Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Dems push Pelosi on bill allowing federal funding of abortion | Key Republican says Dems left him out of drug pricing talks | Court upholds Ohio law to defund Planned Parenthood | Trump taps acting FDA chief

Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Dems push Pelosi on bill allowing federal funding of abortion | Key Republican says Dems left him out of drug pricing talks | Court upholds Ohio law to defund Planned Parenthood | Trump taps acting FDA chief
© Keren Carrion

Welcome to Tuesday's overnight health care.

House Dems want a vote on allowing federal funding for abortion, Health Secretary Azar faced a grilling on ObamaCare, there's going to be a new FDA commissioner, and the Senate Finance Committee wants pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to testify.

We'll start with news on abortion funding...



House Dems to push Pelosi for vote on bill that would allow federal funding of abortion

Abortion rights leaders in Congress will ask House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Pelosi Sunday shows preview: Leaders weigh in as country erupts in protest over George Floyd death 5 things to know about US-China tensions over Hong Kong Pelosi calls Trump's decision to withdraw US from WHO 'an act of extraordinary senselessness' MORE (D-Calif.) to hold a vote on a bill that would allow abortion coverage to receive federal funding.

The bill would repeal a long-standing ban on abortion coverage in federal health programs like Medicaid.

"It's just important as we move forward that we pass legislation that honors women's reproductive health and their decisions rather than punishing poor women and federal employees," said Rep. Diana DeGetteDiana Louise DeGetteAdministration rolls back pollution standards amid a global pandemic Colorado Democrat: Shipment of ventilators to her state seems like favor to Gardner House Democrats call on Trump administration to lift restrictions on fetal tissue for coronavirus research MORE (D-Colo.), a sponsor of the bill and co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus.

Why it matters: If the House passes it, which is likely if it gets called for a vote, it would be the first time a chamber of Congress voted to repeal the Hyde amendment, which was first passed in 1976.

It likely won't even get a vote in the Senate, where Republicans are in the majority. But it signals where Democrats want to go with future health care reform efforts the next time they control Congress and the White House.


Read more here.


In other abortion-related news:


Appeals court upholds Ohio law to defund Planned Parenthood clinics

A federal appeals court on Tuesday ruled that Ohio is able to defund Planned Parenthood clinics because they perform abortions.

Eleven judges on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an Ohio law prohibiting state health department funding from going to any provider who offers "non-therapeutic abortions" does not violate the Constitution, "because the affiliates do not have a due process right to perform abortions."

The divided panel ruled that women have a right to an abortion, and the Ohio law does not infringe on that, but Planned Parenthood affiliates do not have a right to perform abortions.

The 11-6 ruling overturned a unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel on the same court.

The ruling is a victory for anti-abortion activists and is one of many cases in recent years brought by conservative states against abortion providers. Republicans have been emboldened by a slate of conservative judges appointed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpDonald Trump and Joe Biden create different narratives for the election The hollowing out of the CDC Poll: Biden widens lead over Trump to 10 points MORE.

Four of the 11 judges on the panel were Trump appointees; all six dissenting judges were appointed by Democratic presidents.

Read more on the ruling here




Key Republican says Dems left him out of process on drug pricing bills

Lawmakers are hoping drug pricing can be bipartisan. But expect some partisanship at a hearing on drug pricing bills tomorrow.

Rep. Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Moniz says U.S. needs energy jobs coalition and Manchin says Congress is pushing Wall Street solutions that don't work for Main Street; Burr to step aside The Hill's 12:30 Report: House returns to DC for coronavirus relief House leaders enact new safety precautions for votes MORE (R-Texas) said Democrats only presented him with the drug pricing bills last week and asked for his support after they were already finished, instead of negotiating with him to compromise on the policy earlier on.

"This is disappointing," Burgess told The Hill. "It could have been much better handled. If you want to be serious about this stuff, don't just ask me to cosponsor, ask me to help you get the policy right."

Why it matters: A bigger vote in the House, with more Republican support, would put more pressure on the Senate to act on these drug pricing measures.

Read more here.



HHS chief faces House grilling

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar faced hours of questioning Tuesday from House Democrats on the Energy and Commerce health subcommittee about President Trump's budget proposal. He defended the administration's push for short-term insurance plans, but largely dodged questions about pre-existing condition protections and the future of ObamaCare in the wake of a federal judge in Texas striking down the law.

One notable exchange came from Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedyMental health crisis puts everyone on the front lines The Hill's Campaign Report: Flynn 'unmasking' enters 2020 debate Candidates shift to volunteering as pandemic halts campaigning MORE (D-Mass.), who pressed Azar about the administration's commitment to letting states impose work requirements on Medicaid beneficiaries.  

"Is there any single study you can point to ... that shows that work requirements make people healthier?" Kennedy asked

Kennedy noted that 20,000 people have lost health coverage in Arkansas, and asked why.

Azar replied: "We do not yet have data on why they fell off the program."


Kennedy countered: "Yet you want to extend that to every single state. What's the logic in that?"

Rep. Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyHillicon Valley: Trump signs order targeting social media legal protections | House requests conference with Senate after FISA vote canceled | Minneapolis systems temporarily brought down by hackers Democrats call on FTC to investigate allegations of TikTok child privacy violations Hillicon Valley: Facebook permanently shifting thousands of jobs to remote work | Congressional action on driverless cars hits speed bump during pandemic | Republicans grill TikTok over data privacy concerns MORE (D-Ill.) also pressed Azar about the administration's family separation policy. Azar said if the child's welfare was in danger, he would continue to push for a separation.

"I will not stop or advocate DHS to stop separating children from individuals who present a harm for child welfare, and if that is what is occuring, that is what should be occurring," Azar said.


Latest on Deutch-HHS feud

Rep. Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchHouse members race to prepare for first-ever remote votes Judge rules Florida can't block felons from registering to vote because of unpaid fines Trump taps members of Congress to advise on reopening MORE (D-Fla.) angered HHS officials late last month when he claimed thousands of migrant children in HHS custody were being sexually assaulted by agency staff. Jonathan Hayes, the director of the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement, has been demanding an apology ever since, and Deutch has refused to give one.

During Tuesday's hearing with Azar, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) tried to get the Energy and Commerce health subcommittee to formally ask Deutch for an apology. But the subcommittee's chairwoman Rep. Anna EshooAnna Georges EshooHillicon Valley: Senate votes to reauthorize intel programs with added protections | ACLU calls on House to block warrantless web browsing surveillance | Dems introduce COVID-19 privacy bill Democrats introduce coronavirus-focused privacy legislation Hillicon Valley: Experts raise security concerns about online voting | Musk finds supporter in Trump | Officials warn that Chinese hackers targeting COVID-19 research groups MORE (D-Calif) refused to allow it.

Burgess said Deutch's claims do a disservice to agency staff.

"That accusation is false and it was made without this member-- to the best of my knowledge-- having ever visited an [HHS refugee] facility. His comments discredit the efforts of ORR," Burgess said.


Trump taps Cancer Institute head as acting FDA chief

The Trump administration on Tuesday said National Cancer Institute (NCI) Director Ned Sharpless will serve as acting chief of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when current Commissioner Scott Gottlieb steps down.

Gottlieb abruptly announced his plans to step down last week, raising questions about whether the agency will pursue some of the ambitious proposals he introduced, including many aimed at curbing use of e-cigarettes among the nation's youth.

Gottlieb is expected to step down next month.

Sharpless received praise from anti-tobacco advocates.

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network: "Dr. Sharpless has demonstrated extraordinary leadership at NCI and has been a strong ally in the fight against cancer. While his vision and direct engagement with the cancer community will be sorely missed at NCI, Dr. Sharpless is well-positioned to lead the FDA forward along with Secretary Azar."

The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids:  "What happens over the next two years will be critical. We urge Dr. Sharpless to continue to pursue the comprehensive plan announced by Dr. Scott Gottlieb, rapidly implement the FDA's bold proposals to further drive down smoking and strengthen the agency's efforts to combat the youth e-cigarette epidemic."

Read more on the next chief here


Analysis: Just a tenth of Trump's proposed Medicare cuts directly affect seniors

Only about a tenth of the proposed Medicare cuts in President Trump's budget would directly impact seniors, according to a new analysis.

The analysis from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) finds that the vast majority of the Medicare cuts in Trump's budget, released on Monday, are to payments to hospitals and doctors, not cuts to benefits for seniors on the program.

Why it matters: The study casts doubt on some claims made by Democrats who immediately went on the attack against Trump for the Medicare cuts.

Key finding: Of roughly $500 billion in Medicare cuts, about 85 percent of the cuts come from reductions in Medicare's payments to hospitals and doctors, not in cuts to seniors' benefits, the analysis finds.

Read more here.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed 228 cases of measles in 12 states so far this year.

The CDC has identified six outbreaks, which it defines as three or more cases, in New York, Washington, Texas, Illinois and California.

The cases are linked to unvaccinated American travelers bringing measles back into the U.S. from other countries where large measles outbreaks are occurring, like Israel and Ukraine, the CDC says.

Why it matters: The number of cases so far in 2019 puts this year on track to surpass previous years. The CDC confirmed 372 cases of measles in 2018. The highest number of cases since 2010, when the disease was considered eliminated in the U.S., was in 2014, when 667 cases were reported.

Read more here.



PBMs are advocates for consumers to keep prescription drugs affordable. PBMs promote consumer-friendly tools that encourage competition among drugmakers. We’re #OnYourRxSide. Learn more at http://OnYourRxSide.org.


What we're reading

Trump said he wouldn't cut Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare. His 2020 budget cuts all 3. (Vox.com)

'Medicare-For-All' Gets Buzzy In Unexpected Locales (Kaiser Health News)

Hospitals could lose $800 billion from Medicare buy-in, AHA says (Modern Healthcare)


State by state

Read the 'testicular bill of rights,' one lawmaker's answer to antiabortion legislation (The Washington Post)

Texas lawmakers look to Uber, Lyft to transport Medicaid patients (San Antonio Express News)

Idaho Senate approves Medicaid expansion budget (Associated Press)


From The Hill's opinion page

Older Americans will suffer if White House cuts HIV funding

Let's make our babies a national priority