Overnight Health Care: Kansas leaders reach deal to expand Medicaid | California to launch own prescription drug label | Dem senator offers bill banning e-cigarette flavors

Overnight Health Care: Kansas leaders reach deal to expand Medicaid | California to launch own prescription drug label | Dem senator offers bill banning e-cigarette flavors
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Welcome to Thursday's Overnight Health Care.

Kansas is now on the verge of expanding Medicaid after a breakthrough deal, California's governor is proposing some drastic drug pricing policies, and Nebraska passed an abortion ban.

We'll start with the Medicaid news...



Kansas leaders announce bipartisan deal to expand Medicaid

Some good news for ObamaCare supporters and Medicaid backers after a years-long fight in Kansas: the state has a deal to expand Medicaid. 

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly announced the deal at a press conference on Thursday with state Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, a Republican. 

The deal would expand Medicaid to cover as many as 150,000 more people and make Kansas the 37th state to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare. But, the agreement still has to pass the state Legislature.

What's in the deal:

  • Medicaid expansion
  • A "reinsurance" program to lower private health insurance premiums
  • Medicaid enrollees would pay small premiums, around $25
  • Work referrals to help Medicaid enrollees get work, but no work requirements that strip coverage for noncompliance. 

Big picture: Momentum for Medicaid. The agreement is a sign of the weakening resistance to Medicaid expansion in red states that had been holding out. Voters approved Medicaid expansion in Utah, Idaho and Nebraska in 2018.


Read more here.


Dem introduces ban on e-cigarette flavors 

Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownAmazon doubling overtime pay for warehouse workers Democrats grow nervous over primary delays Hillicon Valley: Senators press Amazon over workplace safety amid outbreak | Lyft expands to deliveries | Dems seek election security funds in stimulus package MORE (D-Ohio) introduced a bill Thursday that would ban flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. 

It's the Senate version of a House bill introduced last year by Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Donna ShalalaDonna Edna ShalalaTrump coronavirus response seen as threat to CDC confidence House Democrats unveil coronavirus economic response package CBS All Access launches animated 'Tooning Out the News' series MORE (D-Fla.).

The House bill is expected to get a vote on the floor early this year. But it's not clear if Brown's bill will get a vote in the Senate, where some Republicans oppose a flavor ban. The Senate bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ben Carden (D-Md.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinLegal immigrants at risk of losing status during coronavirus pandemic Senate rejects GOP attempt to change unemployment benefits in coronavirus stimulus bill Senators pen op-ed calling for remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic MORE (D-Ill.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisDemocratic senators call on FDA to drop restrictions on blood donations from men who have sex with men Harris knocks Gaetz for taking issue with money for Howard in relief package Biden's general election strategy comes into focus MORE (D-Calif.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyHouse bill would ban stock trading by members of Congress Lawmakers ask Trump administration to help Gulf oil and gas producers Overnight Energy: Trump prepares to buy 30M barrels of oil amid industry slump | Coronavirus offers reprieve from air pollution | Energy regulators split on delaying actions amid outbreak MORE (D-Ore.), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedOvernight Defense: Stimulus bill has .5B for Pentagon | Money would be blocked from border wall | Esper orders 60-day freeze for overseas troop movements Senate panel switches to 'paper hearings' amid coronavirus pandemic Rand Paul's coronavirus diagnosis sends shockwaves through Senate MORE (D-R.I.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseOvernight Energy: Coronavirus package punts on environmental fights | Court sides with tribes in Dakota Access Pipeline case | Trump officials walk away from ethanol court fight Coronavirus package punts on environmental fights Overnight Energy: House stimulus aims to stem airline pollution | Environmental measures become sticking point in Senate talks | Progressives propose T 'green stimulus' MORE (D-R.I.).

The bill would also prohibit online sales of tobacco products and place additional advertising restrictions on e-cigarettes. 


California plans to launch own prescription drug label

California has been at the forefront of some major health innovations, and Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin Christopher NewsomStates brace for massive budget gaps in coronavirus recession California governor, big banks agree to 90-day mortgage grace period States reject Trump calls to reopen economy by Easter MORE (D) is pushing for more in 2020. 

On Thursday morning, Newsom announced that he wants California to become the first state to create its own prescription drug label.

As part of his 2020-2021 budget, Newsom wants to create the first-ever state generic drug label as part of a series of sweeping proposals designed to lower the cost of health care in the Golden State.  

Newsom also wants to force drug companies to bid in order to sell their drugs in the state marketplace. California would invoke a "most favored nation" clause in the marketplace, which would mean manufacturers will have to sell drugs at the lowest cost offered anywhere else in the world. 

Will it work? Drug prices in other countries are often lower because governments directly negotiate with manufacturers. Newsom's proposal could be successful if the state has enough leverage to force drugmakers to make concessions. 


Read more here.


Trump brags about lower cancer deaths  

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDefense industrial base workers belong at home during this public health crisis Maduro pushes back on DOJ charges, calls Trump 'racist cowboy' House leaders hope to vote Friday on coronavirus stimulus MORE on Thursday seemed to take credit for a record drop in the rate of cancer deaths that occurred during his first year in office.

Trump tweeted that cancer rates are the lowest in recorded history, and added there is "a lot of good news coming out of this Administration."

But a report from the American Cancer Society found that the 2.2 percent drop was driven largely from declining death rates from lung cancer, which is the leading cause of death from cancer. Better drugs, declining smoking rates and earlier detection of cancer have all contributed, rather than anything the administration has done.

While recent spending bills have included increases for the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute, President Trump has proposed cutting their funding. 



What we're reading

The most expensive health care option of all? Do nothing. (Politico

Two big drug flops show how health-care economics have changed (Bloomberg Businessweek

Trump international drug price plan would hurt bill in Congress (Bloomberg Law)

Faced with prescriber fears of OxyContin misuse, Purdue sales reps misleadingly played up drug's safety, documents show (Stat)



State by state

Details scarce on Cuomo's Medicaid deficit plan in New York (Albany Times-Union

Iowa auditor slams state Medicaid program for 'flawed' data (Associated Press

State of the state: Cuomo pushes to ban vape products and ads (News 10)