Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — House to condemn Trump plan for Medicaid block grants | Chinese doctor who warned of coronavirus dies | CDC ships coronavirus tests

Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — House to condemn Trump plan for Medicaid block grants | Chinese doctor who warned of coronavirus dies | CDC ships coronavirus tests
© Greg Nash

Welcome to Thursday's Overnight Health Care. 

The House tonight is expected to vote to condemn the Trump administration's Medicaid block grant policy. Also, the CDC is beginning to ship coronavirus diagnostics to health departments, and the Chinese doctor who warned officials about the disease has died from it. 

We'll start with the fight over block grants...



House to condemn Trump Medicaid block grant plan

The House on Tuesday is expected to pass a resolution officially condemning the Trump administration's new Medicaid block grant plan.

The non-binding resolution won't have much practical impact and is not likely to be taken up in the GOP-controlled Senate.

Democrats argue the administration doesn't have the authority to approve such drastic changes, and Medicaid advocates argue the changes would hurt low-income people and invite states to cut costs and reduce coverage. 

Republicans knocked Democrats for rushing through with a vote to condemn the administration's plan only a week after it was introduced. They also criticized the Democrats for voting on a non-binding resolution. One GOP lawmaker even ripped a copy of the resolution in half, mimicking Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Justices rule Manhattan prosecutor, but not Congress, can have Trump tax records Supreme Court rulings reignite Trump oversight wars in Congress Pelosi on Baltimore's Columbus statue: 'If the community doesn't want the statue, the statue shouldn't be there' MORE (D-Calif.), who has been criticized by Republicans for doing the same with a copy of President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' Trump confirms 2018 US cyberattack on Russian troll farm Trump tweets his support for Goya Foods amid boycott MORE's State of the Union speech.

"I watched with great interest last evening the debate over expressing one's opinion and First Amendment rights in the body," Rep. Paul MitchellPaul MitchellHouse Armed Services votes to make Pentagon rename Confederate-named bases in a year Rep. Lloyd Smucker added to House GOP leadership GOP lawmakers say Steve King's loss could help them in November MORE (R-Mich.) said, before ripping the resolution in half, throwing it to the floor and walking away. 


So why vote? The measure represents the latest effort of Democrats attempting to put Republicans in a bind on health care. 

Democrats took control of the House in 2018 after tying Republicans to the repeated attempts to repeal ObamaCare and arguing the GOP wants to take away coverage from people with pre-existing conditions. They want to continue to position themselves as the party of health care ahead of the 2020 election. 



Some sad news...Chinese doctor who warned of coronavirus early dies after contracting it

A Chinese doctor who was one of the first to warn others about the spread of coronavirus has died after contracting the virus himself, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed on Thursday. 

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Li Wenliang," said Dr. Mike Ryan, a top WHO official. 

"We all need to celebrate work that he did" on stopping the virus, Ryan added. 

Li posted about concerning signs of the new virus on an online chat group for fellow doctors at the end of December. He was then detained by the police and accused of spreading "rumors." He was released on Jan. 3 after signing a document saying he committed "illegal acts," The Washington Post reported

Later that month, he came down with the virus himself. 

Read more here.


CDC ships coronavirus tests to health departments 


Coronavirus tests developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shipped Thursday to U.S. and international laboratories, including those at state and local public health departments. 

Previously, health providers and health departments sent samples for testing to the CDC in Atlanta. 

The distribution of the tests means departments will be able to identify new cases quicker. The test can provide results in four hours. 

"Our goal is early detection of new cases and to prevent further spread of the coronavirus," said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield.

 "Distribution of these diagnostic tests to state laboratories, U.S. government partners and more broadly to the global public health community will accelerate efforts to confront this evolving global public health challenge."

About 400 test kits will be distributed domestically and internationally. Each test kit can test about 700-800 patient samples. More test kits will be produced and shipped in the future, the CDC said. 

Read more here.



Report: Turnover for direct support staff for Americans with disabilities reaches 'crisis' level

The number of workers with intellectual and developmental disabilities integrated into the workforce has largely plateaued in the past year, and the national turnover rate for those providing direct support for such people is nearing 45 percent, according to a Thursday report from the ANCOR Foundation and United Cerebral Palsy (UCP).

The groups' 2020 edition of their Case for Inclusion report, exclusively provided to The Hill, found that the percentage of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in integrated employment -- that is, those working alongside abled people and earning market-driven wages -- increased only 1 percentage point to 20 percent over the past year.

The report found that nationwide, 127,000 people with I/DD worked in competitive employment, compared to 124,000 the year before. The number of states with at least one third of I/DD residents participating in competitive employment increased from seven in 2019 to 10 in the most recent report.

However, the report also found the total number of people with I/DD on waiting lists for home- and community-based services increased by 49,000 in the past year, reaching 473,000. Waiting lists shrunk in 10 states but grew in 23.

Read more on the report here



Five new measles cases reported in Los Angeles area

Five cases of measles were confirmed in Los Angeles County on Wednesday, with the local Department of Public Health warning that the local outbreak included four residents and an "unimmunized, international visitor."

The department listed 33 public places where that confirmed case was known to have been between Jan. 26 and Sunday.

"Unimmunized persons or those with unknown immunization status who were at these sites during the dates and times listed above are at risk of developing measles from 7 to 21 days after being exposed," it said. "Individuals who have been free of symptoms for more than 21 days are no longer at risk."

HHS address outbreak: In his annual "State of the Department" address, HHS Secretary Alex Azar looked back at the agency's efforts to try and combat the measles outbreak.

"Sadly, this past year saw our country's largest measles outbreak since 1992, threatening our country's measles elimination status," Azar said. "CDC led an aggressive response, in cooperation with state and local health departments. We took this troubling development as an opportunity to go on offense, launching an unprecedented media campaign of HHS leaders promoting the importance of vaccination."

Read more here.


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The Hill Event

Wednesday, February 26: America's Opioid Epidemic: Lessons Learned & A Way Forward 

Join The Hill on Wednesday, February 26th in downtown Washington, D.C. as we host a conversation exploring steps that can expand access to treatment and help those battling opioid addiction begin the journey toward long-term recovery. Our editors will be joined by Rep. David JoyceDavid Patrick JoyceThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The American Investment Council - Trump takes his 'ready to reopen' mantra on the road GE cutting up to one-quarter of aviation unit's workers Boeing suspends Washington production, GE Aviation lays off thousands MORE (R-Ohio), Rep. Paul TonkoPaul David TonkoOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Supreme Court upholds permit for B pipeline under Appalachian Trail | Report finds NOAA 'Sharpiegate' statement 'not based on science' but political influence | EPA faces suit over plan to release genetically engineered mosquito Report finds NOAA 'sharpiegate' statement 'not based on science' but political influence Democrats call for green energy relief in next stimulus package MORE (D-N.Y.) and many more. RSVP today


What we're reading

In effort to develop coronavirus vaccine, outbreak expert sees 'hardest problem' of his career (Stat News)

Why doctors are fighting their professional organization over Medicare for All (The Nation)  

Democrats have good plans to tackle the opioid epidemic. They should talk about them. (Vox.com

FDA crackdown on vaping flavors has blind spot: disposables (Associated Press)

Health insurers can use this loophole to push pricy medical bills onto you, the patient (Kaiser Health News)


State by state

Democratic Senate candidates vying to take on John CornynJohn CornynTexas lawmakers ask HHS to set up field hospital, federal resources in the state GOP senators voice confidence over uphill Senate battle Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad MORE want changes in health care (Dallas Morning News)

Final push in Wisconsin to lower prescription drug cost, reform pharmacy benefit managers (WXOW)

Flu deaths climb up to 23 in Oklahoma, state health department reports (Newson6)


From The Hill's opinion page

How much should we worry about the new coronavirus?