Overnight Health Care: Biden camp defends amid Hyde backlash | Ebola outbreak may last 2 years | Feds target vaping companies over social media 'influencers'

Overnight Health Care: Biden camp defends amid Hyde backlash | Ebola outbreak may last 2 years | Feds target vaping companies over social media 'influencers'
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Welcome to Friday’s Overnight Health Care.

Joe BidenJoe BidenGabbard says she won't participate in next debate even if she qualifies House Democrats expected to unveil articles of impeachment Tuesday FBI head rejects claims of Ukrainian 2016 interference MORE’s reversal on a key abortion issue is drawing criticism from the right, while abortion rights groups are celebrating the Democratic presidential hopeful's move.

Meanwhile, the FDA is cracking down on vaping companies' use of social media "influencers" and officials say the Ebola outbreak could continue for some time. 


We’ll start on the campaign trail with Biden:

Biden camp pushes back after Hyde reversal: 'He's authentic'

Joe Biden’s reversal on his longtime support for the Hyde Amendment banning the use of federal funds for abortions has the political world buzzing, and his advisers are taking to the cable news networks to defend him.

“He’s authentic. Voters know who Joe Biden is. He is someone that has these deeply personal held beliefs ... but he’s also somebody that believes in listening,” Biden campaign adviser Symone SandersSymone SandersSaagar Enjeti rips Biden over testy exchange in Iowa Biden gets in testy exchange in Iowa: 'You're a damn liar' Biden defends ties to former fossil fuel executive at climate forum MORE said in a CNN interview on Friday.

Sanders also rejected the criticism that Biden – widely seen as the current front-runner in the crowded Democratic presidential primary field – had reversed himself after facing liberal criticism.

"If the vice president was bending to the whims of a number of my liberal activist friends, he would have came out for 'Medicare for All' last night, but you heard him talking about a public option," she noted, referring to Biden's speech on Thursday at a Democratic National Committee gala in Atlanta.

"He’s the same Joe Biden last night that he is today," Sanders also said.


What to watch: Does this reversal impact Biden's double-digit lead in the polls, or will it merely be a blip in the much longer 2020 presidential campaign cycle?

Read more here.

Reaction: Republicans are seizing on Biden’s flip, accusing him of caving to pressure from the left.

“Embrace of radical left complete, Biden flips on taxpayer funds for abortion,” reads an email blasted out Thursday night by the Republican National Committee (RNC).

He also took flak from RNC chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, who noted Biden's other scandal from this week: 

Meanwhile, 77 percent of Americans say the Supreme Court should uphold Roe v Wade

That’s according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Friday. Here’s a breakdown. Of those who say Roe v. Wade should stay:

  • 26 percent said the Supreme Court should add more restrictions to abortion
  • 14 percent said the Supreme Court should reduce some restrictions
  • 21 percent said Roe v. Wade should be expanded to establish the right to abortion under any circumstances
  • 16 percent said keep Roe v. Wade the way it is

Additionally, 13 percent say they would like the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade entirely, while 11 percent said they are unsure.

Americans also have varying opinions on the abortion restrictions passed by state governments in recent years.

  • 52 percent of adults said they support laws requiring women be shown ultrasounds at least 24 hours before abortions
  • 65 percent of adults say they support laws requiring women wait 24 hours between meeting with a doctor and getting an abortion — 30 percent oppose
  • But a large majority of Americans oppose laws that criminalize doctors who perform abortions — 24 percent said they support, while 71 percent oppose
  • A majority of Americans oppose laws that ban abortion after “cardiac activity” is detected at about 6 to 8 weeks of pregnancy — 59 percent oppose while 33 percent support

Read our writeup here and the full poll here.

Ebola outbreak may last up to 2 years, officials say

An outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in a turbulent region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo may last as long as two years in the absence of a stronger international response, senior global public health officials said this week.

But there are some limited signs of hope that the virus is infecting fewer people in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, after a disastrous few months in which the number of cases spiked dramatically in the midst of flaring violence.


The numbers: At least 2,031 people have been infected with the Ebola virus since the outbreak began 10 months ago, according to the Congolese Health Ministry, and 1,367 people have died.

“This outbreak is not under control at this time,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Robert Redfield told the House Foreign Affairs Committee this week. He said the virus could rage in Congo for as long as two years.

Vaccine supply limited: Global health care officials worry, too, that stockpiles of a new vaccine manufactured by Merck & Co. that has proved efficient in preventing transmission are running low.

More than 130,000 people in the region have been vaccinated, including health care workers, those who have been in contact with an Ebola victim and those in subsequent contact. But WHO recently cut the recommended dose of the vaccine, a reflection of the fact that global supplies are limited.

Read more here.

Feds target vaping companies' use of social media 'influencers'

Federal regulators on Friday sent warning letters to four companies that produce flavored nicotine liquids, accusing them of inappropriately promoting their vaping products through social media influencers on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the paid influencers posted content touting flavored e-liquid products or recommended their social media followers try flavors such as tropical freeze, strawberry kiwi, “cotton cookies” and “watermelon patch.”

The main issue: The influencer posts did not contain the FDA’s required health and safety warning that the products contain nicotine, which is highly addictive.

Facebook officially prohibits advertising or selling tobacco products, but there are loopholes. The FTC has also been reminding influencers that they need to clearly disclose their relationships to brands when promoting or endorsing products through social media.  

The warning letters come as the FDA is trying to crack down on tobacco companies, and e-cigarette makers in particular, amid a massive spike in teen vaping.

Read more here.

The Hill event

On Tuesday, June 25, The Hill will host Cost, Quality and Care: The Medicare Equation at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The Hill's Editor-at-Large Steve Clemons and Editor-in-Chief Bob CusackRobert (Bob) CusackHill editor-in-chief reacts to fifth Democratic debate The Hill's Morning Report — Schiff: Clear evidence of a quid pro quo Hill editor-in-chief: Buttigieg could benefit if impeachment reaches Senate MORE will sit down with Reps. Brett GuthrieSteven (Brett) Brett GuthrieShimkus announces he will stick with plan to retire after reconsidering Hillicon Valley: Tech grapples with California 'gig economy' law | FCC to investigate Sprint over millions in subsidies | House bill aims to protect telecom networks | Google wins EU fight over 'right to be forgotten' | 27 nations sign cyber rules pact House bill aims to secure telecom networks against foreign interference MORE (R-Ky.) and Doris MatsuiDoris Okada MatsuiDemocrats demand FCC act over leak of phone location data Blood cancer patients deserve equal access to the cure Hillicon Valley: Tech grapples with California 'gig economy' law | FCC to investigate Sprint over millions in subsidies | House bill aims to protect telecom networks | Google wins EU fight over 'right to be forgotten' | 27 nations sign cyber rules pact MORE (D-Calif.) and an expert panel for a discussion on how leaders in Washington and the health industry can bring down drug costs for Medicare patients while continuing to ensure quality of care for those who depend on the program. RSVP here.


What we’re reading

Trump’s Obamacare Replacement Push Has Been Totally Abandoned (The Daily Beast)

Why Some CEOs Figure ‘Medicare For All’ Is Good For Business (Kaiser Health News)

Seth MoultonSeth MoultonDeval Patrick beefs up campaign staff Lawmakers honor JFK on 56th anniversary of his death Pardoning war crimes dishonors the military MORE correct that prescription drug prices can be negotiated for VA, but not Medicare (PolitiFact)  

2 High-Profile Democratic Abortion Rights Opponents Are Raising Money Together (HuffPost)

State by state

Plan to prop up Obamacare emerges as key budget debate for California Democrats (Orange County Register)

Activists challenge restrictions in Utah’s Medicaid program (Associated Press)

4,000 Mental Health Care Workers At Kaiser Permanente Set To Go On Strike Next Week (LA Times)