Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids — What to watch for in tonight's debate | Warren uses debate stage to embrace 'Medicare for All' | Gottlieb elected to Pfizer board | Democrats investigate Trump Medicaid changes

Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids — What to watch for in tonight's debate | Warren uses debate stage to embrace 'Medicare for All' | Gottlieb elected to Pfizer board | Democrats investigate Trump Medicaid changes

Welcome to Thursday's Overnight Health Care.

House Democrats are launching an investigation of the administration's efforts to convince red states to block grant Medicaid, President TrumpDonald John TrumpGraham to introduce resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry Support for impeachment inches up in poll Fox News's Bret Baier calls Trump's attacks on media 'a problem' MORE has shifted his health care pitch to focus on costs, and the former FDA chief is heading to a pharma company. But first...


Debate prep

We're still thinking about last night Democratic primary debate and preparing for tonight's.

Here's what we're watching for on the health care front in round two:


Looking beyond health care, here are 5 key questions for Thursday night's debate.

And follow along with our live blog and video here.


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Warren uses debate stage to embrace 'Medicare for All'

Elizabeth Warren is all-in on "Medicare for All."

Leaving no room for misinterpretation, Warren was one of only two candidates on the debate stage of 10 White House contenders Wednesday night to raise their hand when asked who would abolish private insurance in favor of a government-run, single-payer system.

"I'm with Bernie," she said.

It was Warren's strongest show of support yet for Medicare for All, the single-payer, government-run health care proposal authored by her main rival on the left, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

While she previously said she supports Medicare for All, her position on the future of private health insurance had been hard to pin down.

Why it matters: Warren's position sets her apart from other candidates, some of whom have been reluctant to shun a system that covers more than half of the insured population. At the same time, her new stance comes with political risk, as polls show support for Medicare for All declines when voters learn it would eliminate private insurance.

Read more here.


Gottlieb elected to Pfizer's board of directors 

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb was elected to Pfizer's board of directors Thursday. 

"We are fortunate to have Dr. Gottlieb join Pfizer's Board of Directors," said Ian Read, Pfizer Executive Chairman. "Scott's expertise in health care, public policy and the industry will be an asset to our company and enable our shareholders to continue to benefit from a Board representing a balance of experience, competencies and perspectives."

Something to watch: Gottlieb was a key player in the Trump administration's push to lower drug costs and helped the administration target industry practices that he said were anti-competitive and kept prices high. Pfizer has taken heat for high prices, and the FDA under Gottlieb accused Pfizer of gaming the system to thwart generic competition.

"I'm honored to be joining the board of directors of #Pfizer and working together with more than 90,000 Pfizer colleagues to promote medical innovation, advance patient care, and secure access to better healthcare outcomes for families around the world," Gottlieb tweeted.

Read more on the move here.


FDA warns of dangerous cyber vulnerabilities on Medtronic insulin pumps

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned patients and health care providers using certain types of insulin pumps of cyber threats involving the devices, with the pumps recalled due to vulnerabilities that could lead to fatal consequences for users. 

Security researchers found cyber vulnerabilities in certain types of Medtronic MiniMed insulin pumps that enabled unauthorized users to access the pumps if they are connected to WiFi and alter or stop the amount of insulin delivered to a patient.

The pumps recalled are Medtronic's MiniMed 508 insulin pump and MiniMed Paradigm series insulin pumps.  

Medtronic wrote in a letter to its customers on Thursday that it recommended switching to a different type of insulin pump and taking cybersecurity precautions with these existing pumps. Security steps included making sure all devices related to the pump were kept in patients' sight at all times, monitoring blood sugar levels closely, and disconnecting the pump from WiFi when internet connection is not strictly necessary. 

Read more here.


Trump's health care pitch to focus on lowering costs

President Trump wants to seize the health care mantle from Democrats ahead of the 2020 election by highlighting actions he says will lower costs and challenge special interests.

Trump is touting a series of actions on drug pricing and other consumer-friendly issues, but the president faces an uphill battle, as Democrats won't let voters forget his record on health care, including repeated efforts to repeal and undermine ObamaCare.

Why it matters: Trump wants to shift the focus to costs, a move designed to position the president as a populist champion of transparency and reduced medical bills. But Democrats say that doesn't mean much when the administration is still asking the courts to invalidate all of ObamaCare.

Read more here.


House Democrats launch investigation into Trump administration's Medicaid changes

House Democrats are launching an investigation into the Trump administration's handling of Medicaid.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PallonePrivate equity-funded doctors coalition spends million lobbying on 'surprise' medical billing Lawmakers set to host fundraisers focused on Nats' World Series trip CBO: Pelosi bill to lower drug prices saves Medicare 5 billion MORE (D-N.J.) sent a letter Thursday to the Department of Health and Human Services that asks for information about the administration's attempts to convince states to make conservative changes to their Medicaid programs.

The administration has been trying to sell states on the merits of imposing block grants, or a per-person spending cap, without congressional approval. 

The Trump administration has pulled out all the stops to encourage red states to make controversial conservative changes to Medicaid, and Pallone questioned whether the agency would follow the law.

"It is troubling to learn that you are putting your radical agenda ahead of your responsibility to implement the law faithfully," Pallone wrote.

Imposing block grants in Medicaid has long been a major conservative goal. Republicans say policies like block grants and payment caps allow for more state flexibility and are more fiscally sustainable.

Read more here



What we're reading 

The nonprofit hospital that makes millions, owns a collection agency and relentlessly sues the poor (Propublica

Why only 2 of 10 Democrats raised their hands to say they'd abolish private insurance (Vox

How judges added to the grim toll of opioids (Reuters)

Vaccine no match against flu bug that popped up near end (Associated Press)


State by state

Federal government demands part of Oklahoma's $270 million deal with Purdue (The Washington Post

Lyft partners with Medicaid in Arizona to offer non-emergency rides (Arizona Republic)

The lessons of Washington State's watered down public option (The ew York Times)


From The Hill's opinion page 

How much damage are smart phones, computers and tablets doing to our bodies? 

Today is HIV testing day -- overcoming stigma to prevent new infections

Women's reproductive rights are central to economic empowerment