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

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
© ANNA GASSOT/AFP/Getty Images

Welcome to Tuesday's Overnight Health Care. 

Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 The Memo: Pelosi-Trump trade deal provokes debate on left MORE isn't inclined to release details on paying for "Medicare for All," Juul is cutting jobs, Senate Democrats are ramping up the pressure on the administration to release its vaping flavor ban, and a federal judge blocked Alabama's abortion law.

We'll start with the big news in Alabama...

 

Federal judge temporarily blocks Alabama's near-total abortion ban

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked an Alabama abortion law that would have outlawed the procedure in almost all cases.

The law was one of the strictest abortion bans in the country. It would ban abortion in nearly all instances with no exceptions for rape or incest. Any doctor who performed an abortion would face a sentence of up to 99 years in prison.

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Judge Myron Thompson, a Carter appointee, issued the preliminary injunction, which means the state can't enforce the law while it is being challenged in court. But Thompson said the law will "almost certainly be found unconstitutional."

The decision was expected, and in fact it's likely what advocates of the law were hoping for. 

States have been enacting increasingly strict restrictions on abortions in order for them to be challenged and overturned, in an attempt to get the Supreme Court to revisit Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that established a woman's right to abortion.

Will Alabama's law be that case? Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) said she expects the state's attorney general to challenge Tuesday's ruling. But it's an open question whether the case moves forward. Some experts argue the Supreme Court is unlikely to take up a case that is blatantly unconstitutional.

Other options: If Alabama's abortion ban isn't ripe for Supreme Court review, states like Georgia and Kentucky have passed bans on abortion after 6 weeks of pregnancy, testing court precedent that says states can't ban the procedure before the fetus is viable. Health professionals put fetal viability -- the point at which a baby can survive outside the womb -- at about 24 to 28 weeks. 

Read more here.

 

Sanders: 'I don't think I have to' release details on paying for 'Medicare for All'

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) says he will pay for "Medicare for All." He just doesn't think he needs to release more details about how that's going to happen.

During a wide-ranging interview with CNBC's John Harwood published Tuesday, Sanders dismissed the idea that he should explain in detail how he'd pay for his signature health plan.

"You're asking me to come up with an exact detailed plan of how every American -- how much you're going to pay more in taxes, how much I'm going to pay. I don't think I have to do that right now," Sanders said.

His comments come as Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 The Memo: Pelosi-Trump trade deal provokes debate on left MORE (D-Mass.), one of his main rivals for the Democratic nomination, has faced criticism for evading questions about the potential tax implications for the middle class.

Warren is known for having a detailed plan about almost every policy she has proposed and has said she will release a plan to pay for Medicare for All soon.

Sanders has been upfront that Medicare for All would involve raising taxes on the middle class as well as on the wealthy but has not fully explained where the revenue for his plan would come from. 

Sanders last spring released a list of financing suggestions for his updated Medicare for All legislation, but the list would only cover about half the cost. 

Read more here

 

Senate Democrats urge Trump not to back down from vaping flavor ban

Democratic senators are calling on President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 MORE not to abandon his promise to remove all flavored e-cigarettes from the market.

In a letter sent Tuesday, 25 Democrats led by Senate Health Committee ranking member Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments Obstacles remain for deal on surprise medical bills Key House and Senate health leaders reach deal to stop surprise medical bills MORE (Wash.), said they had "significant concerns" because it has been more than a month since administration officials first announced their intention to remove all non-tobacco flavors of e-cigarettes from the market.  

Pressure has been growing on the administration ever since the Sept. 11 announcement. 

Democrats and many Republicans initially applauded when Trump and federal health officials made the announcement to restrict the sale of all non-tobacco flavors of e-cigarettes. 

But the administration has yet to release the policy, and Democrats have been ramping up their criticism. 

"With each day, more children continue to be lured to e-cigarettes by flavors such as fruit, candy, and mint or menthol. We are therefore deeply troubled that there is no final compliance policy more than six weeks after the Oval Office announcement," the senators wrote. 

Is Trump backing down? Trump's initial announcement was met with fierce opposition from the vaping industry and conservatives. Health Secretary Alex Azar is now reportedly considering exempting mint and menthol flavors from the ban, amid warnings from Trump's 2020 campaign team that the ban could have negative political ramifications for the president. 

Read more here.

 

Juul cutting jobs, losing top executives

E-cigarette company Juul is cutting between 10 to 15 percent of its workforce amid a major restructuring effort as the company seeks to focus on getting its products through the Food and Drug Administration's review process, the company confirmed. 

The FDA process "is the best way to assess the role our products can play in helping adult smokers move away from combustible cigarettes while also being kept out of the hands of youth," Juul's new CEO K.C. Crosthwaite said. 

Government affairs, corporate responsibility and clinical and scientific affairs teams will all report directly to Chief Regulatory Officer Joe Murillo going forward -- and will focus on the "immediate task" of submitting the company's products for FDA review.

Juul's take: "Over the past several years, the company has grown at a rapid rate. To right-size the business, the workforce will be reduced between now and the end of the year," the company said in a statement.

Executives leaving: Meanwhile, CNBC reported Juul has replaced Chief Financial Officer Tim Danaher. In addition, Chief Administrative Officer Ashley Gould, Chief Marketing Officer Craig Brommers and Senior Vice President of Advanced Technologies David Foster all voluntarily left their roles at the e-cigarette manufacturer.

 

What we're reading 

Sen. Casey: 'Junk plans' misleading ObamaCare consumers in online search results (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Employers are scaling back their dependence on high-deductible health plans (Kaiser Health News)

FDA recommends measures to curb drug shortages (The Wall Street Journal)

 

State by state 

Health care is on the ballot in state elections starting next week (Vox.com)

Missouri health director kept spreadsheet of Planned Parenthood patients' periods (Kansas City Star)

Gov. Whitmer, Democrats introduce bills to protect access to abortion in Michigan (Detroit Free Press

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on Medicaid block grant waiver critics: 'If their concern is valid, we can improve it' (Chattanooga Times Free Press

 

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