Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Lawmakers pay tribute to John Dingell's legacy on health care | White House denies officials are sabotaging ObamaCare | FDA wants meeting with Juul, Altria execs on youth vaping

Welcome to Friday's Overnight Health Care.

The White House Council of Economic Advisors today undercut the principal argument in the Texas ObamaCare lawsuit, and the FDA wants to have a sitdown with executives from Juul and Altria.

But first, we're remembering John DingellJohn DingellRaces heat up for House leadership posts Democrats flubbed opportunity to capitalize on postal delays COVID-19 bill limiting liability would strike the wrong balance MORE, the longest-serving member of Congress who died last night.



Remembering John Dingell, a giant in health care

The passing last night of former Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) brought out a long list of tributes from the health care world.

Dingell, as chairman of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, pushed for expanding health coverage for decades, including presiding over the House passing Medicare in 1965. He sat next to President Obama for the signing of the Affordable Care Act in 2010.


From current E&C Chairman Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneHouse Democrats urge Amazon to investigate, recall 'defective' products Asbestos ban stalls in Congress amid partisan fight Pharma execs say FDA will not lower standards for coronavirus vaccine MORE (D-N.J.):  

"Chairman Dingell was feared by both Democratic and Republican administrations for his relentless oversight and his repeated written demands for answers, commonly referred to as 'Dingellgrams.' No administration official or corporate executive wanted to be on the other end of a Dingellgram."



Top E&C Republican Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenHouse Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Energy issues rule allowing companies to develop own efficiency tests for products | GOP lawmakers push back on Federal Reserve's climate risk efforts Bipartisan fix for 'surprise' medical bills hits roadblock MORE (R-Ore.):

"The U.S. House of Representatives and the nation lost one of its most faithful servants. John Dingell, the Dean, was a giant in Congress for decades – a true man of the House."


Obama CMS administrator Andy Slavitt:

"When we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Medicare & Medicaid, legislation that has changed more lives than any other, the man who presided over the House was in the front row, John Dingell. He later gave that same gavel to Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCowboys for Trump founder arrested following Capitol riot Retired Army general: 'We can't have demonstrators showing up at a state Capitol with damn long guns' Graham calls on Schumer to hold vote to dismiss article of impeachment against Trump MORE for the passage of the ACA [Affordable Care Act]."


Michigan Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowCoronavirus relief deal hinges on talks over Fed lending powers OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Government scientists predicted border wall construction could harm wildlife refuge | Haaland nomination generates excitement in Native American communities | Trump officials wrongly awarded Alaska grant in bid to open Tongass Trump officials wrongly awarded Alaska grant in bid to open Tongass forest to logging: watchdog MORE (D):

"Congressman John Dingell--the Dean of the House and my dear friend--was not merely a witness to history. He was a maker of it. His original family name, translated into Polish, meant 'blacksmith.' Nothing could be more fitting for a man who hammered out our nation's laws, forging a stronger union that could weather the challenges of the future."



White House report claims administration is not sabotaging ObamaCare

A new report from the White House argues that the Trump administration's changes to ObamaCare have been beneficial to the health care marketplace, pushing back on claims of sabotage from Democrats.


The report from the Council of Economic Advisors examined three key moves: the repeal of the individual mandate requiring everyone must have health insurance or pay a fine; promotion of association health plans for small businesses that can be sold across state lines; and expanding low-cost short-term plans that don't have to meet ObamaCare coverage requirements.


No mandate, no problem: Significantly, the report noted that eliminating the law's individual mandate penalty did not result in any significant enrollment decline. During a call with reporters, senior administration officials made it clear that the law was able to survive even without the individual mandate penalty, which was eliminated as part of the tax law last year.


Economists, not lawyers: The report puts the administration's top economists at odds with its Justice Department, which supported a lawsuit brought by Republican state attorneys general. The lawsuit argued that without the mandate penalty, the law-- and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions-- is unconstitutional. A federal judge in Texas agreed, and ruled the law should be struck down. That decision is now being appealed to the Fifth Circuit.

More on the report here.



FDA wants to meet with Juul, Altria execs

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb wrote to the CEOs of Altria and Juul, requesting a meeting to discuss the companies' efforts to cut down on youth vaping.

Gottlieb said he was concerned that Altria's recent acquisition of a 35 percent ownership interest in Juul contradicts the commitments both companies made to the FDA last year about stopping the "epidemic" of youth vaping.

"When we meet, Altria should be prepared to explain how this acquisition affects the full range of representations you made to the FDA and the public regarding your plans to stop marketing e-cigarettes and to address the crisis of youth use of e-cigarettes," Gottlieb wrote. "I have no reason to believe these youth patterns of use are abating in the near term, and they certainly do not appear to be reversing. Manufacturers have an independent responsibility to take action to address the epidemic of youth use of their products."



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What we're reading

Liberals worry Pelosi may pivot away from a bold drug price plan (Politico)

John Dingell had a hand in passing Medicare, Medicaid, and ObamaCare -- and still strived for more (Vox.com)

Meet the Big Pharma CEOs who will testify before the Senate (Fox Business)


State by state

Shrinking Medicaid rolls in Missouri and Tennessee raise flag on vetting process (Kaiser Health News)

Despite protests, Utah House secures two-thirds majority for replacement Medicaid plan that allows full expansion as a last resort (Salt Lake Tribune)

Governor to seek Medicaid, ObamaCare waivers for Georgia (Atlanta Journal Constitution)