Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Planned Parenthood ousts its president | Harris releases drug pricing plan | House Dem drug plan delayed until after recess

Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Planned Parenthood ousts its president | Harris releases drug pricing plan | House Dem drug plan delayed until after recess
© Greg Nash

Welcome to Tuesday's Overnight Health Care. 

Planned Parenthood ousted its director after less than a year in the post, the House's drug pricing package is stalled until at least after recess, and 2020 contender Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSteyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates Gabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch MORE unveiled her drug pricing platform.

We'll start with the shocking news out of Planned Parenthood...

 

Planned Parenthood ousts Leana Wen as president

Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen was forced out Tuesday in a stunning move that comes less than a year after she took the helm of the organization. Her ouster comes as the agency is facing growing pressure from a hostile Trump administration intent on stripping the organization of its funding. 

Wen, the first physician to lead the group in decades, tweeted she first learned the board ended her employment at a "secret meeting," shortly after The New York Times reported the move.

"I am leaving because the new board chairs and I have philosophical differences over the direction and future of Planned Parenthood," Wen said in a statement.

Alexis McGill Johnson, a Planned Parenthood board member, will serve as acting president effective immediately.

Wen was appointed to the role last September following the departure of former President Cecile Richards, a powerhouse Democratic operative.

But Wen, who was Baltimore's health commissioner before taking the job, took a different approach, focusing on abortion as a health care issue and not as a political one. 

The announcement of Wen's removal comes just one day after the Trump administration said it would immediately enforce a ban on abortion referrals at taxpayer-funded family planning clinics. 

The move means that clinics receiving family planning grants to provide contraception and other services to low-income women will have to stop providing abortion referrals or lose their funding. The changes are a major threat to Planned Parenthood.  

Planned Parenthood, which serves 40 percent of Title X patients, has blasted the changes as a "gag rule" on doctors and has vowed to leave the program if it goes into effect. 

The organization said Monday it won't comply and will utilize an "emergency fund" to continue providing services to patients.

Read more on Wen's departure here.

 

 

Medicare negotiating drug prices not moving before August

House Democrats' big legislation to lower drug prices isn't happening anytime too soon. 

"I really wanted to see that done pre-August, and I don't think that's going to be the case," said Rep. Anna EshooAnna Georges EshooOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Planned Parenthood ousts its president | Harris releases drug pricing plan | House Dem drug plan delayed until after recess Democratic chair: Medicare negotiating drug prices not moving before August House bill targets use of Pentagon networks for child pornography MORE (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee.

Why it matters: Allowing Medicare to negotiate prices with drug companies is one of House Democrats' top priorities, but the party has been trying to overcome divisions on how to structure the proposal. Progressive lawmakers are pushing Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi asks Democrats for 'leverage' on impeachment Is there internet life after thirty? Pelosi says Dems 'have to be ready to throw a punch — for the children' in 2020 MORE (D-Calif.) to take what they view as a stronger line against drug companies. 

The problem: Democrats don't have an agreement with each other. 

"The committee's still discussing it," House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerOmar says US should reconsider aid to Israel Liberal Democrat eyes aid cuts to Israel after Omar, Tlaib denied entry Lawmakers blast Trump as Israel bars door to Tlaib and Omar MORE (D-Md.) told reporters, later adding: "They have not reached agreement on that so it's doubtful it will be next week."

Read more here. 

 

Harris vows to put 'people over profit' in prescription drug plan

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) wants the government to set prices for prescription drugs and force pharmaceutical companies to pay rebates if medications are sold at artificially high prices.

Harris is taking a tough stance on the drug industry, which has become one of the top targets for 2020 Democrats. 

"As President, I will not stand idly by as Americans pay thousands of dollars for prescription drugs while big pharmaceutical companies rake in massive profits," Harris said in a statement. "This plan puts people over profit by forcing these companies to reduce prices for consumers and holding them accountable when they gouge Americans."

According to the proposal, 100 percent of drug makers' profits would be taxed if they sell a product above the fair price. The revenue collected will be "directly rebated to consumers."

Currently, the government does not have the regulatory authority to set prices, or directly negotiate for the price of prescription drugs in the Medicare program. The plan by Harris would represent a dramatic expansion of federal authority.  

Executive authority: And if Congress doesn't pass the plan itself within her first 100 days in office, she would take executive action to investigate pharmaceutical companies that are price gouging, selling medications at lower prices in other developed countries or increasing their prices faster than inflation.

Read more on Harris' plan here.

 

Insurance lobby chief confronts storm over Medicare for All

Matt Eyles, CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans, has the task of stopping Medicare for All. 

"Medicare for All, in my perspective, is really sort of the analog to repeal and replace," he told The Hill in an interview in his office overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue. "It sounds good as a slogan. It's really hard to do, and there's a lot of problems when you think about it." 

But... Eyles acknowledges that there is a growing wave of frustration at the health care system that is helping drive the calls for sweeping change.

"We need to do a better job of educating people, to make sure that they understand what it is that we're doing," he said

On drug prices: Eyles even opened the door to a larger role for the government in reducing drug prices, saying that the health insurance industry's opposition to the favored Democratic policy of Medicare negotiating drug prices might not extend to certain high-priced drugs that face no competition.

He said an idea that is the subject of talks between Speaker Nancy Pelosi(D-Calif.) and the White House -- namely, a form of negotiation targeted at certain drugs -- "has some promise."

Read more here

 

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PBMs negotiate with drug manufacturers on behalf of patients to increase access to and affordability of prescription drugs. See how PBMs advocate for patients at  OnYourRxSide.org.

 

The Hill Event

Policy Prescriptions: Lowering Drug Prices

For many Americans, rising prescription drug prices are taking a toll not only on their wallets, but also their health. On Thursday, July 25th, The Hill will sit down with Sens. Mike BraunMichael BraunOvernight Energy: Trump EPA looks to change air pollution permit process | GOP senators propose easing Obama water rule | Green group sues EPA over lead dust rules The 23 Republicans who opposed Trump-backed budget deal Pair of GOP senators propose easing Obama water rule MORE (R-Ind.) and Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinRecessions happen when presidents overlook key problems Trade wars and the over-valued dollar Overnight Health Care: Senate panel advances drug pricing bill amid GOP blowback | House panel grills Juul executives | Trump gives boost to state drug import plans | Officials say new migrant kids' shelter to remain open but empty MORE (D-Wis.) for conversations examining how to lower drug prices for patients while ensuring they have access to life-saving medications. RSVP today

 

What we're reading

How pharma, under attack from all sides, keeps winning in Washington (Stat)

Insurers running Medicare Advantage plans overbill taxpayers by billions as feds struggle to stop it (Kaiser Health News)

Drugmaker shredded quality documents ahead of FDA inspection (Bloomberg)

 

State by state

Over 8,000 students unvaccinated for measles are enrolled in D.C. schools (WJLA)

Chattanooga-based BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee to expand ObamaCare coverage (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

At least 220,000 Tennessee kids faced loss of health insurance due to lacking paperwork (Tennessean