Overnight Health Care: Faith-based health clinics spurn contraceptives under Trump rule | Senate punts vote on bipartisan health costs bill | Azar calling GOP senators to back Grassley drug price plan

Overnight Health Care: Faith-based health clinics spurn contraceptives under Trump rule | Senate punts vote on bipartisan health costs bill | Azar calling GOP senators to back Grassley drug price plan

Welcome to Wednesday's Overnight Health Care.

Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' MORE dominated cable news today, but there was still plenty of health care news.

The Senate Health Committee decided that its health cost bill won't get a floor vote until after the August recess. HHS, meanwhile, is trying to build support for a bipartisan Senate drug pricing bill, Allergan recalled breast implants, and a federal judge blocked abortion restrictions in Arkansas. 

But we'll start with some news about the Trump administration's changes to a federal family planning program:

 

Faith-based health clinics spurn contraceptives under Trump rule

The Trump administration's effort to reshape a decades-old, federally funded family planning program has its roots in Southern California, where one faith-based group wants to be the "pro-life" Planned Parenthood.

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Obria Medical Clinics, which opposes contraception and teaches abstinence, recently became the first group of its kind to receive federal funding through a family planning program established by Congress in 1970 to support clinics and organizations providing low-income women with birth control and other reproductive health care services.

The controversial move by the administration was praised by anti-abortion groups that see Obria's inclusion as one of the first steps to reforming Title X, the federal program that has long been a key source of Planned Parenthood's government funding.

The shift also indicates where the administration is headed as it prepares to implement changes to Title X that bar Planned Parenthood from the program while placing an emphasis on faith-based family planning clinics that don't provide abortions.

"Many women also want the opportunity to visit a professional, comprehensive health care facility -- not an abortion clinic -- for their health care needs," Obria CEO and founder Kathleen Eaton Bravo said in a statement to The Hill. "Obria gives women that choice."

Why it matters: Documents obtained by The Hill through a Freedom of Information Act request reveal how Obria plans to run its Title X project, which will serve an estimated 12,000 patients at 21 service sites in four California counties.

The most controversial aspect of the project, which is blasted by reproductive rights organizations, is the fact that 13 of those sites don't offer contraceptives like birth control pills, condoms and IUDs.

Read more here

 

Azar calling GOP senators to back Grassley drug price plan

It's a big day on Thursday for drug pricing, with the Senate Finance Committee set to mark up a bipartisan package. 

With some GOP senators raising concerns over the deal, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar is working the phones to try to build support for the deal, sources say. 

Why it matters: Many GOP senators have concerns with the proposal, worrying that it is too close to price controls on drugs, which Republicans have traditionally opposed. 

The support from the administration could help ease concerns, although President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report MORE himself has not tweeted or commented publicly on the measure. 

Asked if the White House's support factors into his decision, Sen. Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoEleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid GOP requests update on criminal referrals prompted by 2018 Kavanaugh probe Nearing finish line, fight for cannabis banking bill shifts to the Senate MORE (R-Idaho) said, "It certainly is a factor, but it's not the entire factor."

Preview: There are 110 amendments to the bill. 

Read more here

 

Senate will not vote on bipartisan health costs bill before leaving for August

A long-awaited bipartisan bill in the Senate aimed at controlling drug costs will not get a vote before Congress leaves town for the month of August. 

Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Energy: BLM staff face choice of relocation or resignation as agency moves | Trump says he's 'very much into climate' | EPA rule would expand limits on scientific studies Juan Williams: Republicans flee Trump Romney, Collins, Murkowski only Senate GOP holdouts on Graham's impeachment resolution MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayRetirement bill blocked in Senate amid fight over amendments Senate Democrats call on White House to abandon plan to collect DNA from migrants Overnight Health Care: Judge temporarily blocks Alabama near-total abortion ban | Sanders dismisses calls for 'Medicare for All' funding plan | Dems urge Trump not to back down on vaping flavor ban MORE (D-Wash.) said in a joint statement that the Senate "does not have time before the August recess" to consider the bill. 

Alexander had pushed for the measure to get a vote this month. Alexander and Murray are now expressing hope that the Senate will vote on the bill upon returning in September. 

Industry opposition: The Senate Health Committee approved the measure in an overwhelming 20-3 vote in June, but since then the measure has run into some resistance. 

Powerful doctor and hospital groups have been fighting the measure over its provision aimed at protecting patients from getting massive "surprise" medical bills from out-of-network doctors. 

Doctors and hospitals are worried that the way the provision is set up will end up cutting their payment rates. 

Alexander has been in talks with Sen. Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyUN Security Council to meet after Turkey launches Syria offensive Trump faces growing GOP revolt on Syria To win the federal paid family leave debate, allow states to lead the way MORE (R-La.) about changing the surprise billing provision to address some of doctors' concerns. 

A range of other senators have placed "holds" on the legislation for various reasons. 

Read more here.

 

Judge blocks Arkansas abortion restrictions

A federal judge in Arkansas blocked three new abortion restrictions late Tuesday, just hours before they were scheduled to take effect. 

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker, an Obama appointee, granted the temporary restraining order, blocking the state from enforcing the restrictions for 14 days. They would have: 

  • Banned abortions in most cases after 18 weeks of pregnancy. 
  • Banned physicians from performing abortions if the mother asks for one solely because the fetus was diagnosed with Down syndrome. 
  • Required doctors providing abortion be board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. 

Why it matters: The ACLU argued that its plaintiffs in the case -- the state's lone surgical abortion clinic -- would have been forced to shut down under the laws. 

What's next: Baker could issue another temporary restraining order after the 14 days passes or she could issue an injunction blocking the restrictions from taking effect while the laws are being challenged in court. 

Read more here

 

Allergan recalls certain breast implants due to rare cancer risk

Pharmaceutical company Allergan on Wednesday issued a worldwide recall of a type of textured breast implant due to the risk of a rare type of cancer.

The Food and Drug Administration had asked for the recall after new information showed a direct link between Allergan's BIOCELL textured breast implants and tissue expanders and a rare type of lymphoma, called breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma.

Allergan link: FDA said it has found 573 unique cases of cancer, and 33 patient deaths across the world. Specifically, of those 573 cases, 481 are attributed to Allergan implants. Of the 33 patient deaths, the manufacturer is known in 13 cases. Of those, 12 are Allergan implants.

FDA said the cancer link was first discovered in 2011, but new evidence linked the disease with Allergan's implants specifically. As recently as a few months ago, the agency was not taking any action.

"Once the evidence indicated that a specific manufacturer's product appeared to be directly linked to significant patient harm, including death, the FDA took action," FDA deputy commissioner Amy Abernethy said in a statement.

More on the recall here

 

Sanders unveils plan to address racial disparities among health care professionals

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Overnight Health Care: Top health official defends contract payments to Trump allies | Vaping advocates confident Trump will turn from flavor ban | Sanders gets endorsement from nurses union Krystal Ball credits Gabbard's upswing in 2020 race to 'feckless' Democratic establishment MORE (I-Vt.) unveiled a plan Wednesday seeking to boost the number of black employees in the health care industry as the White House hopeful works to shore up support in Democratic presidential primary.

Sanders's campaign unveiled the plan shortly after he appeared at a presidential forum in Detroit for the NAACP National Convention. The plan would work to train and hire more black health care providers and supplement his "Medicare for All" plan.

"We must not only guarantee health care to all as a right, but also end the long-standing racial disparities that exist within the health care system," Sanders said in a statement.

The plan would expand the National Health Service Corps, Community Health Centers and Teaching Health Centers to hire more doctors and nurses of color to underserved areas and boost the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program to help train more African American primary care physicians. 

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 BraunBipartisan leadership will reduce emissions more quickly than Paris accord Overnight Energy: EPA watchdog slams agency chief after deputy fails to cooperate in probe | Justices wrestle with reach of Clean Water Act | Bipartisan Senate climate caucus grows Bipartisan Senate climate caucus grows by six members 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

 

What we're reading

Summer setbacks: The long road to lower drug prices hits some potholes (Kaiser Health News)

Lawmakers blast Juul over the company's role in teen vaping epidemic (CNBC)

Fitbits and other wearables may not accurately track heart rates in people of color (Stat)

Thousands of unaccompanied migrant children could be detained indefinitely (CBS News)

 

State by state

Missouri Medicaid panel chairman removed amid drop in rolls (AP)

New Texas anti-abortion group vies for family planning funds (Politico)

Massachusetts moves to negotiate Medicaid drug prices (WBUR)

 

From The Hill's opinion page:

The cost of a 'right' to health care is liberty