Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — Former top Trump health official calls for THC vaping ban | Planned Parenthood pushes debate moderators to ask about abortion rights
Overnight Health Care: Poll finds most Americans misunderstand scope of 'Medicare for All' | Planned Parenthood chief readies for 2020 | Drugmakers' lawsuit ramps up fight with Trump
Welcome to Tuesday's Overnight Health Care.
Planned Parenthood's Leana Wen detailed her fight against the Trump administration with The Hill, the Senate health committee looked at lowering health costs, President Trump can't let ObamaCare go, drug companies are escalating a fight with the administration, and a new poll finds most Americans don't really understand "Medicare for All."
We'll start off with the latest on Medicare for All...
Poll finds most Americans misunderstand full scope of 'Medicare for All'
Many Americans remain confused about just what the full impact of Medicare for All will be. Despite what the authors of two Medicare for All bills in Congress have said, a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll found majorities of respondents think they would still be paying premiums, deductibles and co-pays.
Key findings: Sixty-nine percent of those surveyed said people would continue to pay deductibles and co-pays when using health care services. Meanwhile, 55 percent of respondents believe that people with private insurance would be able to keep their current plans, though a national health plan would replace that coverage under Medicare for All.
The reality: Under the plans being debated in Congress by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and White House hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the single payer Medicare for All plan would cover virtually all services free of charge, and private health insurance would essentially cease to exist. Several Democrats running for president have backed the Senate version of Medicare for All, but candidates have largely avoided explaining the details of the plans they support.
Party divide: The poll also shows that if Democrats are serious about moving towards Medicare for All, they likely need to do a better job of messaging the positives and the negatives. According to the poll, only 24 percent of Democrats think that people who buy their own insurance would not be able to keep their current plans. On the flip side, 53 percent of Republicans said they knew people's current plans would go away. But the one thing everyone seems to know: taxes will go up.
Read more on the results here.
Senate committee holds hearing on its big health care package
The big day arrived for the bipartisan package to lower health care costs from Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.)
Main takeaway: Alexander gave a big hint on where he wants to go on ending surprise medical bills: He said his favorite solution is called an "in-network guarantee," which requires that if a hospital is in-network, all of the doctors in that hospital must be in-network also.
Alexander said if the problem is out of network doctors "the solution is to have in-network doctors."
The tension: Other senators are pushing for different solutions. Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) both want to instead have an outside arbiter help set the price the insurer pays the medical provider.
Other items to watch: Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) is pushing to have her drug pricing transparency bill with Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) included in the package.
There are a lot of moving pieces, but Alexander said he hopes to have a markup next week.
Planned Parenthood head readies for 2020
Leana Wen, the first doctor to head Planned Parenthood in more than 50 years, has leaned into her background as she seeks to accomplish one of her major goals: destigmatizing abortion.
Over the years, Planned Parenthood has defended itself by stating that abortions are a small part of what it does. But with the group facing ongoing attacks from the president and lawmakers in Congress and the states, it has made a conscious effort to emphasize abortion as a key health care service.
"Abortion is health care," is a phrase Wen can be heard repeating on Twitter, in television interviews, at rallies and speaking engagements on Capitol Hill.
Despite anti-abortion groups seizing on almost every word she says to try to undermine the group's efforts, Wen thinks her side is winning.
"We are standing on the right side of history here," she said.
Only seven months into the job, Wen is facing a slate of challenges. Planned Parenthood has been in almost constant litigation against the Trump administration, seeking to block some its top policy priorities. One of its greatest threats is a rule that would essentially block Planned Parenthood and other health clinics that provide abortions from receiving federal grants for providing family planning services to low-income women. The group is fighting a host of state abortion bans and looming over all of it is the ultimate fear, that the Supreme Court might weaken or overturn Roe v. Wade.
Read more from Wen's interview with The Hill here.
Drugmakers' lawsuit ramps up fight with Trump
The pharmaceutical and advertising industries are taking their fight with the Trump administration over drug price disclosures to court.
Three drug companies -- Amgen, Merck and Eli Lilly -- and the nation's largest advertising group last week announced they were suing the Trump administration over its new policy of requiring prescription drug manufacturers to disclose list prices in TV ads.
The plaintiffs argue that the rule violates their First Amendment rights, and the lawsuit seeks to overturn the administration's latest effort to bring transparency to the medication pricing system.
How high are the stakes: Trump has made lowering drug prices a top priority for the administration. But even if the rule survives the legal challenge, questions remain over how effective it will be at actually lowering drug prices. Nicholas Bagley, a law professor at the University of Michigan, said litigation is fairly cheap, so it was not surprising that the companies decided to sue. But he added that the final rule is not the biggest threat to the drug industry right now.
"In the list of nasty things you can do to drug companies, this doesn't make the cut," Bagley said. "It goes to the fecklessness of the [rule] to begin with. It's not designed to drive down drug spending, it's made to give the impression that the Trump administration cares about drug spending."
The main takeaway? Industry wants to put up a fight. List prices are really, really expensive even though companies insist patients don't pay the full amount. The drug industry spends as much as $6 billion on television ads a year, and advertising on television accounted for 73 percent of all ad spending on prescription drugs. With the 2020 elections looming and the drug industry already withering attacks from Trump and Democrats, new attention on the companies' prices could be a public relations nightmare.
Read more here.
Trump's health care focus puts GOP on edge
Republicans just want to publicly move on from trying to repeal ObamaCare, but President Trump just can't seem to give it up, giving Democrats new ammunition to attack. Senate Republicans, defending 22 seats next year, thought they had put ObamaCare repeal behind them when they told Trump earlier this year that they have no intention of acting on a health care overhaul before the election.
But Trump threw the issue back at them in an interview with ABC News that aired Sunday, saying his administration will unveil "something terrific" to overhaul the nation's health care system "in a month." He argued that action is needed because "ObamaCare has been a disaster."
Like the other times Trump has brought up ObamaCare in interviews, Republican lawmakers say they have little idea of what to expect and say there hasn't been communication from the administration on the issue.
Read more here.
The Hill events
On Tuesday, June 25, The Hill will host Cost, Quality and Care: The Medicare Equation at the Newseum in Washington, DC. 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.
On Wednesday, June 26, The Hill will host the Future of Healthcare Summit at Long View Gallery in Washington, D.C. We will discuss some of tomorrow's biggest questions in healthcare with policymakers, health officials and industry leaders. Speakers include Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), FDA's Dr. Amy Abernethy, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Nano Vision CEO Steve Papermaster and many more. RSVP and learn more about the summit here.
What we're reading
Moderate Democrats would rather talk about health care than impeachment (Bloomberg)
With eyes on Gilead, lawmakers want details on how HHS reviews possible patent infringement (Stat)
By the numbers: vaccines are safe (New York Times)
San Francisco weighs 1st US city ban on e-cigarette sales (Associated Press)
State by state
Oklahoma high court weighing challenge on Medicaid expansion (Associated Press)
Disabled Iowans anxiously await Medicaid transition (Iowa Public Radio)
Florida wants to import medicine from Canada. But how would that work? (NPR)
Texas is latest state to attack surprise medical bills (Kaiser Health News)
From The Hill's opinion page: