Overnight Health Care: Medicare for all push worries centrist Dems | New call to fix ObamaCare markets | House panel plans hearing on lowering health costs | CDC worries HIV prevention has ‘stalled’
Welcome to Wednesday’s Overnight Health Care.
Today a look at a clear division in the Democratic party. Progressive House Democrats officially introduced their Medicare for all bill today, but moderates want to revive ObamaCare stabilization legislation.
Push for ‘Medicare for all’ worries centrist Dems.
Progressive House Democrats formally introduced their Medicare for all bill on Wednesday, but centrist Democrats are pushing back.
“We’ve got extremists who want to shoot the moon. Some policies would be wonderful, but you’re not going to get them out of the Senate and you’re not going to get them out of the White House,” said one House Democrat who represents a district won by Trump in 2016 and who wants the new Congress to tackle drug pricing first.
Divide on whether to go big: Some Democrats want to focus on smaller measures they think have more of a chance of actually passing, while the progressives say they simply need grassroots pressure around big policies they say are popular among the American people.
“My strong preference is to do what can be done, which is something that can garner enough support to actually pass. We know that is not going to be a transformation of our health care system, although there are strong arguments for attempting that in the coming years,” Rep. Tom MalinowskiThomas (Tom) MalinowskiDemocrats call for Pelosi to cut recess short to address white nationalism House votes to kill impeachment effort against Trump The four Republicans who voted to condemn Trump’s tweets MORE (D-N.J.) told The Hill.
Centrist Dems laid out their own health care goals for the new Congress Wednesday.
A spokesperson for the New Democrat Coalition said it was not timed to coincide with the Medicare for all introduction.
The caucus of 101 moderate Democrats in the House wants to revive ObamaCare stabilization talks, focusing on a national reinsurance plan and insurer subsidies.
“I feel that we were this close to getting something across the finish line,” said Rep. Kurt SchraderWalter (Kurt) Kurt SchraderThe Hill’s Morning Report: Trump walks back from ‘send her back’ chants House approves bill raising minimum wage to per hour GOP scores procedural win by securing more funding to enforce Iran sanctions MORE (D-Ore.), a member of the task force, referring to legislation sponsored by Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderThe Hill’s Morning Report – How will Trump be received in Dayton and El Paso? McConnell faces pressure to bring Senate back for gun legislation Criminal justice reform should extend to student financial aid MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayThe Hill’s Morning Report – Progressives, centrists clash in lively Democratic debate Schumer backs Pelosi as impeachment roils caucus Schumer backs up Pelosi’s resistance to impeachment inquiry MORE (D-Wash.) that would have funded reinsurance and insurer subsidies.
Talks between Republicans and Democrats broke down last time over a disagreement about the bill’s treatment of abortion coverage.
“Now that the ideas have been socialized, we know where the problems may be, we can actually go ahead and get this done,” Schrader said.
The idea is that stabilizing ObamaCare could bring down health care costs and might have a better chance of passing a Republican Senate than something like Medicare for all.
“This is something that can be done this session, knowing that we can pass bills in the Democratic House, but we have to contend with a Republican Senate, and with a Republican president,” said Rep. Annie Kuster (D-N.H.)
Not so fast: Senate health chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said Wednesday, during an event hosted by The Atlantic, that he’s done trying to fix ObamaCare.
“As a Republican legislator, I look at where I can get a result… We’ve proved over eight years it’s hard to do that on ObamaCare.”
Alexander would rather focus on passing some form of reducing health care costs in some capacity by the summer.
He said he’s been meeting Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyHere’s how senators can overcome their hyperpartisanship with judicial nominees FBI briefs lawmakers on Texas, Ohio mass shootings Senate Dems urge Mnuchin not to cut capital gains taxes MORE (R-Iowa) and ranking member Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenDemocrats give cold shoulder to Warren wealth tax Senate Dems urge Mnuchin not to cut capital gains taxes Conservatives buck Trump over worries of ‘socialist’ drug pricing MORE (D-Ore.) to try to find “one or two big things, or eight or ten small things” they can pass through the Senate to reduce health care costs.
He suggested eliminating the rebates drug companies give insurers and creating more transparency in health care pricing as two options.
“It’s actually often easier in a divided Congress to get a result,” Alexander said, adding that he has met with Energy & Commerce’s new chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) about bipartisan health care proposals.
Related? The Energy & Commerce Committee just announced a March 6 hearing on how to make health care ‘more affordable and accessible.’
“Next week, the Health Subcommittee will hold our second legislative hearing on several bills that will reduce consumers’ costs and improve Americans’ access to health care,” Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and health subcommittee chairwoman Anna EshooAnna Georges EshooOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Planned Parenthood ousts its president | Harris releases drug pricing plan | House Dem drug plan delayed until after recess Democratic chair: Medicare negotiating drug prices not moving before August House bill targets use of Pentagon networks for child pornography MORE (D-Calif.) said in a statement.
“These legislative proposals are an important part of our commitment to lowering costs and putting an end to the Trump Administration’s ongoing efforts to sabotage the nation’s health care system.”
Efforts to prevent HIV have stalled since 2013, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday.
Analysis of HIV trends from 2010 to 2016, the most recent data available, shows that the number of HIV infections began to plateau in 2013 at about 39,000 infections per year.
Eugene McCray, director of the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, framed the report as evidence the campaign is needed.
“After a decades-long struggle, the path to eliminate America’s HIV epidemic is clear,” McCray said in a statement. “Expanding efforts across the country will close gaps, overcome threats, and turn around troublesome trends.”
FDA chief weighs in on e-cigarettes, tobacco age.
During a House appropriations subcommittee hearing Wednesday, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said teen e-cigarette use “is one of the biggest public health challenges we face at the agency.” He also said he supports raising the minimum age for tobacco purchase to 21.
Gottlieb said raising the minimum age would help the agency deal with the “epidemic” of teen e-cigarette use. He noted it’s not just 14 and 15-year-olds walking into stores and buying those products; it’s enterprising 18-year-olds buying them legally, and then selling them back to younger children at school.
Gottlieb added that the agency will soon be issuing guidance to require much more stringent age verification for online sales of flavored e-cigarette products. FDA is battling a massive surge in teen vaping and trying to find ways to regulate the products. Vaping increased 78 percent among high schoolers and 48 percent among middle schoolers since last year, according to federal data.
The Hill event
On Wednesday, March 6th, The Hill hosts “Overcoming Obstacles: Patient Access to Innovation” at the Newseum. Speakers include FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and Matt Salo, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors. Editor-in-Chief Bob Cusack and Peter Sullivan will sit down with our speakers and moderate a series of discussions about keeping the patient at the center of the drug delivery system. RSVP here.
What we’re reading:
For Novartis, the Michael Cohen affair just won’t stay dead (Stat)
Health insurers sink as Medicare for all legislation gains traction (Bloomberg)
‘Miraculous’ stem cell therapy has sicken people in five states (The Washington Post)
State by state
Thousands in Louisiana have until March to prove Medicaid eligibility (Associated Press)
Anti-abortion ‘heartbeat bill’ gains more support in Texas House (Houston Chronicle)
Texas lawmaker says he’s not worried about measles outbreaks because of ‘antibiotics’ (USA Today)
From The Hill’s opinion page