Overnight Health Care - Presented by Kidney Care Partners - FDA chief Scott Gottlieb resigns | House Dems to take up drug pricing bills next week | Planned Parenthood, doctors group sue over Trump abortion rule

Overnight Health Care - Presented by Kidney Care Partners - FDA chief Scott Gottlieb resigns | House Dems to take up drug pricing bills next week | Planned Parenthood, doctors group sue over Trump abortion rule
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Welcome to Tuesday's Overnight Health Care.

In a surprising move, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced his resignation today. Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood and the American Medical Association are suing the Trump administration, and House Democrats are planning to hold hearings on drug pricing bills next week.

We'll start with the Gottlieb news:



Surprise! FDA chief Scott Gottlieb resigns

The health-care world was caught off guard by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announcing his resignation on Tuesday.

Many senators heading to votes said they just found out about it from the media.

What's rare about Gottlieb: He's a Trump administration official that gets praise from both parties. Industry embraced him as a free-market Republican, but he earned praise from Democrats too.

He led the agency's response to the opioid epidemic, and recently has been cracking down on youth vaping.

Gottlieb has also made it an agency priority to speed up approvals for generic drugs.


Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDemocrats request briefing on intel behind Trump's embassy threat claim Democrats ask if US citizens were detained at border checkpoints due to Iranian national origin Overnight Health Care: Trump knocks 'mini Mike Bloomberg' over health care | Appeals court skeptical of Trump rule on TV drug ads | Oklahoma sues opioid distributors MORE (Wash.), the top Democrat on the Senate health committee, told reporters that Gottlieb did a "good job" even though she wished he went farther.

Gottlieb won over skeptics with his focus on bringing down high prescription drug prices and reducing youth smoking rates.

Flashback just two months ago: He tweeted then: "I want to be very clear – I'm not leaving," he said. "We've got a lot important policy we'll advance this year."

We've got more here on Gottlieb's legacy and his surprise exit.





Get ready for House Dems to take up drug pricing bills next week

House Democrats will begin considering legislation to lower drug prices at a hearing next week, moving forward on one of their top priorities, according to people familiar with the plan.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a legislative hearing on March 13 to consider bills to lower drug prices, the sources said.

What's on tap? Relatively smaller-scale bills that could get some bipartisan support, such as the Creates Act and "pay for delay" legislation, both of which aim to crack down on techniques drug companies use to delay the introduction of cheaper generic drugs.

The strategy: The smaller-scale measures that Democrats will consider next week are part of a strategy to start with measures that are more likely to be bipartisan and get across the finish line before moving on to bigger-ticket items like allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

Read more here.



Planned Parenthood, doctors group sue Trump over family planning program changes

Even more lawsuits over the Trump administration's move targeting Planned Parenthood... this time backed by Planned Parenthood itself

The American Medical Association (AMA) and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration Tuesday to block changes to a federal family planning program.

The changes to the Title X family planning program could strip Planned Parenthood of millions of federal funds, and limit what providers could say to their patients about abortion.

"Because of the administration's overreach and interference in health care decision making, physicians will be prohibited from having open, frank conversations with their patients about all their healthcare options. This blatant violation of patients' rights under the Code of Medical Ethics is untenable," said AMA President Barbara McAneny.

Read more here.



Paul says forced vaccinations is 'giving up on liberty for a false sense of security

Today's Senate health committee hearing on the rise of preventable diseases didn't have any fireworks, but Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulPaul predicts no Republicans will vote to convict Trump Graham on impeachment trial: 'End this crap as quickly as possible' Ocasio-Cortez accuses Rand Paul of taking climate change comments out of context, compares GOP agenda to 'Spaceballs' plot MORE (R-Ky.) drew a rebuke from his Republican colleague Sen. Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyBig Pharma looks to stem losses after trade deal defeat Trump trade deal faces uncertain Senate timeline On The Money: Senate panel advances Trump's new NAFTA despite GOP gripes | Trade deficit falls to three-year low | Senate confirms Trump pick for small business chief MORE (R-La.) for saying that requiring students to be vaccinated is 'giving up on liberty.'

What Paul said: "I believe that the benefits of vaccines greatly outweigh the risks, but I still do not favor giving up on liberty for a false sense of security."

What Cassidy said: "The requirement is just that you cannot enter school unless you're vaccinated. Now if you're such a believer in liberty that you do not wish to be vaccinated, then there should be a consequence, and that is that you cannot infect other people."

Read more on the exchange here.



Senate Democrats attack Trump judicial pick on health care

Senate Democrats on Tuesday were framing a vote on President TrumpDonald John TrumpLev Parnas implicates Rick Perry, says Giuliani had him pressure Ukraine to announce Biden probe Saudi Arabia paid 0 million for cost of US troops in area Parnas claims ex-Trump attorney visited him in jail, asked him to sacrifice himself for president MORE's most recent controversial judicial court pick as a referendum on health care.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer votes against USMCA, citing climate implications Senators are politicians, not jurors — they should act like it GOP senator: 2020 candidates must recuse themselves from impeachment trial MORE (D-N.Y.) and other Democrats railed against Chad Readler's nomination, saying a vote for Readler was a vote against ObamaCare's pre-existing conditions protections.

As a DOJ official, Readler authored the Trump administration's decision not to defend the law's rules on people with pre-existing conditions against a GOP-led lawsuit. Schumer accused Republicans of hypocrisy. He said they spent an entire election cycle vowing to support and uphold the pre-existing condition protections, but then turned around and voted to advance Readler's nomination.  

A federal judge late last year ruled in favor of the Republican state attorneys general who sued and invalidated the entire health care law. Readler was nominated the day after the ruling.

The Senate held a procedural vote on Readler Tuesday; he advanced 53-45.




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Turning the tables on health care

Ever since ObamaCare passed in 2010, Republicans have sought to weaponize it against Democrats, and Brad Woodhouse has been ready to turn the tables.

Woodhouse, a veteran Democratic operative, works as executive director of Protect Our Care, where he helped to bring health care to the forefront of the 2018 midterm elections.

Woodhouse, a former spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, was tapped as Protect Our Care's campaign director in 2017 to help lead the fight against the GOP attempt to repeal ObamaCare. The group worked with other left-leaning advocacy organizations to showcase the consequences if the law disappeared.

Woodhouse said he didn't pause to take a victory lap when repeal efforts went down: He was busy pushing to change the party's mindset.

"When we won the repeal fight, that was great for Democrats, but there was still a sense of being on the defensive. There was still kind of a sense of defensiveness and there wasn't a consensus among the party that we needed to stick with health care," Woodhouse said in a recent interview with The Hill.

Read more about Woodhouse in our profile here.


What we're reading

Scott Gottlieb's sudden resignation will give biotech a panic attack (Stat)

Patients question how FDA approves medical devices (Kaiser Health News)

ACA premiums rising beyond reach of older, middle-class consumers (The Washington Post)


State by state

Texas groups call for lawmakers to put Medicaid expansion to a vote (KXAN)

A Texas legislative session without an abortion fight? Unlikely. (Texas Tribune)

Iowa Senate advances Medicaid work requirement bill (Tri-City Herald)