Health Care

Overnight Health Care: Court allows Trump abortion referral ban to take effect | GOP group launches $4M blitz against ‘Medicare for All’ | Star GOP lawyer raises constitutional concerns with surprise billing legislation

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Welcome to Thursday’s Overnight Health Care, where the Senate is gone but we’re still here.

Today, an appeals court let Trump’s Title X rule take effect, a GOP group is launching ads against “Medicare For All,” and a law firm is raising constitutional concerns over legislation to target surprise medical bills. We’ll start with the day’s big court ruling


Appeals court allows Trump abortion referral ban to take effect

The Trump administration’s plan to ban federally funded family planning clinics from giving abortion referrals will be allowed to go into effect nationwide, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

The ruling means the administration can implement a rule issued earlier this year that bans abortion providers from participating in the Title X family planning program, removes a requirement that clinics provide abortion counseling, and bars providers from referring women for abortions.

The rule was supposed to take effect May 3, but three lower courts issued injunctions, each of which the administration appealed.{mosads}

Thursday’s ruling: The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled Thursday that the administration can implement the changes while it challenges the injunctions.

“Absent a stay, HHS will be forced to allow taxpayer dollars to be spent in a manner that it has concluded violates the law,” states the ruling, written by a panel of three judges who were appointed by Republican presidents.

What’s next: The ruling caught providers by surprise. HHS has not contacted them about the next steps or issued any statements about the ruling. It’s not clear when it will begin implementing the changes. Providers will also have to decide whether they want to comply with the new restrictions and stay in the program or forfeit their grants.

The ruling is a major blow to Planned Parenthood, which serves 40 percent of Title X patients and has vowed to leave the program if the bans go into effect.

The plaintiffs say they’re going to keep fighting against the rule.

Reaction from opponents: From Julie Rabinovitz, president of Essential Access Health in California, the largest Title X grantee in the U.S.

“If allowed to stand, access to essential health services will be delayed for the millions of low-income patients that rely on Title X for care across California and the nation.”

From California Attorney General Xavier Becerra:

“We’re reviewing the Ninth Circuit panel’s ruling on the Trump-Pence gag rule. Staying the preliminary injunction we secured in district court risks access to critical reproductive healthcare for millions of Americans. This ruling allows the Trump-Pence Administration to prohibit doctors and other medical providers from giving factual, unbiased information to patients. We continue our fight in court so that families in California and beyond can get the certainty they need and deserve around medical care in 2019.”

The attorney general for Washington state, which also filed suit against the Trump administration, said he expects the decision to be overturned.

“Unless overturned, this flawed decision will hurt Washington women, especially low-income women in rural Washington,” said Bob Ferguson (D). “We will swiftly challenge this decision. I expect this decision to be reversed.”

React from rule supporters: Anti-abortion groups who have lauded the rule as a way to defund Planned Parenthood praised Thursday’s ruling:

“This ruling is a victory for President Trump and the majority of Americans who do not want to fund the abortion industry with their tax dollars,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser.

We’ve got more on the ruling and the reaction here.


McConnell-aligned group launches $4M ad campaign against ‘Medicare for All’

The GOP attacks on Medicare for all are ramping up.

A GOP outside group aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is launching a multimillion-dollar ad campaign against “Medicare for All.”

The group One Nation is spending $4 million on the first round of TV, radio and digital ads nationwide, but the full 18-month campaign will exceed that total.

“How long will you wait for care?” the ad’s narrator states. “In other countries with socialized health care, patients wait weeks, even months, for treatment. Everyone forced into the same government plan no matter how serious.”

The politics: Republicans are trying to pivot the health care debate away from ObamaCare and pre-existing conditions, issues that helped Democrats win back the House last year, to a warning of change and disruption from a government-run health insurance system for all.

Read more on the fight here.

And click here to watch the ad.


Star GOP lawyer raises constitutional concerns with surprise billing legislation

Paul Clement, who frequently argues before the Supreme Court, has a memo for Kirkland & Ellis arguing that setting a payment rate for insurers to pay medical providers as part of protecting patients from surprise medical bills could be unconstitutional.

Why? He says the move could violate the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment due to a “severe economic impact” on doctors.

Read the memo here.


The Hill events

On Tuesday, June 25th, 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 26th, 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.


Also at The Hill

President Trump’s nominee to be the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva sparred with the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee over whether rape victims should be allowed to have abortions.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie told lawmakers his agency is stepping up efforts to prevent veteran suicides during testimony before a Senate panel.


What we’re reading

Major study suggests Medicaid work requirements are hurting people without really helping anybody (

FDA, accused of being too lax in approval of opioids, outlines new criteria for future approvals (Stat News)

What is ‘Medicare for All’ and how would it work? (NBC News)  


State by state

New Hampshire still trying to reach 20K on Medicaid work requirement (New Hampshire Union Leader)

St. Louis Planned Parenthood defiant as central Missouri still reels over abortion access (USA Today)


From The Hill’s opinion page

Patent settlements, not lawsuits, are lowering drug costs

How to help youth currently in suicide distress

Tags Bill Cassidy Bob Cusack Brett Guthrie Donald Trump Doris Matsui Mitch McConnell Robert Wilkie Xavier Becerra

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