Overnight Health Care: Warren unveils 'Medicare for All' funding plan | Warren says plan won't raise middle class taxes | Rivals question claims | Biden camp says plan will hit 'American workers' | Trump taps cancer doctor Stephen Hahn for FDA chief

Overnight Health Care: Warren unveils 'Medicare for All' funding plan | Warren says plan won't raise middle class taxes | Rivals question claims | Biden camp says plan will hit 'American workers' | Trump taps cancer doctor Stephen Hahn for FDA chief
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Welcome to Friday's Overnight Health Care. Today, Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, Harris lead Trump in Georgia: Poll University of Florida student government president faces impeachment over Trump Jr. appearance The Hill's Morning Report - Diplomats kick off public evidence about Trump, Ukraine MORE has released her plan to pay for Medicare for All and President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, Harris lead Trump in Georgia: Poll Trump officials making changes to signature drug pricing proposal, Azar says Are Democrats building a collapsible impeachment? MORE nominated an FDA commissioner to replace Scott Gottlieb. 

 

Warren releases 'Medicare for All' plan with no tax hike on middle class

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Friday released a new plan laying out how she would pay for her "Medicare for All" proposal that would not directly raise taxes on the middle class, responding to pressure and criticism from other Democrats in the presidential race. 

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The plan is a shift from Warren's progressive rival in the 2020 primary, 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.), who has said tax hikes on the middle class will be necessary to help pay for Medicare for All. 

"We don't need to raise taxes on the middle class by one penny to finance Medicare for All," Warren wrote in a Medium post published Friday. The senator instead recommended new taxes on the rich, corporations and employers, as well as cuts to defense spending.

Here's some highlights: 

  • Warren estimates the plan needs $20.5 trillion in new federal spending over a decade. 
  • Employers would have to pay what is being described by some as a payroll tax, equal to 98 percent of what they spend now on health care for their workers. She estimates this would generate $8.8 trillion over ten years. 
  • A corporate tax rate increase would generate $2.9 trillion while a capital gains tax on the top 1 percent of earners would raise $2 trillion, both over ten years. 
  • She would cut payments to hospitals, saving $600 billion over 10 years. She also assumes aggressive discounts on branded and generic prescription drugs that would save $1.7 trillion over ten years. 

Read more here

 

Still want to know more? Check out our "Five things to know about Warren's 'Medicare for All' funding plan."

 

Meanwhile, Biden says the costs associated Warren's plan would fall on workers 

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, Harris lead Trump in Georgia: Poll Lindsey Graham vows to not watch 'un-American' Trump impeachment hearings Trump goes on tweeting offensive ahead of public impeachment hearing MORE's campaign hit Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) over her new "Medicare for All" plan on Friday, saying it really would result in a middle-class tax increase despite Warren's claims. 

"For months, Elizabeth Warren has refused to say if her health care plan would raise taxes on the middle class, and now we know why: because it does," said Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield. "Senator Warren would place a new tax of nearly $9 trillion that will fall on American workers."

Warren's plan argues that tax is just matching what employers are already paying for their workers' health insurance in the form of premiums, and that it would actually slightly reduce employers' costs. Economists also say that workers face lower wages under the current system because of the costs employers have to pour into health insurance instead. 

Biden has argued for strengthening ObamaCare by adding an optional government-run plan, a similar approach to other more moderate candidates such as South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegDemocrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Saagar Enjeti rips Buttigieg for praising Obama after misquote Krystal Ball credits Gabbard's upswing in 2020 race to 'feckless' Democratic establishment MORE.

Sen. Michael Bennett (D-Colo.), who is also running for president, said Warren's numbers are not "believable." 

"Regardless of whether it's $21 trillion or $31 trillion, this isn't going to happen, and the American people need health care," he said. 

Read more here.

 

On the same day as Warren's announcement... Pelosi says: 'I'm not a big fan of Medicare for All'

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGiuliani pens op-ed slamming 'unprecedented' impeachment inquiry Brindisi, Lamb recommended for Armed Services, Transportation Committees 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 MORE (D-Calif.) said Friday that she is "not a big fan" of "Medicare for All."

"I'm not a big fan of Medicare for All," Pelosi told Bloomberg. "I mean I welcome the debate, I think that we should have health care for all."

"It is expensive," she said of Medicare for All.

"There is a comfort level that some people have with their current private insurance that they have, and if that is to be phased out, let's talk about it, but let's not just have one bill that would do that," she added. 

More critical than earlier: Pelosi has previously declined to embrace a push among progressive lawmakers for Medicare for All, though her latest remarks are more critical than statements earlier this year, when she said she was "agnostic."

The politics: Pelosi echoed many Democratic strategists who want to be closer to the message that helped the party win back the House last year, where Democrats focused on Republican attacks on ObamaCare. 

Read more here

 

White House distances itself from Pelosi plan to lower drug prices

Meanwhile on something that might be able to get done this year, a big bipartisan deal is certainly not looking easy. 

The Trump administration is downplaying the chances it will endorse Pelosi's drug pricing bill, instead pointing to a somewhat more modest bill in the Senate from Sens. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight 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 McConnell, GOP leaders say they won't be watching House impeachment hearing Poll: 1 in 5 US adults report trouble affording prescription drugs MORE (R-Iowa) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Defense: Families sue over safety hazards at Army base | Lawmakers, NBA's Enes Kanter speak out ahead of Erdoğan visit | Washington braces for public impeachment hearings Federal court rules baseless searches of travelers' devices unconstitutional NBA's Enes Kanter speaks out against Erdoğan ahead of White House visit MORE (D-Ore.), the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Finance Committee. 

"Lines of communication remain open with the Speaker's office, but the Grassley-Wyden proposal is the most likely solution that could advance on a bipartisan basis and achieve the President's priority of lowering drug prices even further for all Americans," White House spokesman Judd Deere wrote in an email. 

Outlook: The Grassley-Wyden bill does have a somewhat better chance of passing in the Senate, given that some Republicans support it. But even that bill is opposed by many Republicans. And the Grassley-Wyden bill also does less than the Pelosi proposal. It does not include negotiation to lower prices, for example. 

Read more here.  

 

Trump nominates cancer doctor Stephen Hahn for FDA commissioner

President Trump on Friday nominated Texas cancer doctor Stephen Hahn to be the new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner.

Hahn is currently chief medical executive at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas, one of the country's leading sites for cancer treatment.

If confirmed, Hahn will be stepping into a political battle over regulation of e-cigarettes. The Trump administration is reportedly considering backing away from proposed bans on mint and menthol flavored e-cigarettes.

Brett Giroir, the current assistant secretary for health, will become the acting FDA commissioner while the Senate considers Hahn's nomination.

Ned Sharpless, who has been acting FDA commissioner in recent months, will return to the National Cancer Institute.

Read more here.

 

What we're reading: 

Trump administration delays rule forcing hospital-cost transparency (Wall Street Journal

Google to acquire Fitbit for $2.1 billion in major health teach deal (STAT)

Long-awaited cystic fibrosis drug could turn deadly disease into a manageable condition (The Washington Post)

 

State by state

Return to sender? Just one missed letter can be enough to end Medicaid benefits (NPR

Indiana suspends Medicaid work requirements. So, what does that mean in Kentucky? (Louisville Courier-Journal)

South Carolina governor responds to court decision overturning his executive order on abortion (CBS News)