Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids — Harris walks back support for eliminating private insurance | Missouri abortion clinic to remain open through August | Georgia sued over 'heartbeat' abortion law

Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids — Harris walks back support for eliminating private insurance | Missouri abortion clinic to remain open through August | Georgia sued over 'heartbeat' abortion law
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Welcome to Friday's Overnight Health Care.

Today, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBiden tops Trump by 9 points in Fox News poll Biden could be picking the next president: VP choice more important than ever With VP pick, Biden can't play small ball in a long ball world MORE (D-Calif.) is trying to clarify her debate comments on "Medicare for All," the Supreme Court declined to hear a case that could have reinstated a ban on a common abortion procedure in Alabama and Missouri's Planned Parenthood clinic will stay open for the next month.

We'll start with some Democratic debate fallout...



Harris walks back support for eliminating private insurance

Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) on Friday appeared to walk back her stance on single payer health care, saying she doesn't support eliminating private insurance, after appearing to back just that during the Democratic primary debate on Thursday.

Asked in an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Friday if she believed private insurance should be eliminated in the U.S., she said: "No, no. I do not," adding that she misunderstood the question asked during the debate. 

"The question was would you give up your private insurance for that option and I said yes," Harris said Friday. 

"You heard it differently than others then," a "Morning Joe" panelist replied. 

"Probably, because that's what I heard," she said.


Why it matters: Democrats have been reluctant to back the elimination of private health insurance, which covers more than half of the insured population in the U.S. 

In the two Democratic debates, Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden tops Trump by 9 points in Fox News poll Hillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike Democratic Senators urge FTC to prevent coronavirus price gouging MORE (D-Mass.) and New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioNew Yorkers who break social distancing rules subject to fines of up to 0 Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers, state governors talk coronavirus, stimulus package and resources as pandemic rages on Sacrificing American lives on the altar of the Dow Jones MORE (and Harris) were the only candidates to say they supported eliminating private health insurance in favor of a government-run health plan. 

Harris is leaning on a technicality when she says Medicare for All would allow for the sale of private health insurance. It would, but only for services not covered by the government plan, like cosmetic surgery. 

"I am supportive of Medicare for All, and under Medicare for All policy, private insurance would certainly exist for supplemental coverage," she said on CBS Friday.

That is not what most Americans think of when they hear " private health insurance."

Read more here.


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Missouri abortion clinic gets extension, will remain open through August

An administrative panel on Friday ruled that Missouri's lone abortion clinic can stay open until at least August while a dispute over its license is settled.

Missouri's Administrative Hearing Commission issued a stay allowing Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis region to continue performing abortions without a license.


"We are relieved to have this last-minute reprieve, which means patients can continue accessing safe, legal abortion at Planned Parenthood in St. Louis for the time being," said Dr. Colleen McNicholas, OB-GYN at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis region.

Background: State health officials announced last Friday they would not renew the license, citing alleged violations of state laws. But a judge ruled the clinic could stay open until Friday when the administrative panel was expected to weigh in on the case. 

The next hearing is Aug. 1, and one of the panel's commissioners says he expects Planned Parenthood to succeed in its arguments. 

Why it matters: If the clinic were to close, Missouri would become the first state in more than 50 years without an abortion clinic. 

Read more on the decision here.


Supreme Court rejects bid to restore Alabama abortion law


The Supreme Court on Friday declined to hear a case on a 2015 Alabama abortion law that bans a common form of the procedure during the second trimester of pregnancy.

Alabama had sought to overturn lower court rulings that struck down the law, but the justices rejected that bid in their order.

Justice Clarence ThomasClarence ThomasTrump steps up intensity in battle with media Supreme Court postpones oral arguments amid coronavirus pandemic Supreme Court will close to public amid coronavirus pandemic MORE wrote in a concurring opinion that he agreed the court should not hear the case, but called it a "stark reminder that our abortion jurisprudence has spiraled out of control."

"Although this case does not present the opportunity to address our demonstrably erroneous 'undue burden' standard, we cannot continue blinking the reality of what this court has wrought," Thomas wrote.

Why it matters: Friday's move by the Supreme Court means the justices once again ducked on having to rule on abortion and potentially on the 1973 decision that established a woman's right to the procedure.

Read more here



Top lobbying groups dive into 'Medicare for All' debate

The debate over "Medicare for All" is seeing big money interests rushing to back both sides, with top lobbying groups registered to both oppose and push for the policy.

Much of the lobbying has been done for groups that oppose Medicare for All. Legislation for the single-payer system, introduced in the House in February, has 33 companies registered to lobby on it so far in 2019, including the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Retail Federation, Blue Cross Blue Shield, the American Medical Association, and the American Hospital Association.

These companies are big spenders on lobbying across all issues. So far in 2019, the Chamber has spent more than $22.3 million on lobbying and PhRMA has spent more than $10 million.

Read more here.


Georgia sued over 'heartbeat' abortion ban

 Abortion rights groups are challenging Georgia's six-week abortion ban, calling it "blatantly unconstitutional." 

"This legislation is blatantly unconstitutional under nearly 50 years of U.S. Supreme Court precedent. Politicians should never second guess women's health care decisions," said Sean J. Young, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Georgia.

"Politicians have no business telling women or a couple when to start or expand a family." 

The lawsuit, brought on behalf of several abortion providers, was filed by the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Why it matters: It is one of a number of restrictive abortion laws passed recently by GOP-led state legislatures in an attempt to get the Supreme Court to revisit Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that established a woman's right to abortion. 

Read more here.



What we're reading

Kamala Harris's raised hand reveals the fraught politics of Medicare-for-all (Vox.com)

Pelosi aims for feds to negotiate drug prices, even for private insurers (Kaiser Health News

Ex-Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes gets a trial date: summer 2020 (Stat)


State by state

NJ getting its own ObamaCare exchange; this is how it will affect you (Asbury Park Press)

Study finds Medicaid expansion would mean 37,000 new jobs in North Carolina (WUNC)