Overnight Healthcare

Overnight Health Care: Democratic leaders 'unlikely' to allow vote on reversing Hyde Amendment | South Carolina seeks Medicaid work requirements | Protesters demand AMA back 'Medicare for All'

Welcome to Monday's Overnight Health Care.

A lot of news today. Democratic leaders aren't likely to vote to repeal the Hyde Amendment, the measles epidemic is still spreading, protesters targeted the American Medical Association's annual meeting, and South Carolina formally asked permission to impose Medicaid work requirements.

We'll start with news on the Hyde Amendment...


Democratic leaders 'unlikely' to allow vote on reversing Hyde Amendment

Political rhetoric is coming face-to-face with political reality in the Democratic-controlled House. House Democratic leaders are unlikely to allow a floor vote on a measure that would lift a ban on federal funding for abortions, dealing a major blow to progressive lawmakers who want to strip the Hyde Amendment from an upcoming spending bill.

The proposed amendment, offered by Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and other progressive Democrats, would "ensure" coverage for abortions in federally funded health programs, including Medicaid, Medicare and the Children's Health Insurance Program.

But the amendment is unlikely to receive a vote on the House floor because it would stand little to no chance of becoming law, according to a senior Democratic aide.

"The appropriators have been working with outside groups to keep expectations in check given the fact that we have a [Republican] Senate and a [Republican] president," the aide told The Hill on Monday. "This amendment is unlikely to be made in order."

Context: Congressional Democrats are opposing the Hyde amendment in record numbers, but this is the first time they can do something about it. Still, appropriators know the Senate would never pass a Health and Human Services spending bill that doesn't include Hyde, a 40-year-old ban on federal funding for abortions.

What's next: The House Rules Committee will decide Monday or Tuesday whether to allow a vote on the amendment. But it will likely rule it out of order because it violates House rules for spending bills because it deals with authorizing new policies.

More on the vote here.


South Carolina seeks Trump permission for Medicaid work requirements

South Carolina is pushing ahead with its decision to ask the Trump administration for a waiver to impose Medicaid work requirements on beneficiaries, despite a string of recent administration losses in federal court.

The request: The state on Monday formally submitted a request to require Medicaid recipients to work, be enrolled in job training, or be in school an average of 80 hours a month.

Unlike other states that have tried to impose work requirements, South Carolina won't completely end Medicaid benefits for people who don't comply and won't force beneficiaries to re-enroll in the program if they lose their benefits. Instead, people who can't meet the requirements for three consecutive months will have their benefits suspended for three months, or until the work requirements are met, whichever comes first.

The state also isn't trying to add higher premiums or co-pays. Exemptions for the requirements will be granted to disabled adults, full-time caregivers, pregnant women, anyone over age 65, and others.

Prognosis: The Trump administration has made it a priority to approve conservative Medicaid waivers for states that apply for them, so it seems likely that South Carolina's request will be granted. But that will likely set up the administration for another lawsuit.

Court losses: Arkansas was the first state to enforce a Medicaid work requirement, but a federal judge has twice blocked it, after more than 18,000 people lost coverage since the requirements took effect last summer. Kentucky's requirements have also been blocked twice in federal court and are prohibited from taking effect.

More on the waiver request here.


Protesters demand AMA back 'Medicare for All' at annual meeting

Pro-"Medicare for All" protesters demonstrated outside of the American Medical Association's House of Delegates Annual Meeting in Chicago Saturday with a smaller contingent interrupting the meeting, according to MedPageToday.

"We are here for those who cannot be here today," Claudia Fegan, M.D., national coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), said, according to the publication. "We are here for those who cannot afford their care. Twenty-nine million people are still uninsured and even the insured have deductibles so high they cannot afford their medications."

Talisa Hardin of the National Nurses United union also addressed the group of demonstrators, blasting the AMA for its lobbying tactics.

"The AMA is violating one of its most ethical principles: 'Do No Harm,' by being on the wrong side of history," she said, according to MedPageToday. "We want the AMA to publicly show its support for Medicare for All.

Context: The AMA, the largest doctors group in the country, has long opposed Medicare for All. But a contingent of other doctors are voicing their disagreement with the AMA's stance.

Read more here.


Measles found in two more states as outbreak grows to 1,022 cases

The country's largest measles outbreak in more than 25 years is getting worse. There have been 41 new cases of measles in the past week, bringing the total to 1,022 cases as of June 6.  

The disease has also spread to two more states in the past week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For the first time in the current outbreak, cases of measles were confirmed in Virginia and Idaho. There are now confirmed cases in 28 states across the country.

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 Cusack will sit down with Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) and Doris Matsui (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

Juul's latest play to survive Washington, D.C.: Win over black lawmakers (The Daily Beast)

How measles detectives work to contain an outbreak (Kaiser Health News)

Insys files for chapter 11 bankruptcy, days after landmark opioid settlement of $225 million (NPR)


State by state

Massachusetts lawmakers to weigh Medicare for All bill (Associated Press)

Undocumented immigrants to get health care in Gavin Newsom's California budget deal (Sacramento Bee)

As New York struggles to undo the lies of anti-vaxers, moms step in to help (CNN)


From The Hill's opinion page:

Remember 'Never Forget 9/11'? Demand that Congress care for the responders who answered the call

We don't need more reasons to reject heritable genome modification