Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi set to unveil drug price plan | Abortion rate in US hits lowest level since Roe v. Wade | Dems threaten to subpoena Juul

Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi set to unveil drug price plan | Abortion rate in US hits lowest level since Roe v. Wade | Dems threaten to subpoena Juul
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Welcome to Wednesday's Overnight Health Care.

It was a busy day. Abortion rates are falling, Speaker Pelosi's drug pricing plan is coming tomorrow, the No. 2 House Democrat says the party welcomes abortion opponents, and lawmakers are threatening to subpoeana Juul.

We'll start with drug pricing...


Tomorrow's the big day on drug prices

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSupreme Court expands religious rights with trio of rulings Congress must act now to fix a Social Security COVID-19 glitch and expand, not cut, benefits Democrats see victory in Trump culture war MORE's drug pricing plan is finally coming out tomorrow, after months of rumors and speculation. 

What's in it? The plan is expected to be very similar to a leaked draft that circulated last week, allowing negotiation on 250 drugs, with savings that would be applied to people with private insurance as well. 

Pelosi making the rounds: The Speaker is meeting with caucuses across the ideological spectrum of House Democrats. She met with the centrist Blue Dogs yesterday, with the moderate New Democrats today, and will meet with the Progressive Caucus tomorrow. 


Progressives have long been pushing for the plan to be bolder, but some centrists could be good to watch too, given the plan has moved to the left as Pelosi gave progressives a lot of what they wanted. 

There will be hearings on the bill next week, lawmakers said. 





Abortion rate in the U.S. hits lowest point since Roe v. Wade 

The rate of abortions performed in the U.S. has hit its lowest mark since 1973, when the Supreme Court legalized the procedure, according to a new report.

In 2017, there were 13.5 abortions for every 1,000 women of childbearing age, a slight drop from 14.6 in 2014, according to a report from the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights research group. The abortion rate was 16.9 in 2011, by comparison.

The abortion rate has dropped nearly every year since 1980, when it reached a peak of 29.3, according to Guttmacher.

The group tied the drop to fewer women becoming pregnant, partly due to greater access to birth control.

"The anti-abortion activists will try to take credit for this decline, but the facts don't support their argument," said Rachel Jones, a principal research scientist at Guttmacher.

Read more here.


Meanwhile, in other abortion news… 


Dem leader says party can include abortion opponents

The Democrats' tent is big enough to include anti-abortion lawmakers, the No. 2 House Democrat said Wednesday.

Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerMexico's president uses US visit to tout ties with Trump Amy Kennedy wins NJ primary to face GOP's Van Drew House Democrat calls for 'real adult discussion' on lawmaker pay MORE (D-Md.) emphasized that Democrats are overwhelmingly in favor of women's right to terminate a pregnancy. But there's no litmus test, he said, that would exclude those lawmakers who feel otherwise.

"Absolutely, there's room in our party," Hoyer told reporters in the Capitol.

Hoyer added that Democrats still believe in protecting access to abortion, but they are not interested in excluding people with different views.

"That doesn't mean we're not a pro-choice party -- we are," he said, adding that this has been included in the Democratic platform.

"But that doesn't mean that ... either the Speaker or I believe that we ought to exclude people who have a different view," Hoyer said.

Context: The comments came a day after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Sanders-Biden climate task force calls for carbon-free power by 2035 | Park Police did not record radio transmissions during June 1 sweep of White House protesters | Court upholds protections for Yellowstone grizzly bears Biden-Sanders 'unity task force' rolls out platform recommendations Sanders-Biden climate task force calls for carbon-free power by 2035 MORE (D-N.Y.) endorsed a liberal Democrat, Marie Newman, who's launched a primary challenge against Rep. Daniel LipinskiDaniel William LipinskiHouse to pass sweeping police reform legislation Sanders raised over 0,000 for candidates in Tuesday primaries Engel scrambles to fend off primary challenge from left MORE (D-Ill.), an eight-term Catholic lawmaker with a long voting record opposing abortion rights.

"We can't afford deep blue seats fighting against healthcare & equal rights," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Tuesday in endorsing Newman.

Lipinski was quick to fire back at Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday, saying her socialist-Democrat brand of politics -- as reflected in Newman's policy platform -- is simply too liberal for the voters of his district.

"The voters of Illinois' Third District do not want to be represented by a fifth member of the 'Squad,'" he said in a statement.

Read more on Hoyer's comments here.


Congressional Democrats threaten to subpoena Juul in teen vaping investigation

E-cigarette company Juul is taking fire from House Democrats, who are threatening to subpoena it for not complying with their investigation into the youth vaping epidemic. 

Juul, the top e-cigarette company in the U.S., has not produced documents that the House asked for more than three months ago, said Rep. Raja KrishnamoorthiSubramanian (Raja) Raja KrishnamoorthiMilley confirms soldiers deployed to DC amid unrest were given bayonets Democrats seek information on Treasury's administration of 'opportunity zone' program Biden campaign rips 'outrageous' Trump comments on coronavirus testing MORE (D-Ill.), chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy. 

Krishnamoorthi opened an investigation into Juul earlier this summer, arguing the company intentionally targeted children with its marketing practices.

The committee is seeking a list of schools that received funding from Juul to implement programming to prevent teen vaping.

Two teenagers testified before Krishnamoorthi's committee in July that a Juul representative told students its products were "totally safe."

Juul has argued that the programs, which it's no longer funding, were intended to keep kids from using their products.

Read more on the subpoena threat here.


Michigan bans sales of flavored e-cigarettes

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) on Wednesday banned the sale of flavored e-cigarette products effective immediately in response to rising youth vaping rates in the state and across the country. 

"I'm proud that Michigan has been a national leader in protecting our kids from the harmful effects of vaping," Whitmer said.

"For too long, companies have gotten our kids hooked on nicotine by marketing candy-flavored vaping products as safe. That ends today. This bold action will protect our kids and our overall public health."

Whitmer issued the emergency rules Wednesday but retailers, including online sellers, have 14 days to comply.

Context: This isn't a one off. New York announced a ban on most flavored e-cigarette sales Tuesday. The Trump administration said last week it would issue rules in the coming weeks banning the sale of all flavored vape products. 

Public health officials are concerned e-cigarettes are getting another generation addicted to nicotine.

About 27 percent of high school students recently used e-cigarettes in 2019, according to preliminary data released last week by the Food and Drug Administration, compared to 21 percent in 2018. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is also investigating a slew of vaping illnesses, but most have been tied to THC vapes. 

Read more here.  


And more news on teen vaping...


Teen vaping rates doubled in 2019

The percentage of teenagers who are vaping has doubled in the past two years, according to new data released Wednesday, with 25 percent of high school seniors using an e-cigarette in the past month.

The data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) also shows that 20 percent of 10th grade students vaped in the past month, up from 16 percent in 2018. And 9 percent of 8th grade students have vaped in the past month, up from 6 percent in 2018.

NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow said the numbers show teen vaping is a "public health crisis."

Read more here.


HHS spending hundreds on empty shelters for migrant children

The country's largest shelter for unaccompanied migrant children has been empty for over a month, but the federal government is still spending about $600 a day on staffing costs and other overhead to keep it open, according to the head of the Department of Health and Human Services' refugee office. 

Jonathan Hayes told House lawmakers during a hearing that the Homestead facility has been empty since Aug. 3, but it would take too long to get the facility back to operational if it were to completely shut down.

Hayes said the number of children crossing the border are always in flux, and just because the HHS facilities are currently empty, they have to be prepared for another surge. 

"Given the extreme uncertainty of referrals coming across our nation's southern border and how many kids we might have to care for, that wasn't a switch we were ready to turn off at this point," Hayes said.


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What we're reading

How the GM workers strike makes Bernie SandersBernie SandersTammy Duckworth is the epitome of the American Dream On The Money: Deficit rises to record .7 trillion amid pandemic: CBO | Democrats sidestep budget deal by seeking 0B in emergency spending | House panel advances spending bill with funding boost to IRS Biden-Sanders unity task force calls for Fed, US Postal Service consumer banking MORE's case for Medicare-for-all (Vox.com)

Who's to blame for the nation's opioid crisis? Massive trial may answer that question (Los Angeles Times)  


State by state

U.S. charges 58 in Texas with healthcare fraud, illegal opioid distribution (Reuters)

Louisiana governor election won't uproot Medicaid expansion (Associated Press)

Opioid deaths in Maryland down in first half of year (Cumberland Times News)


From The Hill's opinion page:

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