Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — House panel unveils rival fix for surprise medical bills | Democrats punt vote on youth vaping bill | Pelosi drug bill poised for passage after deal with progressives
Overnight Health Care: Warren promises gradual move to 'Medicare for All' | Rivals dismiss Warren plan for first 100 days | White House unveils rules on disclosing hospital prices | Planned Parenthood wins case against anti-abortion group
Welcome to Friday's Overnight Health Care.
Elizabeth Warren introduced her transition plan for Medicare for All, the Trump administration wants to force hospitals to publicize their prices, 2020 Democratic contenders Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris want an agency to control drug prices, and Planned Parenthood won a lawsuit.
We'll start with Warren...
Warren promises gradual move toward 'Medicare for All' in first 100 days
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) plans to use a fast track maneuver to pass legislation to dramatically increase health insurance coverage during her first 100 days as president-- but it won't immediately be "Medicare for All."
Warren on Friday proposed a series of steps she said would gradually move the country towards Medicare for All over the course of three years. Warren's transition plan would first build on ObamaCare coverage and create a public health insurance option for low-income families and children under 18, with free or reduced premiums for those who make too much to qualify for free care.
In a Medium post describing her plan, Warren acknowledged that moving to Medicare for All will take time.
"Every serious proposal for Medicare for All contemplates a significant transition period," Warren wrote. "My plan will be completed in my first term. It includes dramatic actions to lower drug prices, a Medicare for All option available to everyone that is more generous than any plan proposed by any other presidential candidate, critical health system reforms to save money and save lives, and a full transition to Medicare for All."
Shift to the center? Warren's plan for her first 100 days is designed to build gradual support for Medicare for All. It presents a somewhat moderate proposal at first that is similar to plans championed by her more centrist rivals, including Vice President Joe Biden and Peter Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Biden and Buttigieg have both proposed public options, but Warren's initial plan is still more generous.
Some health experts have noted that Warren's plan, if passed, would still help many Americans afford health coverage even if full Medicare for All can't get off the ground.
Political realities: Warren's plan is ambitious and requires Democrats to take control of the Senate. She said her plan involves using the Senate's fast-track reconciliation procedure, which only requires 51 votes rather than the usual 60.
Rivals hit back: But Biden and Buttigieg's camps were not impressed with Warren's rollout.
- Lis Smith, communications adviser to the Buttgieg campaign: "Despite adopting Pete's language of 'choice,' her plan is still a 'my way or the highway' approach that would eradicate choice for millions of Americans."
- Kate Bedingfield, Biden's deputy campaign manager: "Senator Warren is now trying to muddy the waters even further. What started out as 'mathematical gymnastics' have been replaced by a full program of flips and twists covering every element of her plan."
White House unveils rules requiring online disclosure of hospital prices
The Trump administration wants to shine some light into the secretive and confusing world of health care pricing.
Officials on Friday unveiled new rules to require increased disclosure of health care prices, in a move they said would drive down costs by increasing competition.
- One regulation would require hospitals to provide a consumer-friendly online page where prices are listed for 300 common procedures like X-rays and lab tests.
- A second regulation would require insurers to provide an online tool where people could compare their out-of-pocket costs at different medical providers before receiving treatment.
The politics: The Trump administration is seeking to make a range of health care announcements, mainly outside the scope of the Affordable Care Act, to show progress on an issue that Democrats used to great effect to help win back control of the House last year.
Joe Grogan, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, told reporters Friday that Trump is "consistently non-ideological" in confronting health care problems.
But: The Trump administration is also currently in court supporting a lawsuit to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act. A ruling from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals could come at any time. Democrats have focused on that lawsuit, warning of the millions of people who could lose coverage if it succeeds.
Planned Parenthood wins case against anti-abortion group
A federal jury in San Francisco found that the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group, and its president David Daleiden broke multiple state and federal laws when they secretly recorded and released videos of Planned Parenthood employees.
The jury awarded Planned Parenthood $2 million in damages, finding that Daleiden and his organization engaged in fraud, trespassing and illegal secret recording.
"David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress intentionally waged a multi-year illegal effort to manufacture a malicious campaign against Planned Parenthood," said Alexis McGill Johnson, the acting president and CEO of Planned Parenthood.
"The jury recognized today that those behind the campaign broke the law in order to advance their goals of banning safe, legal abortion in this country, and to prevent Planned Parenthood from serving the patients who depend on us."
In 2013 and 2014, Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, posing as human tissue procurers for a fake company, secretly recorded their discussions with Planned Parenthood employees about acquiring fetal tissue from abortions for medical research.
Planned Parenthood argues the videos were selectively edited and manipulated to make it appear as if their employees were talking about profiting off fetal tissue donations.
Ohio lawmakers unveil bill that makes abortion murder
Two Republican Ohio state lawmakers are reportedly sponsoring a new bill that would outlaw abortion in the state.
State Reps. Ron Hood and Candice Keller are sponsors of House Bill 413, which would count unborn fetuses are people, The Washington Post reported Thursday, citing a news release from the Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio.
Anyone who performs an abortion would be "subject to already existing murder statutes," the statement reportedly said.
It is unclear whether the bill has been introduced.
Booker, Sanders propose new federal agency to control drug prices
New legislation from a host of 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls would create a new federal agency focused on controlling the costs of prescription drugs.
The bill from Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) would form the Bureau of Prescription Drug Affordability and Access. Under the bill, if a drug company did not comply with the regulations, the Bureau would void exclusivity protections, allowing other companies to produce generic copies of the drug.
The bill also would require manufacturers that are planning to bring a new drug to the market to submit to the bureau the cost of research and development, the cost of the drug and of comparable medications in other countries, and the federal investments that contributed to the drug's discovery and production.
The Bureau would review that information and other factors to determine an appropriate list price.
Will it pass? Not under Republican control of the Senate, though it's an interesting look into what some of the White House hopefuls want to do on drug prices. The legislation is one of many ideas and bills proposed to try to bring down prescription drug prices, but is one of the more drastic proposals introduced to date.
What we're reading
In a 'Wild West' environment, hospitals differ sharply in what patient data they give Google (Stat News)
Majority of anti-vaccine ads on Facebook were funded by two groups (Washington Post)
Nursing home safety violations put residents at risk, report finds (Kaiser Health News)
Apple to ban vaping apps from its store (New York Times)
State by state
Massachusetts Senate unanimously passes bill targeting high drug prices (WWLP)
In states with restrictive abortion laws, women seek online options (Reuters)
BYU-Idaho won't accept Medicaid anymore as enrollment for expansion begins (Boise State Public Radio