Overnight Healthcare

Overnight Health Care: Panel of judges set for ObamaCare case | Trump officials delay ‘conscience protection’ rule | Theranos founder to go on trial for fraud next summer


Welcome to Monday’s Overnight Health Care.

Congress is out for the Fourth of July recess but there is news about the big ObamaCare court case coming up next week. Let’s start there.


Panel of judges set for big ObamaCare court case next week

The three-judge panel on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that will hear the lawsuit seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act was revealed on Monday.

The judges for the July 9 arguments are Carolyn King, Jennifer Elrod and Kurt Engelhardt. King was appointed by President Jimmy Carter, while Elrod and Engelhardt were appointed by President George W. Bush. That means there are two Republican-appointed judges to one Democratic-appointed judge. 

Most legal experts in both parties view the lawsuit’s legal argument challenging the health care law as extremely weak and think that eventually ObamaCare will be upheld.{mosads}

But there are still a lot of question marks around the case, especially after the court last week asked whether the blue states arguing to uphold the health law even have the legal standing to be involved. 

The bottom line: This case is hanging over the health care system, and it’s a headache for congressional Republicans, who are trying to turn the page away from their ObamaCare repeal efforts, which helped cost them the House last year. 


Trump administration delays implementation of ‘conscience protection’ rule

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is delaying the implementation of its “conscience protection” rule until November to give the administration more time to deal with a lawsuit over the policy.

HHS announced in a court filing Saturday that the rule, which was originally scheduled to take effect July 22, would not be implemented until Nov. 22 at the earliest.

A coalition of Democratic-led states filed a lawsuit against the administration in May saying the policy, which would allow health care providers to refuse to provide services on the basis of their religious beliefs, is unconstitutional.

“The federal government is giving health care providers free license to openly discriminate and refuse care to patients – a gross misinterpretation of religious freedom that will have devastating consequences on communities throughout the country,” New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) said in a statement after filing the suit.

Background: President Trump announced the policy in May, which proponents say would protect health care workers and institutions from having to violate their religious or moral beliefs by participating in abortions, providing contraception sterilization, or performing other procedures. 

Read more here.


Remember Theranos? Founder Elizabeth Holmes to face trial on fraud charges July 2020

Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of scandal-ridden health tech company Theranos, is set to go on trial next summer to face criminal charges for allegedly defrauding investors, doctors and the public, The Associated Press reported.

Holmes founded Theranos in 2003, claiming that the company would be able to conduct clinical tests using only small amounts of blood, an innovation that would revolutionize blood testing and health services. 

Starting in 2013, the Department of Justice alleges, Holmes and former company president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani started making grand claims to investors about the company and its technology that were false or misleading.

U.S. District Court Judge Edward Davila, an Obama appointee, ruled last week that the trial against the two will begin July 28, 2020.

The two have pleaded not guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

If convicted, they could each face 20 years in prison.

Read more here.


What we’re reading

Legislation on surprise medical bills would hit physician staffing industry (Marketplace)

These powerful letters show why women have abortions (BuzzFeed)


State by state

New Maryland law aiming to lower prescription drug prices takes effect (CBS Baltimore)

Iowa Medicaid leaders still negotiating insurers’ pay as new fiscal year starts (Des Moines Register)


The Hill op-eds

Remembering Jahi McMath, the person who died twice 

Tags Donald Trump Jimmy Carter

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