Overnight Health Care: Trump budget calls for cutting Medicaid, ACA by $1T | Trump proposes removing FDA authority over tobacco | Lawmakers frustrated by lack of emergency funds for coronavirus

Overnight Health Care: Trump budget calls for cutting Medicaid, ACA by $1T | Trump proposes removing FDA authority over tobacco | Lawmakers frustrated by lack of emergency funds for coronavirus
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Welcome to Monday's Overnight Health Care, where it was Budget Day! We'll start by diving right into the budget. The key takeaway...

 

Trump budget calls for cutting Medicaid, ACA by about $1 trillion

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Ohio governor tests negative in second coronavirus test MORE's proposed budget includes about $1 trillion in cuts to Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act over a decade. That includes:

  • $844 billion over 10 years in cuts from the "President's health reform vision," a stand-in for the repeal and replacement of ObamaCare. 
  • More than $150 billion in additional cuts from implementing mandatory Medicaid work requirements, which would result in some people losing coverage if they did not meet the requirements. State attempts to implement work requirements have been blocked by federal courts. 

Flashback: "I'm not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid," Trump said in 2015, adding.

Dems pounce: "Americans' quality, affordable health care will never be safe with President Trump," Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCoronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame On The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS Top Democrats say postmaster confirmed changes to mail service amid delays MORE (D-Calif.) said in a statement on the budget proposal. 

Look for Democrats to highlight these proposed cuts in the campaign. 

A different story on Medicare: The budget also calls for about $600 billion in savings from Medicare, according to Marc Goldwein, senior vice president at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. 

Despite Democratic attacks on Trump on Monday for cutting Medicare, most of those savings come from cuts to Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals that would actually lead to reduced costs for seniors, Goldwein said. Administration officials stressed there are no cuts to Medicare benefits. 

Read more here

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Also in the budget request: Trump proposes removing tobacco control from the FDA's purview 

The Trump administration on Monday proposed creating a new federal agency to regulate tobacco products while removing that authority from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

The White House's budget request for the upcoming fiscal year proposes making the Center for Tobacco Products independent of the FDA, with a director to be confirmed by the Senate. 

"A new agency with the singular mission on tobacco and its impact on public health would have greater capacity to respond strategically to the growing complexity of new tobacco products," the budget request reads. 

"In addition, this reorganization would allow the FDA Commissioner to focus on its traditional mission of ensuring the safety of the Nation's food and medical products supply," it continues. 

Context: The new agency would still be under the purview of the Department of Health and Human Services. The president's budget request is just a proposal and is unlikely to pass Congress in its current form. The idea of removing FDA's tobacco regulation authority, which was granted to the agency in a 2009 law passed by Congress, does not have broad support among lawmakers. 

Flashback: The proposal immediately reminded us of comments made last year by Joe Grogran, head of the White House Domestic Policy Council, in which he said tobacco regulation is a "huge waste of time" for the FDA. Seems like this item came straight from his influence. 

Read more here.

 

Anti-abortion group backs Loeffler's election campaign after opposing her Senate appointment

A key anti-abortion group is backing Sen. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerThe Hill's Campaign Report: COVID-19 puts conventions in flux  Sabato's Crystal Ball shifts Iowa Senate race to 'toss-up,' Georgia toward GOP Loeffler knocks WNBA players for wearing shirts backing Democratic challenger MORE's (R-Ga.) election campaign after opposing her appointment to the Senate last year. 

Loeffler was appointed by Georgia's Republican governor to replace former Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonSabato's Crystal Ball shifts Iowa Senate race to 'toss-up,' Georgia toward GOP WNBA players wear 'Vote Warnock' shirts in support of Loeffler Democratic challenger Trump and Biden tied in Georgia: poll MORE (R), who retired in December. 

The decision was opposed by the Susan B. Anthony List, who viewed Loeffler as not supportive of restrictions on abortion. 

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But on Monday the group endorsed Loeffler, calling her a "strong pro-life, pro-woman leader." 

"Her voice is needed in the Senate more than ever at this pivotal moment," said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. 

Why the switch?: Dannenfelser cited Loeffler's decision to co-sponsor three anti-abortion bills in the Senate, including one that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. 

Read more here.

 

Maryland will ban disposable e-cigarettes exempt from Trump policy

Maryland will become the first state to ban all flavors of disposable e-cigarettes except for tobacco and menthol, the state's comptroller announced Monday.

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Comptroller Peter Franchot (D), who is planning to run for governor in 2022, said the policy will close a loophole in the Trump administration's limited e-cigarette flavor ban.

The administration's flavored vaping product guidance, which took effect last week, banned popular cartridge-based fruit and mint flavors but not tobacco and menthol. Disposable e-cigarettes -- sold under brand names like Puff Bar, blu and Stig, with flavors like mango, pink lemonade and O.M.G., a mixture of orange, mango and guava -- remain available.

"I will not stand idly by letting kids get addicted to nicotine and hurt by these unregulated products that are marketed directly towards them," Franchot said in a statement.

Read more here.

 

Lawmakers frustrated with lack of emergency funds for coronavirus

The Trump administration does not plan to request emergency funding from Congress to respond to the coronavirus, frustrating lawmakers and experts who argue it is better to be overprepared than underprepared for a potential pandemic.

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While only 12 cases of the coronavirus have been detected in the U.S., extra funding is needed now to help federal, state and local health officials prepare for the worst and monitor potential cases, they argue.

But Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Friday it is too early to talk about requesting emergency funding from Congress.

"It's premature to be talking about any additional needs for money at this point. There are still so many unknowns about the situation," Azar told reporters, noting that two of the 12 patients in the U.S. have already completed treatment.

Why it matters: The CDC is operating on $105 million from an infectious disease rapid response fund, and its parent agency -- the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) -- told Congress this week it may transfer up to $136 million from the National Institutes of Health and the Administration for Children and Families to boost funding for the coronavirus response.

HHS told Congress on Sunday it expects to use $66 million for its initial response. Meanwhile, local health departments are already incurring additional costs, even in areas where there are no confirmed cases. But Azar did not indicate Friday that HHS would provide more funds to local health departments preparing for and responding to the virus. 

Read more here

 

What we're reading

How lifesaving organs for transplant go missing in transit (Kaiser Health News)

Mask-clad Xi Jinping emerges from conspicuous absence to visit coronavirus 'front line' (Washington Post)

The vodka trial: In search of a treatment for vocal disorders, a researcher puts patient anecdotes to the test (Stat)

 

State by state

Utah sends employees to Mexico for lower prescription prices (Associated Press)

Pennsylvania sues Juul, demands ban on maker's vaping products (Philadelphia Inquirer

Texas hospitals could lose $11 billion a year with proposed Medicaid change (Houston Chronicle)

Lobbying group launches ad campaign to support Maine's new vaccine law (Portland Press Herald)

How some states are taking unusual action to lower prescription drug prices (Fox News)