with the ridiculous claim that the act will allow abortions up to a minute before birth."

Cuomo noted that the legislation passed last month in New York does not allow abortions minutes before birth, nor does it permit abortions "for any reason." The bill allows women to get abortions after 24 weeks if their life or health is threatened by the pregnancy, or if the fetus is not viable.

Read more here.


DOJ sues to stop country’s first safe injection site

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in an attempt to stop the opening of the nation’s first supervised injection site — a place where people with opioid addictions are able to use drugs under medical supervision.

The Department of Justice’s lawsuit against the nonprofit Safehouse and its executive director is the first of its kind.

The lawsuit seeks to prevent Safehouse from opening “consumption rooms,” which provide safe places for drug users to inject using sterile equipment under the supervision of medically trained staff.

The significance: There are about a dozen cities across the country that are considering similar proposals, so DOJ’s opposition, and the outcome of the lawsuit, could be a significant deterrent. City officials, including Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, gave Safehouse a green light to open the facilities over the summer as a way to try and combat the city’s opioid epidemic.

Trump’s HIV pledge: The lawsuit’s announcement comes the morning after Trump in his State of the Union address called for the end of HIV transmission in the United States by 2030. The rate of HIV infections has spiked in recent years, partially due to the opioid epidemic. Supervised injection sites are intended to prevent opioid users from sharing contaminated needles.   

More on the lawsuit here.


More drug companies agree to testify

Five companies have now agreed to testify at the Feb. 26 Senate Finance Committee hearing about drug prices: Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Sanofi, Merck & Co., Pfizer and Janssen (which is owned by Johnson & Johnson). That just leaves Abbvie and AstraZeneca as question marks.



Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) fight to make prescription drugs more affordable. By reducing costs, PBMs ensure better health outcomes for patients. We’re #OnYourRxSide. Learn more at http://OnYourRxSide.org.


What we’re reading

In rush to revamp Medicaid, Trump officials bend rules that protect patients (LA Times)

Trump promised to end AIDS, a day later may have made the crisis worse (The Daily Beast)

Before judging 'late-term abortion,' understand what it means, doctors say (CNN)


State by state

Idaho Supreme Court upholds Prop 2, says it's constitutional (Idaho Press)

Measles outbreak sends vaccine demand soaring, even among the hesitant (Kaiser Health News)

1 in 4 Florida health care providers skipped opioid training, state finds (Pensacola News Journal)


From The Hill’s op-ed page

Addressing drug problems abroad benefits Americans here