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 ButtigiegSteyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates The Hill's 12:30 Report: Stocks sink as Trump fights with Fed, China Gabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates 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...

 

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 SandersHickenlooper day-old Senate bid faces pushback from progressives Steyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates Andrew Yang: News coverage of Trump a 'microcosm' of issues facing country MORE (I-Vt.) ratchets up his fight with former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden evokes 1968, asks voters to imagine if Obama had been assassinated Biden blasts Trump's 'embarrassing' actions heading into G-7 summit Steyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates 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 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 (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSteyer 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 (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.

"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 TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future 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 KaineA lesson of the Trump, Tlaib, Omar, Netanyahu affair Warren's pledge to avoid first nuclear strike sparks intense pushback Almost three-quarters say minimum age to buy tobacco should be 21: Gallup 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 MurphyMurphy: Chance of deal on gun background checks bill 'less than 50-50' Murphy says White House still interested in improving background checks Hobbled NRA shows strength with Trump 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.

 

 

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

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 LeeA cash advance to consider McConnell, allies lean into Twitter, media 'war' Conservatives buck Trump over worries of 'socialist' drug pricing MORE (R-Utah) and one from Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGraham promises ObamaCare repeal if Trump, Republicans win in 2020 Conservatives buck Trump over worries of 'socialist' drug pricing Rand Paul to 'limit' August activities due to health 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

 

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

 

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?