Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — US experts to join WHO team on coronavirus in China | HHS may transfer millions to fight virus | GOP states tell Supreme Court to wait on ObamaCare case

Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — US experts to join WHO team on coronavirus in China | HHS may transfer millions to fight virus | GOP states tell Supreme Court to wait on ObamaCare case
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Welcome to Monday's Overnight Health Care. 

U.S. health officials are defending the Trump administration's handling of coronavirus cases. Technology companies are also facing their own challenges, as they try to fight disinformation about the virus on their platforms. And some legal news, as GOP states urged the Supreme Court to wait on hearing arguments in the ObamaCare lawsuit.

We'll start with the latest on the coronavirus...



American experts to join WHO delegation in China to study coronavirus

The World Health Organization (WHO) could send a delegation of international health experts to China as soon as this week to work on the coronavirus outbreak.

China will allow American experts to join the delegation despite frustrations expressed by WHO and the Chinese government over the U.S. response to the virus. A WHO spokesperson did not say which countries the experts would be from, but noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) "could be part of it."

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests Sotomayor, Ginsburg should have to recuse themselves on 'Trump related' cases Sanders says idea he can't work with Republicans is 'total nonsense' Sanders releases list of how to pay for his proposals MORE announced dramatic actions on Friday to try to limit exposure in the U.S. and the response has come under fire.There are 11 cases in the U.S., and officials expect there to be more. 

Both Chinese and WHO officials have criticized the Trump administration's decision to ban foreign nationals from entering the country if they had recently traveled to China.

"There is no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday.


Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, defended America's reaction on Monday.

"We made an aggressive decision in front of an unprecedented threat," she said. "These actions are science-based and aimed at protecting the health and safety of all Americans."

She added that the response to the virus in China could be strengthened by the CDC's involvement.

"I think that we at CDC have incredibly strong scientists who have a lot of technical experience with similar diseases," Messonnier said.

Read more here.



Meanwhile, HHS is making quick use of its public health emergency powers.


HHS tells Congress it may transfer millions of dollars in funding to respond to coronavirus

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notified Congress Sunday that it may need to transfer millions of dollars of funding in its budget to respond to the coronavirus. 

HHS could shift up to $136 million to key agencies responding to the coronavirus, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

An HHS spokesperson said the notice was delivered "out of an abundance of caution and to ensure HHS's ability to respond and adapt to a rapidly changing situation." 


Federal law requires HHS to notify Congress before shifting appropriated funds from one account to another.

A person familiar with the notice said HHS did not indicate which accounts it would be transferring the money from. 

The CDC has already dipped into a $105 million fund created by Congress last year to help federal agencies respond to public health emergencies. 

Read more on the funding plan here


Social media struggles to counter coronavirus misinformation

The world's top social media platforms are trying to push users toward fact-driven and reputable sources as sensationalist misinformation about the deadly coronavirus spreads online.


But wild conspiracy theories and misleading advice about the coronavirus, which has infected almost 10,000 people in China so far, are continuing to spread largely unabated on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and other networks with billions of users overall.

The social media giants -- Twitter, Facebook and Google -- have chosen to fight the spread of coronavirus-related misinformation in part by promoting authoritative sources.

But critics, including U.S. lawmakers who are working to publicize trustworthy information about the epidemic, want the platforms to do more to stave off the wave of misinformation.

Several of the platforms are opting to go further than just lifting up factual sources -- they're vowing to take down egregious instances of misinformation, an uphill battle on platforms like Facebook and TikTok that boast enormous user bases.

The platforms are still in the early stages of grappling with a fast-moving situation, and misinformation was continuing to break through the deluge on Friday evening. 

Read more on social media's efforts here.



GOP states tell Supreme Court to wait on reviewing ObamaCare case

Texas and a coalition of conservative states on Monday urged the Supreme Court not to step in and hear a lawsuit seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act.

The states said that a lower court first needs to rule before the Supreme Court can take up the case.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) said it was premature for the justices to take up the case without first waiting for a decision from a district court judge in Texas. 

"This Court should not allow petitioners to leapfrog lower-court consideration," Paxton wrote. 

The justices are expected to meet and make a decision about whether to hear the case later this month.

Paxton and the other red states want the law to be overturned, but they do not want the uncertainty over the law’s future impacting millions of Americans until after the November election.

The court filing was made in response to an effort by a group of Democratic states and House Democrats to convince the Supreme Court to step in and hear the case during the current term.

The Supreme Court last month rejected an argument by Democratic states and the House to speed up a review of the lawsuit.

Read more here.


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What we're reading

Coronavirus fears prompt hoaxes and misinformation (Los Angeles Times)

The flu is hitting children especially hard this season (The Wall Street Journal)

To fight coronavirus spread, the U.S. may expand 'social distancing' measures. But it comes at a cost (Stat News)


State by state

Democratic candidates vow to cover Pacific Islanders who lost Medicaid (Politico)

Georgians can comment on governor's Medicaid waiver proposal through Friday (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)


The Hill op-eds

As long as our children suffer, the state of our union should embarrass us all

The FDA must do more to ensure our food is safe