Overnight Health Care: House Budget panel to hold 'Medicare for All' hearing | Ex-FDA chief raises concerns over drug imports | Instagram blocks #VaccinesKill hashtag

Overnight Health Care: House Budget panel to hold 'Medicare for All' hearing | Ex-FDA chief raises concerns over drug imports | Instagram blocks #VaccinesKill hashtag
© Greg Nash

Welcome to Friday's Overnight Health Care, where we're glad it's Friday. But we're also looking ahead to more health care legislation on the House floor next week, including measures to restrict "junk" insurance plans and speed generic drugs to market.

In the meantime, we'll start with movement on Medicare for All:


Get ready for more Medicare for All hearings!

The House Budget Committee announced that it will hold a hearing on Medicare for All on May 22. This will be the second single-payer hearing, after the House Rules Committee held one last month.

How will this one be different? It might be even wonkier! That's because the witnesses are three experts from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Their comments will be closely scrutinized for comments on the cost of the idea.

"House Budget Republicans are looking forward to speaking with CBO about the risks of imposing a one-size-fits-all, government-run health care system, including higher taxes, fewer choices, and worse care," said Lauren Blair Aronson, a spokeswoman for the panel's Republicans. "The American people deserve to know not only how a proposal like Medicare-for-All will affect our budget and economy, but also how it will affect them personally."


The politics: Despite the hearings, Democratic leaders are not on board with the actual policy. House Democratic leaders are instead focused on smaller fixes to ObamaCare with the aim of putting Republicans in a tough position over protecting pre-existing conditions. That's an issue that helped Democrats win back the House last year.

Meanwhile...Republicans are eager for hearings on Medicare for all. They see attacking the idea as a winning political message on health care.

Read more here.


Gottlieb expresses concern with drug importation pushed by Trump

Scott Gottlieb, until recently President TrumpDonald John TrumpSessions accepts 'Fox News Sunday' invitation to debate, Tuberville declines Priest among those police cleared from St. John's Church patio for Trump visit Trump criticizes CNN on split-screen audio of Rose Garden address, protesters clashing with police MORE's FDA commissioner, expressed concern on Friday about the proposal for drug importation being advocated by Trump.

"I am concerned about that," Gottlieb said during wide-ranging remarks at the National Press Club.

He warned that the imported drugs might not be safe and cited "counterfeit drug problems."

Contrast that to Trump, who in a meeting on Monday expressed his eagerness to approve Florida's proposal to import cheaper drugs from Canada.

Our story on Trump's interest in drug importation and why it's stoking controverssy is here.


Instagram blocks #VaccinesKill, reviewing other anti-vaccine hashtags

Instagram this week blocked the hashtag #VaccinesKill amid its crackdown on vaccine-related misinformation, and it says it is looking into other hashtags typically used to promote false information about vaccines.

The Facebook-owned social media network had previously declined to block the #VaccinesKill hashtag, a popular gathering place for anti-vaccine activists on Instagram, arguing that the phrase "vaccines kill" did not count as medical misinformation. An Instagram spokesperson in an email to The Hill last month claimed there have been rare instances in which vaccine side effects have caused death.

But under pressure this week following a CNN Business report on the medical misinformation amplified under #VaccinesKill, Instagram blocked the hashtag and said it is expanding its crackdown on medical misinformation to include hashtags that are often used to promote debunked anti-vaccine sentiments.

The context: Instagram, which is under enormous scrutiny from lawmakers and public health experts, has been engaged in an ongoing effort to remove a scourge of anti-vaccine misinformation that has spread across its platform.

Read more here.


What we're reading

How ObamaCare, Medicare and 'Medicare for All' muddy the campaign trail (Kaiser Health News)

Has Trump actually done anything about drug prices? (The Atlantic)

Surprise medical bills: Ideas to stop them are emerging in Washington (CBS News)  


State by state

What do new state abortion laws really mean for women? (The New York Times)

Which states are blocking abortion -- and which are enacting protections? (Washington Post)  

Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezGovernment watchdog: 'No evidence' Pompeo violated Hatch Act with Kansas trips No time to be selling arms to the Philippines Senate panel approves Trump nominee under investigation MORE proposes bill to help NJ save ObamaCare insurance gains (NorthJersey.com)