Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids — House report finds officials separated at least 18 immigrant kids under age of 2 | House to vote on repealing ObamaCare 'Cadillac Tax' next week

Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids — House report finds officials separated at least 18 immigrant kids under age of 2 | House to vote on repealing ObamaCare 'Cadillac Tax' next week
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Welcome to Friday's Overnight Health Care.

A House report sheds new light on the administration's policy of family separations, an opioid manufacturer settled a lawsuit for a record amount of money, and the House will vote to kill an unpopular part of ObamaCare

We'll start with family separations:

 

House report: Trump administration separated at least 18 immigrant infants and toddlers

A report from the House Oversight Committee has shed new light on the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy of family separations. 

At least 18 migrant infants and toddlers under the age of 2 were separated from their parents at the southern border as part of the policy, including nine infants under the age of 1.

Those infants and toddlers were kept apart for 20 days to up to six months, the report found.

The Democratic-led report was released just ahead of a hearing on alleged abuses committed against migrant children in the aftermath of the zero-tolerance policy. 

The report is based on data obtained through subpoenas of the Trump administration officials, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 

Among the details uncovered in the report:

  • At least 241 separated children were kept in Border Patrol facilities longer than the 72 hours permitted by law. 
  • Children were moved to multiple facilities. More than 400 children were moved to multiple Customs and Border Protection facilities, more than 80 children were moved to multiple HHS facilities and at least five children were moved to multiple Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities. 
  • Some parents were never sent to federal criminal custody, despite what the administration intended under zero tolerance. The report found others who were "briefly taken into custody and then returned within a day or two likely because prosecutors declined to prosecute their cases or because they were sentenced to time served for the misdemeanor of illegal entry."

Flashback: The policy of deliberate family separations began in April 2018 and resulted in at least 2,600 children being taken away from their families after crossing into the country. It created a massive outcry, and the backlash forced the administration to walk it back just three months later. A ruling by a federal judge in San Diego forced the administration to reunite many of the children who were separated under the policy, but the House report alleges the separations continued even after the policy ended.

Read more on the report here.

 

And click here for The Hill's live coverage of the Oversight hearing.

 

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House to vote on Cadillac Tax repeal next week

The House will vote next week on a full repeal of ObamaCare's Cadillac Tax on high-cost health insurance plans, House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerThis week: Tensions flare over Schiff, impeachment inquiry House Republicans 'demand the release of the rules' on impeachment Scalise, Cole introduce resolution to change rules on impeachment MORE (D-Md.) announced Friday. 

The politics: The Cadillac Tax is the rare part of ObamaCare that both parties largely agree on: They don't like it. So the repeal vote is expected to be widely bipartisan. 

The Cadillac Tax is widely supported by health economists who view it as a way to control health care costs, but it is hated by unions and employers alike, as well as many lawmakers. 

Health economists are not a very strong lobbying force in Washington!

 

Federal court moves up deadline for FDA e-cigarette reviews

A federal judge on Friday moved up the Food and Drug Administration's deadline for reviewing applications by manufacturers of electronic cigarettes by more than a year, ordering companies to file by next May if they want to keep their products on the market.

The agency last month proposed the 10-month timeframe, after the court ruled the FDA needed to speed up its reviews of thousands of electronic cigarettes currently on the market.

The public health and anti-tobacco groups that first sued the agency wanted the court to impose a four-month deadline for applications. 

"Balancing the need to address the existing public health crisis among today's youth ... and the need to avoid creating an additional public health crisis if e-cigarette availability dropped so precipitously as to push users to combusted tobacco products ... I will impose a ten-month deadline for submissions and a one-year deadline for approval, as the FDA suggested," Judge Paul Grimm, an Obama appointee, ruled. 

FDA gained the authority to regulate all tobacco products in 2016, but when the administration changed in 2017, FDA decided to delay enforcing the laws for vaping products until 2022. 

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb moved the deadline up a year to 2021 before stepping down, but companies now have to move even quicker. 

"Today's ruling is an important step forward for public health," Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless said in a statement. "The FDA stands ready to accelerate review of these products and will continue its vigorous enforcement and public education efforts to protect kids from e-cigarettes."

 

Drugmaker agrees to pay $1.4 billion in largest opioid settlement in US history

A drug manufacturer will pay the U.S. government $1.4 billion to settle allegations that its marketing downplayed the addiction risks of its drugs, the largest settlement yet related to the opioid crisis.

Reckitt Benckiser Group, the manufacturer of Suboxone, a treatment for opioid addiction, agreed to the settlement to end criminal and civil probes into the business, but it denied any wrongdoing. 

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said the British company illegally marketed Suboxone as less addictive and safer than other drugs with the same active ingredient that is intended to treat opioid withdrawal. 

"Opioid withdrawal is difficult, painful, and sometimes dangerous; people struggling to overcome addiction face challenges that can often seem insurmountable," said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt.

Why it matters: Several drug manufacturers are facing trial for their alleged roles in the opioid epidemic.

Johnson & Johnson is facing trial in Oklahoma, where the state is demanding $17 billion in compensation. 

More than 1,200 local governments in the U.S. have sued drug companies, and that consolidated case will be heard by a federal court in Ohio. 

Read more on the settlement here.

 

 

What we're reading

A Democratic nominee favoring 'Medicare for All' will lose union votes in must-win states (Washington Examiner

The new plot against ObamaCare (New York Times opinion)

Plaintiffs in ACA lawsuit may not have exchange plans. Could that derail the entire challenge? (Healthcare Dive)

 

State by state

Medicaid expansion is at the heart of the North Carolina budget fight. Here's what it means for the state. (PolitiFact)

CMS seeks to reduce state reporting on Medicaid access, pay cuts (Modern Healthcare