Overnight Health Care: Trump draws ire after retreat on drug price promise | Harris unveils mental health plan | Dem bill targets violence against women around the world

Overnight Health Care: Trump draws ire after retreat on drug price promise | Harris unveils mental health plan | Dem bill targets violence against women around the world
© Getty Images

Welcome to Monday's Overnight Health Care. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's newest Russia adviser, Andrew Peek, leaves post: report Hawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Trump rips New York City sea wall: 'Costly, foolish' and 'environmentally unfriendly idea' MORE is backing off his campaign pledge to let Medicare negotiate drug prices, and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisParnas pressure grows on Senate GOP Sanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial MORE (D-Calif.) a 2020 contender, released her mental health plan.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump draws ire after retreat on drug prices pledge

President Trump is backing off his 2016 campaign pledge to negotiate drug prices for Medicare with pharmaceutical companies, drawing fire from Democrats after months of talks on the issue with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiREAD: House impeachment managers' trial brief Desperate Democrats badmouth economy even as it booms Pelosi offers message to Trump on Bill Maher show: 'You are impeached forever' MORE (D-Calif.).

During his campaign, Trump famously broke with Republican orthodoxy with his support for having the government negotiate lower drug prices.

"When it comes time to negotiate the cost of drugs, we are going to negotiate like crazy," Trump said in New Hampshire in early 2016.

Pelosi's staff spent months over the course of this year trying to get White House support for her measure to allow the government to negotiate prices for up to 250 drugs per year, with tough financial penalties for companies that refused to come to the table.

But after months of holding his fire, Trump is now publicly bashing Pelosi's bill. And while Trump still talks about the need to lower drug prices in general, he has not proposed an alternative drug price negotiation plan of his own. 

"Pelosi and her Do Nothing Democrats drug pricing bill doesn't do the trick. FEWER cures! FEWER treatments!" Trump tweeted on Friday, echoing the traditional Republican argument that negotiation would hinder development of new drugs. "Time for the Democrats to get serious about bipartisan solutions to lowering prescription drug prices for families."

ADVERTISEMENT

Context: Trump is echoing the "fewer cures" argument House Republicans launched against Pelosi's drug plan. The argument is that if drug companies are paid less for their products, they will invest less in research and development, leading to fewer new drugs. 

The politics: Democrats note that the U.S. is one of the only western country's that doesn't negotiate prices with drug companies. They say Trump broke his promise to do so. Health care costs are already shaping up to be one of the top issues in the 2020 presidential election. 

Read more on the drug pricing fight here.

 

Kamala Harris unveils mental health plan 

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) rolled out her plan to increase access to mental health care Monday. 

The plan would direct more federal funds to research better treatment options for mental health issues. She would also fund more research at the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, military sexual trauma, and traumatic brain injury. 

She would also authorize a student loan forgiveness program for mental health professionals that agree to work in underserved areas.

Her Medicare for All plan would also offer mental health services on demand through phone or video to all Americans, without deductibles or copays. 

The plan would also double the number of treatment beds in the U.S., while prioritizing states that have shortages, including Iowa, Nevada, South Carolina and Michigan. 

"We have failed when it comes to policy solutions for Americans struggling with mental health. Too often we only focus on health care from the neck down, and we need to ensure we are addressing health care from the neck up," Harris said in a statement. 

One big missing piece: How to pay for it. 

Read more on Harris' plan here.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Democrats release bill aimed at stopping international violence against women 

Rep. Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyLawmaker calls for hearing into MLB cheating scandal Big Pharma looks to stem losses after trade deal defeat The Hill's Morning Report - Deescalation: US-Iran conflict eases MORE (D-Ill.) and 120 House Democrats introduced a bill Monday that would use existing resources to "combat and respond to gender-based violence." 

The bill would not authorize new spending but would focus current resources "more efficiently and effectively," according to Schakowsky's office. 

It would permanently establish the Office of Global Women's Issues in the State Department to develop and implement efforts to advance the status of women and girls around the world. 

The bill would also update and enhance emergency response plans for outbreaks of violence against women and girls abroad, and ensure gender-based violence prevention and response are included in all U.S. humanitarian efforts. 

"This bill would make the eradication of violence against women a central piece of the U.S. foreign policy agenda and ensure that gender-based violence prevention and response are included in all our humanitarian efforts around the globe," Schakowsky said in a statement. 

 

ADVERTISEMENT

What we're reading

Inside the CDC's scramble to solve a mysterious vaping disease (Washington Post)

PhRMA ends funding for high-profile addiction treatment group (Politico)  

Not yesterday's cocaine: death roll rising from tainted drug (Kaiser Health News)

Hospital alarms prove a noisy misery for patients: 'I feel like I'm in jail.' (Washington Post)

University to students on Medicaid: Buy private coverage, or drop out (The New York Times)

 

State by state

Law to protect patients against surprise medical bills in Texas proves hard to enact (NPR

UVA doctors decry aggressive billing practices by their own hospital (Kaiser Health News)