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 PelosiBiden on impeachment: 'I'm the only reason' it's happening Democrats to offer resolution demanding Trump reverse Syria decision Rand Paul calls for probe of Democrats over Ukraine letter 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. 

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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 HoyerHillicon Valley: Google, Reddit to testify on tech industry protections | Trump joins Amazon-owned Twitch | House to vote on bill to combat foreign interference Overnight Health Care — Presented by Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing — Judge blocks Trump 'public charge' rule | Appeals court skeptical of Trump arguments for Medicaid work requirements | CDC offers guidance for treating vaping-related cases House to vote this month on legislation to combat foreign interference in elections 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-CortezSanders wishes Ocasio-Cortez happy birthday Democrat launches primary challenge to Ocasio-Cortez Ocasio-Cortez fires back at Washington Times after story on her 'high-dollar hairdo' MORE (D-N.Y.) endorsed a liberal Democrat, Marie Newman, who's launched a primary challenge against Rep. Daniel LipinskiDaniel William LipinskiThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Association of Manufacturers - Trump defends Ukraine motives while attacking Biden Democrats rally behind incumbents as Lipinski takes liberal fire 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 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 KrishnamoorthiTrump's cruelty toward immigrants weakens rather than strengthens America Overnight Health Care — Presented by Better Medicare Alliance — Federal judge blocks Trump from detaining migrant children indefinitely | Health officials tie vaping-related illnesses to 'Dank Vapes' brand | Trump to deliver health care speech in Florida Overnight Health Care — Presented by Better Medicare Alliance — More than 800 cases of vaping illnesses reported to CDC | House panel asks e-cigarette companies to stop advertising | Senate Dems to force vote on Trump health care rule 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 SandersSanders wishes Ocasio-Cortez happy birthday Video of fake Trump shooting members of media shown at his Miami resort: report Sanders can gain ground by zeroing in on corruption 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:

Fighting the epidemic of maternal and newborn mortality with 'Big Belly Homes'

Uninsured by circumstance -- or by choice?

Experts say no sugary drinks for kids, but parents can't do it alone