Overnight Health Care — Presented by Philip Morris International — CDC, State Department warn against travel to China | Biden says Trump left US unprepared for epidemic | Justices allow Trump 'public charge' rule to move forward

Overnight Health Care — Presented by Philip Morris International — CDC, State Department warn against travel to China | Biden says Trump left US unprepared for epidemic | Justices allow Trump 'public charge' rule to move forward
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Welcome to Monday's Overnight Health Care. 

House Democrats are spending $1 million on ads targeting Republicans on drug pricing. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration to move forward with the controversial "public charge" rule. But we'll start with the latest on the coronavirus and a new warning from the CDC... 



CDC, State Department warn against any travel to China

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued its highest travel warning on Monday, urging Americans to avoid all nonessential travel to China because of the outbreak of coronavirus.

The warning for an entire country marks a significant escalation; the CDC issued a warning for the Hubei province just four days ago.

At the same time, the State Department raised its China travel warning to level 3, urging U.S. citizens to "reconsider travel" to the country due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

The State Department also raised the travel warning for the entire Hubei province to level 4, advising against any travel there, noting that U.S. officials have "limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens" in the province.

But low threat in the U.S.: As of late Monday, there were still only five confirmed cases in the country. Health officials on Monday said they are monitoring 110 people across 26 states who might have the coronavirus, but nothing has been confirmed. 

Health officials have been saying for days they expect the number of U.S. cases to increase as more people are discovered with symptoms, but the virus is not actively spreading in this country, and the overall risk remains low.


The CDC has screened roughly 2,400 people flying from Wuhan, China to five major U.S. airports and is considering expanding its screening efforts in addition to the new travel restrictions. 

Read more about the travel warning here and CDC's latest update here.

More on the outbreak:

Stocks close with steep losses driven by coronavirus fears 

China confirms 769 new coronavirus cases in one day

China extends Lunar New Year holiday in bid to fight coronavirus




Biden: Trump left US unprepared to respond to epidemic

The coronavirus tiptoed a bit more into the domestic political debate on Monday. 

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe Biden2020 Democratic Party platform endorses Trump's NASA moon program Don't let Trump distract us from the real threat of his presidency Abrams: Trump 'doing his best to undermine our confidence' in voting system MORE, a leading Democratic presidential candidate, wrote an op-ed in USA Today calling out Trump for moves he said have weakened global health security and touting his own response to the Ebola outbreak in 2014. 

"Trump's demonstrated failures of judgment and his repeated rejection of science make him the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health challenge," Biden wrote. 


Biden pointed to Trump's call during the Ebola outbreak in 2014 to shut down flights from the affected areas in Africa.

"President Obama -- close down the flights from Ebola infected areas right now, before it is too late! What the hell is wrong with you?" Trump tweeted then.  

Team Trump hits back: Sarah Matthews, a Trump campaign spokeswoman, hit back at Biden's criticism on Monday by pointing to a 2009 incident when the Obama White House had to walk back comments Biden made advising people not to travel on airplanes during the swine flu outbreak. 

"Joe Biden's track record on appropriate reactions to outbreaks is about as poor as his track record on almost everything else," Matthews said. "Just take the swine flu outbreak in 2009, when Biden caused unnecessary panic by telling the public to avoid planes and subways and the Obama White House had to issue an apology."  

Read more here


Trump weighs in


President TrumpDonald John TrumpOklahoma City Thunder players kneel during anthem despite threat from GOP state lawmaker Microsoft moving forward with talks to buy TikTok after conversation with Trump Controversial Trump nominee placed in senior role after nomination hearing canceled MORE on Monday also tweeted that the U.S. is “in very close communication with China concerning the virus.”

“Very few cases reported in USA, but strongly on watch,” he wrote. “We have offered China and President Xi any help that is necessary. Our experts are extraordinary!”

More on Trump's tweet here.


Biden wasn't the only Democrat to criticize Trump

Sen. Edward MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden's latest plan on racial inequality The Boston Globe endorses Markey in primary against Kennedy OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA effort to boost uranium mining leaves green groups worried about water | DNC climate platform draft calls for net-zero emissions by 2050 | Duckworth introduces safety net bill for coal country MORE (D-Mass.) called on President Trump to reinstate the National Security Council (NSC) position of Global Health Chief. 

Former President Obama created a global health security and biothreats team within the NSC in response to the Ebola epidemic in 2016. Trump and former NSC Adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonThe 'pitcher of warm spit' — Veepstakes and the fate of Mike Pence Senate-passed defense spending bill includes clause giving DHS cyber agency subpoena power Bolton defends Cheney amid clash with House conservatives MORE eliminated the position in 2018, and Markey said the U.S. needs someone to coordinate a public health response across multiple agencies. 


"You have provided no clarity on who would be the lead voice and coordinator of the U.S. response to an infectious disease threat," Markey wrote to Trump. "This, compounded with your repeated efforts to starve resources put toward our global health preparedness, has threatened to put the U.S. in a precarious position." 


Supreme Court allows Trump administration to move forward with 'public charge' rule

The Trump administration can move forward with a rule to make it harder for immigrants who rely on public assistance to gain legal status while a court challenge plays out, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday.

The Supreme Court voted 5-4 along ideological lines to lift a nationwide injunction on the proposal imposed by a federal judge in New York while the case is playing out in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.

The rule, from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), would make it easier for immigration officials to deny entry or legal status to people likely to rely on government assistance, like housing vouchers, food stamps or Medicaid.

DHS issued the rule in October, prompting rapid legal challenges across the country. The nationwide injunction that was lifted Monday arose from a pair of lawsuits filed by New York state and immigrant aid groups.

Health and immigration experts and activists have warned the rule could dramatically limit the number of people using social safety net programs. It is also likely to have a chilling effect on people who aren't directly affected, and could discourage permanent residents and even U.S. citizens from renewing or applying for benefits they are entitled to.

Read more on the ruling here.


House Democrats to spend $1M on ads targeting GOP on drug pricing

The House Democrats' campaign arm will spend more than $1 million on national television ads hitting Republicans on the issue of high prescription drug prices.

The digital and TV ads from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) argue that House Republicans and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP scrambles to fend off Kobach in Kansas primary Meadows: Election will be held on November third Don't let Trump distract us from the real threat of his presidency MORE (R-Ky.) are standing in the way of Congress passing legislation aimed at lowering drug prices. 

"We are going to make sure every voter out there understands we as Democrats -- House Democrats specifically -- are doing everything we can to fight to bring down the cost of prescription drugs while Mitch McConnell and House Republicans are doing nothing but get in the way," said DCCC Chairwoman Rep. Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosDemocrats go big on diversity with new House recruits DCCC adds six candidates to program aimed at flipping GOP-held seats Time for a Democratic reckoning on race  MORE (D-Ill.). 

Why it matters: Polls show the high costs of health care and prescription drugs is a top priority for voters in 2020. Democrats know this and plan to highlight what they've done (or tried to do) on the issue. This was successful for the party in 2018, when House Democrats ran on health care and protecting patients with pre-existing conditions. 

Read more here.



What we're reading

The coronavirus in China could threaten pharma's ingredient sourcing (STAT)

'What if we all get sick?' Coronavirus strains China's health system (The New York Times)

An ER doctor was charged with abusing his baby. But 15 medical experts say there's no proof (NBC News)


State by state

Big merger changes Medicaid insurance equation in Georgia (WABE)

California reopens the single-payer debate (California Healthline)

Budget hearings to start amid Medicaid woes (Albany Times Record)


From The Hill's opinion page:

Spreading growth across Midwest can help heal our politics

Is coronavirus a global emergency? What we don't know can be dangerous

Are we making progress or stuck in neutral with the opioid crisis?