Overnight Health Care — Presented by Better Medicare Alliance — Family planning providers ask court to block Trump abortion rule | Warren under pressure over how to pay for 'Medicare for All' | Juul reportedly facing criminal probe

Overnight Health Care — Presented by Better Medicare Alliance — Family planning providers ask court to block Trump abortion rule | Warren under pressure over how to pay for 'Medicare for All' | Juul reportedly facing criminal probe
© Getty

Welcome to Monday's Overnight Health Care.

Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSanders can gain ground by zeroing in on corruption Biden praises Buttigieg for criticizing GOP attacks: 'That's a good man' Warren enters crucial debate with big momentum MORE is facing criticisms for allegedly dodging questions on paying for "Medicare for All," and a new poll shows support for the proposal is slipping. But first a look at the court fight over President TrumpDonald John TrumpWHCA calls on Trump to denounce video depicting him shooting media outlets Video of fake Trump shooting members of media shown at his Miami resort: report Trump hits Fox News's Chris Wallace over Ukraine coverage MORE's abortion rule.

 

Family planning providers asks court to block new Trump rules 

Planned Parenthood, state governments and other health groups were back in court Monday challenging the Trump administration's ban on abortion referrals at federally funded family planning clinics. 

Ruth Harlow, a senior ACLU staff attorney, represented the coalition of plaintiffs who are challenging the rules, arguing the administration "created a solution in search of a problem." 

She asked the 11-member en banc panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate preliminary injunctions on the rule that had been granted by lower-level courts earlier this year. 

Those injunctions had been blocked this summer by a three-member panel of the 9th Circuit. If they're reinstated, the rules would be blocked while they are being challenged in court. 

Since the rules have been in effect since August, Planned Parenthood and several states have left the Title X program, arguing they cannot ethically refuse to provide women with abortion referrals if they ask for one. 

The other side: The administration argued the case is likely to succeed in court because similar rules were upheld by the Supreme Court during the Reagan administration, a decision that was noted by some of the judges. 

The administration argued that if the rules were unethical, the vast majority of grantees would not have agreed to stay in the program, including Essential Access Health in California, the nation's largest Title X provider that is also challenging the rules in court. 

The Department of Health and Human Services will redistribute Title X funds forfeited by providers who left the program to those that agreed to stay in, the administration said. 

HHS has received 53 grant applications, with awards expected to be awarded by the end of the month. 

What's next: The court is expected to rule in several weeks. 

 

 

Azar speaks out against abortion at United Nations 

HHS Secretary Alex Azar urged the United Nation's Monday to remove "sexual and reproductive health and rights" from its health care documents. 

"We do not support references to ambiguous terms and expressions, such as sexual and reproductive health and rights in U.N. documents, because they can undermine the critical role of the family and promote practices, like abortion, in circumstances that do not enjoy international consensus and which can be misinterpreted by U.N. agencies," Azar said. 

"Such terms do not adequately take into account the key role of the family in health and education, nor the sovereign right of nations to implement health policies according to their national context. There is no international right to an abortion and these terms should not be used to promote pro-abortion policies and measures."

Context: Azar made the comments at the high-level meeting on universal health coverage. It's the first UN meeting on this topic. 

Joining the U.S. statement were Bahrain, Belarus, Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

 

Poll: Voters back Medicare expansion, keeping private insurance

A warning sign in the polls for backers of Medicare for All: Sixty-seven percent of registered voters support allowing people under 65 to have an option to buy health care coverage through a Medicare program, while keeping private insurance options available, according to the Wall Street Journal/NBC news poll released Sunday. 

Less than half of registered voters, 41 percent, support a single-payer Medicare for All system that would eliminate the private health insurance industry, according to the survey. 

Why it matters: The poll is fodder for Democrats who are warning that full-scale Medicare for All that eliminates private insurance is a liability in the general election. 

Sens. 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 (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are backing full Medicare for All, while others like former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump hits Fox News's Chris Wallace over Ukraine coverage Schiff: Whistleblower testimony might not be necessary Trump warns Democrats will lose House seats over impeachment MORE back an optional plan to allow people the option of keeping private insurance or enrolling in a government plan. 

Read more here

 

Warren comes under new pressure over Medicare for All and higher taxes

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is coming under increasing pressure from her 2020 rivals to spell out how she'd pay for her "Medicare for All" proposal.

The pressure comes as Warren builds momentum in the presidential primary race and suggests she is likely to come under a harsher spotlight as other candidates seek to compete with her for the 2020 Democratic nomination.

Warren has been asked several times whether taxes would have to go up on the middle class to pay for her universal health care plan, most notably at the debate earlier this month in Houston.

She has consistently avoided giving a yes or no answer, saying instead that middle-class families' overall health costs would decline but without specifying whether their taxes would increase.

Her rivals, notably former Vice President Joe Biden, have accused her of dodging the question. Biden noted that at least Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the author of the Senate's Medicare for All legislation, has been honest that middle-class taxes would have to go up.

Warren supports the bill authored by Sanders that eliminates private insurers, but that would also eliminate deductibles and copays and would ensure everyone is covered. 

More on the tough questions for Warren here.

 

On the vaping front: Juul reportedly facing criminal probe

Federal prosecutors in California are conducting a criminal probe of e-cigarette maker Juul, according to The Wall Street Journal.

According to the report, which cited sources familiar with the action, the probe is still in its early stages and the focus is not known. 

A spokesperson for Juul was not available for immediate comment.

Juul, the country's largest e-cigarette maker, has been blamed for contributing to a massive spike in teen vaping.

Juul is facing multiple congressional probes and is also reportedly under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission over whether its ads were deliberately aimed at minors.

More on the report here.

 

 

What we're reading

The bare minimum America could do to expand health coverage (Vox.com)

How anti-vaccine sentiment took hold in the United States (The New York Times)

Biden-linked firm tests messages to undercut 'Medicare for All' (Bloomberg)

It's not just insulin: diabetes patients struggle to get crucial supplies (Kaiser Health News)

Insurance CEO took leave after June arrest following traffic incident (Wall Street Journal)

 

State by state

Michigan governor signs bill to change Medicaid work requirement reporting, says legislature should do more (Michigan Live