Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Health care moves to center stage of Democratic primary fight | Sanders, Biden trade sharps jabs on Medicare for All | Senate to vote on 9/11 bill next week | Buttigieg pushes for cheaper insulin

Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Health care moves to center stage of Democratic primary fight | Sanders, Biden trade sharps jabs on Medicare for All | Senate to vote on 9/11 bill next week | Buttigieg pushes for cheaper insulin
© Greg Nash

Welcome to Thursday's Overnight Health Care. The Medicare for All battle in the Democratic primary is heating up, Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegNew poll catapults Buttigieg to frontrunner position in Iowa Growing 2020 field underscores Democratic divide Deval Patrick: a short runway, but potential to get airborne MORE is pushing for cheaper insulin, and the Senate will vote next week on the 9/11 bill. 

We'll start with the increasingly heated Sanders-Biden fight...

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Health care takes center stage in Dem primary

The battle over health care has moved to center stage in the Democratic primary, as Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSinger Neil Young says that America's presidents haven't done enough address climate change New poll catapults Buttigieg to frontrunner position in Iowa Growing 2020 field underscores Democratic divide MORE (I-Vt.) ratchets up his fight with former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBudget official says he didn't know why military aid was delayed: report Growing 2020 field underscores Democratic divide READ: Foreign service officer Jennifer Williams' closed-door testimony from the House impeachment inquiry MORE over "Medicare for All."

The tough question for Dems: Democrats successfully took control of the House by running on protecting ObamaCare during the 2018 midterm elections but are now struggling with internal divisions over whether to move beyond the health law and dramatically expand the government's role in providing care. The barbs over Medicare for All highlight a broader debate over whether the party is shifting too far left on health care, with the risk of alienating moderate voters in the general election.

How it's playing out with two top tier candidates: In just the past week, Biden and Sanders have taken aim at each other over the Vermont senator's proposal to eliminate private insurance and replace it with Medicare for All.

Biden is largely alone among the frontrunners in wanting to allow people to keep their private insurance and making government insurance an option. Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisNew poll catapults Buttigieg to frontrunner position in Iowa Growing 2020 field underscores Democratic divide Harris gets key union endorsement amid polling plateau MORE (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenNew poll catapults Buttigieg to frontrunner position in Iowa Bloomberg, Patrick take different approaches after late entries into primary race Deval Patrick: a short runway, but potential to get airborne MORE (D-Mass.) are also on Sanders's side. 

Biden's side: Biden has pushed a more incremental plan of keeping ObamaCare while expanding its subsidies and offering a government-run "public option." He has sought to draw a contrast with Sanders by highlighting that under his plan, people can keep their private insurance.

When he announced his health plan this week, Biden equated Medicare for All with the GOP's ObamaCare repeal attempts.

ADVERTISEMENT

"I understand the appeal of Medicare for All, but folks supporting it should be clear that it means getting rid of ObamaCare, and I'm not for that," Biden said in a video announcing his plan.

"I knew the Republicans would do everything in their power to repeal ObamaCare. They still are. But I'm surprised that so many Democrats are running on getting rid of it," Biden said.

For more on Biden's tough talk click here.

Sanders also isn't pulling any punches: "I am disappointed, I have to say, in Joe, who is a friend of mine, really distorting what Medicare for All is about," Sanders told The New York Times in an interview on Wednesday. "And unfortunately, he is sounding like Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Official testifies that Bolton had 'one-on-one meeting' with Trump over Ukraine aid Louisiana governor wins re-election MORE. He is sounding like the health care industry in that regard."

"I'm surprised that so many Democrats are running on getting rid of [ObamaCare]," Biden said earlier this week. 

More on Sanders' remarks here

How it's playing out with other Dems: Some Democrats have tried to downplay the rift. Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Health Care: Trump officials making changes to drug pricing proposal | House panel advances flavored e-cig ban | Senators press FDA tobacco chief on vaping ban Senators press FDA tobacco chief on status of vaping ban Progressive freshmen jump into leadership PAC fundraising MORE (D-Va.), who is the other co-sponsor of Bennet's legislation, said he doesn't think the Democratic proposals are as different as Sanders and Biden and other Democratic candidates are making them seem.

"I'm not troubled by the difference between the Democratic proposals, because I think it's a minor difference compared to where we are and where [Republicans] are," Kaine said.

Still other Democrats worry the sniping between Sanders and Biden could distract from Republican attempts to unravel ObamaCare.

"My hope is that we don't lose focus of the here and now," said Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyOvernight Defense: Trump, Erdogan confirm White House meeting | Public impeachment hearings set for next week | Top defense appropriator retiring Fairness, tradition, and the Constitution demand the 'whistleblower' step forward Senate Democrat: Colleague was working on fantasy football trade instead of listening to Schumer MORE (D-Conn.). "Frankly, my constituents are focused on making sure that they don't lose their health care in the next year."

More here on how the heated health care fight is at the center of the Democratic primary.

 

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Buttigieg vows 'fairer, more just health care' after young man dies rationing insulin

White House hopeful Pete Buttigieg (D) vowed to implement a "fairer" and "more just" health care system if elected president after a 21-year-old man, Jesimya David Scherer-Radcliff, died in Minnesota after rationing insulin for his diabetes. 

"Jesimya is dead because America is the only industrialized country in the world that doesn't treat health care as a human right. I will fight for a fairer, more just health care system--and I'll do it with Jesy in mind. My condolences are with his family," Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., tweeted Thursday, highlighting a local news report of Scherer-Radcliff's death. 

The takeaway: Lowering drug prices (and attacking drug companies) is a key message for Democrats in the presidential race, who see it as a winning message. Many have started rolling out proposals to lower drug prices. 

Read more here.

 

Senate to vote on 9/11 victims bill by Wednesday

ADVERTISEMENT

After weeks of attention from Jon Stewart and others, the 9/11 bill is moving forward. 

The Senate will vote next week on a House-passed bill to extend the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

Under a deal reached on the Senate floor, lawmakers will vote on the bill by next Wednesday. As part of the agreement they are expected to also vote on two amendments to the bill, one from Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Hillicon Valley: Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract in court | State antitrust investigation into Google expands | Intel agencies no longer collecting location data without warrant Senators introduce bipartisan bill restricting police use of facial recognition tech MORE (R-Utah) and one from Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Trump: 'Everybody knows who the whistleblower is' Johnson opens door to subpoenaing whistleblower, Schiff, Bidens MORE (R-Ky.). 

The bill, which passed the House in a 402-12 vote, would reauthorize funding through fiscal 2090. It's expected to easily pass the Senate.

Lee, before setting up the agreement, stressed that he supported extending money for the fund, which pays out claims for deaths and illnesses related to the attack, but had concerns for how long the House bill would extend it for.  

"In Washington ... this is a recipe for trouble. As we all know, finite authorizations are how Congress ensures that taxpayer money actually gets to its intended beneficiaries and not simply lost in government bureaucracy somewhere," Lee said. 

Read more here

ADVERTISEMENT

 

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 BraunGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Senate GOP waves Trump off early motion to dismiss impeachment charges GOP senator: Republicans don't have votes to dismiss impeachment articles MORE (R-Ind.) and Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinIt's time for Congress to establish a national mental health crisis number The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - Dems unveil impeachment measure; Vindman splits GOP The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - Dems shift strategy on impeachment vote MORE (D-Wis.) for conversations examining how to lower drug prices for patients while ensuring they have access to life-saving medications. RSVP today

 

Sponsored Content - Pharmaceutical Care Management Association

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.

 

What we're reading

Puerto Rico faces tougher scrutiny over federal Medicaid funding (Reuters)

Canada warns U.S. against drug import plans, citing shortage concerns (Reuters

These 2020 Democrats want 'Medicare for All' – but without ditching private insurance (CNBC)  

 

State by state

North Carolina Senate Republicans unite against governor, say budget is 'hostage' to Medicaid expansion (News & Observer)

Indiana won't appeal order blocking abortion procedure ban (Associated Press)

 

The Hill op-eds

Biden's health care gaffe shows he's not ready for prime time

Can Biden's canceled cancer initiative be salvaged?