Overnight Health Care: Survey finds 1 in 10 ration medicines to lower costs | Senate Dems call for hearing on Trump abortion rule | Trump health chief backs needle exchanges | Outgoing FDA chief keeps heat on e-cig maker

Overnight Health Care: Survey finds 1 in 10 ration medicines to lower costs | Senate Dems call for hearing on Trump abortion rule | Trump health chief backs needle exchanges | Outgoing FDA chief keeps heat on e-cig maker
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Welcome to Tuesday's Overnight Health Care. It's a recess Tuesday, but there's new drug pricing data, and heightened pressure for a hearing on Title X changes.  

 

Survey: About 1 in 10 U.S. adults rationing medicine in effort to lower costs

There's new fodder for advocates calling on lawmakers to lower drug prices.

New survey data from the CDC shows that 11.4 percent of U.S. adults did not take their medication as prescribed in an effort to reduce costs.

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Those adults, aged 18 to 64, either skipped doses, took less medicine than prescribed, or delayed filling a prescription because of the cost of the drugs in the past 12 months.

Reaction: "This is unacceptable. No one should have to ration their treatment or skip medication," the AARP wrote on Twitter.

Context: The survey comes at a time when members of both parties are calling for action to lower drug prices, and House Democrats are starting to move legislation forward.

Read more here.

 

Senate Democrats call for hearing on Title X changes

Senate Democrats on the HELP committee, led by Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump pushes back on impeachment talk: 'Tables are finally turning on the Witch Hunt!' Warren unveils plan to cancel student loan debt, create universal free college Moulton enters 2020 White House race MORE (D-Mass.) and Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanOvernight Health Care: CEO of largest private health insurer slams 'Medicare for All' plans | Dem bill targets youth tobacco use | CVS fined over fake painkiller prescriptions | Trump, first lady to discuss opioid crisis at summit GOP senators divided on Trump trade pushback Former Democratic aide pleads guilty to doxing GOP senators attending Kavanaugh hearing MORE (D-N.H.), are asking Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar Alexander Embattled senators fill coffers ahead of 2020 GOP senators divided on Trump trade pushback Five things to know about the measles outbreak MORE (R-Tenn.) to hold a hearing on the Trump administration's recently announced changes to a federal family planning program.

Under the rule, women's health clinics must be "physically and financially" separate from abortion providers to be eligible for Title X Family Planning grants, which fund organizations providing reproductive health services to low-income women.  

"The physical and financial separation requirement appears to be aimed at and would disproportionately affect Planned Parenthood health centers, which currently serve over 40% of Title X network patients," the senators wrote.

"The effects of this requirement would be devastating nationwide and in our home states."

Clinics will also not be allowed to refer women to other facilities for abortions or promote or support abortion as a method of family planning.

"This imposition of a "gag rule" on doctors sets a dangerous precedent, may result in many providers deciding to leave the program, and will reduce Title X patients' access to medically sound family planning services," the Democrats said in the letter.

Read more here.

 

O'Rourke: Decisions on late-term abortions 'best left to a woman and her doctor'

Beto O'RourkeRobert (Beto) Francis O'RourkeMoulton enters 2020 White House race The Hill's Morning Report - Is impeachment back on the table? Key aides leave O'Rourke's campaign: report MORE said Tuesday he would not infringe on a woman's right to seek an abortion in a pregnancy's third trimester.

"I think those decisions are best left to a woman and her doctor. I know better than to assume anything about a woman's decision, an incredibly difficult decision, when it comes to her reproductive rights," O'Rourke said to applause during a campaign stop at the Pennsylvania State University.

The Texas Democrat's answer echoed a similar one he gave to a question on late-term abortions Monday in which he said, "That should be a decision that the woman makes. I trust her."

Anti-abortion group's reaction: "Another day, another Democrat running for president doubling down on their party's extreme pro-abortion stance," wrote the Susan B. Anthony List.

Read more here.

 

Azar backs needle exchanges to prevent new HIV infections

Azar made clear his stance on needle exchanges during a speech at the National HIV Prevention Conference in Washington Tuesday.

Republicans have traditionally opposed needle exchanges, which provide clean needles to people to use drugs, in an effort to stop the spread of infections.

"Syringe services programs aren't necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when you think about a Republican health secretary, but we're in a battle between sickness and health, between life and death," Azar said.

"The public health evidence for targeted interventions here is strong and supporting communities when they need to use these tools means fewer infections and healthier lives for our fellow Americans."

But the administration will continue to oppose safe injection sites, which allow people to use illicit drugs with trained staff present to provide clean needles response to overdoses, and "raise entirely different legal concerns," Azar said.

 

FDA chief keeps heat on Altria, Juul

The outgoing head of the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday kept the pressure on the two biggest companies who he says can help stop the massive rise in teen vaping.

Speaking at an event at the Brookings Institute, Gottlieb said he had a "difficult" meeting last week with Juul, which makes e-cigarettes, and Altria, which manufactures Marlboro cigarettes. Gottlieb demanded a meeting with both companies last month, questioning their commitment to keeping their products out of the hands of kids.

"I continue to have concerns that some of the activities they're taking in the market are not necessarily consistent with that they're telling us," Gottlieb said.

He noted that Altria had pulled its e-cigarettes from the market, but then decided to make a $12.8 billion investment in Juul late last year. Gottlieb said his meeting led him to believe it was purely a business decision, and not one rooted in public health.

He said health officials are in the middle of conducting the 2019 tobacco survey, and if the results show a continued uptick in youth vaping, the companies should be prepared for major restrictions, including the possibility of temporarily pulling pod-based nicotine products off the market.

 

What we're reading

Surprise medical bills lead to liens on homes and crippling debt (NBC News)

Beto and Bernie offer competing plans on how to fix health care (New York magazine)

Democrats have figured out where they're going on health care (The Washington Post Opinion)

 

State by state

The risk of death from this cancer went down in Kentucky after Medicaid expansion (Lexington Herald-Leader)

New Idaho Medicaid expansion 'sideboard' bill introduced (Associated Press)

Patients and providers anxiously prepare for Medicaid work requirement (New Hampshire Public Radio)

 

From The Hill's opinion page

ACA anniversary -- let's work to strengthen it, not throw it out