Health Care – Biden refers to the Kansas vote and signs the abortion decision

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Today in health care, the focus was on abortion rights after Tuesday’s vote in Kansas, and President Biden signed an executive order on the issue.

Biden signs executive order on abortion travel

President Biden on Wednesday signed an executive order directing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to consider working with states to use Medicaid waivers to pay for women who cross state lines to receive abortions.

The executive order was the second Biden had signed over the past month in response to the Supreme Court’s June ruling overturning the landmark 1973 abortion decision in Roe v. Wade.

“I think Roe got it right, and that’s been the law for nearly 50 years,” Biden, who has COVID-19, said in hypothetical remarks at a meeting of an interagency task force on reproductive health care.

Biden administration officials haven’t provided many specifics about what Medicaid waivers might look like, leaving the details to HHS.

Officials said Biden’s new order clears the way for Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to call on states to apply for Section 1115 Medicaid waivers to cover some costs related to travel for abortion.

Hyde problems: The Hyde Amendment prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for most abortions, with exceptions for rape, incest and when the life of a pregnant woman is at risk. Medicaid waivers are likely to face legal challenges led by Republicans.

  • White House Press Secretary Karen Jean-Pierre insisted that the executive order did not conflict with the Hyde Amendment. She later appeared to clarify that the waivers could be used to support transportation, contraception and abortion procedures in some cases.

Read more here.

Biden: Kansas vote ‘strong signal’ for election

President Biden on Wednesday described Kansas’ vote in favor of abortion rights as a “strong signal” about the election ahead of the November midterm elections, as Democrats look to harness the energy stoked by the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Biden said in his remarks at the opening of his administration’s reproductive health care task force meeting.

The president called on Congress to re-protect Roe against Wade.

“If Congress fails to act, the people of this country need to elect Senators and Representatives who will restore Roe and protect the right to privacy, liberty and equality,” he said, in an effort to highlight the stakes of the midterm elections.

The decisive victory Abortion rights advocates against an amendment to remove abortion protections from the Kansas Constitution on Tuesday gave Democrats new hope about the electoral strength of an issue that will enter the fall.

  • Unlike the odd-numbered Kansas vote, midterm voters next November will decide on lawmakers based on a combination of factors, including inflation, that could push Democrats back.

Read more here.

Poll: Maximizing the drug price is the most common part of the reconciliation bill

The provision limiting the price of prescription drugs listed in Climate Democrats, the health care and tax deal is the most common piece of legislation, According to a new survey by Morning Consult-Politico.

The poll asked respondents to express their opinion on 12 different aspects of the reconciliation bill.

Fifty-one percent indicated that they strongly support setting limits on prescription drug prices, and 77 percent of voters said they at least somewhat support the provision, which scored as the item with the highest level of support.

The legislation would require drug companies to pay rebates if they raise current drug prices faster than inflation in the medical or private markets.

Seventy-two percent of respondents indicated support for a provision that would cap the costs to Medicare beneficiaries out of their own money for prescription drugs at $2,000 by 2025. 44 percent said they strongly support this component.

Read more here.

Progress urges inclusion of the uninsured in the insulin proposal

House Progressives are calling for leadership to include people without health insurance in any legislation that limits out-of-pocket insulin costs.

Senate Democrats are pushing to include a $35 cap on out-of-pocket insulin costs as part of a larger reconciliation bill, though it remains unclear whether such a ruling would be allowed under vague Senate rules to pass the legislation.

In a letter to bipartisan House and Senate leaders, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Triumvirate (composed of black, Latino and Asia Pacific American caucuses) said any cost savings should also apply to the uninsured.

“Failure to do so will deepen health inequalities and increase health care costs in the long run,” the lawmakers wrote.

How will it work? Lawmakers said a blanket cap on insulin costs could be achieved either by using existing Medicaid payment structures to reimburse pharmacies or by creating a fund in the Department of Health and Human Services that pays insurance providers and pharmacies.

Read more here.

Biden tested positive for the fifth day in a row after a “rebound” injury.

His doctor, Kevin O’Connor, said, in a new update, that President Biden tested positive for COVID-19 again on Wednesday, but he still feels “well.”

O’Connor said he checked on Biden Wednesday morning after the president enjoyed “light exercise” and that Biden has no fever and his vital signs remain normal.

“The president remains relieved,” O’Connor wrote in a memo released by the White House. “He still has an occasional cough, but less often than yesterday. He remains fever-free and in good spirits. His temperature, pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation remain completely normal. His lungs remain clear.”

Wednesday was the fifth consecutive day that Biden tested positive for the coronavirus in what his doctor described as a “rebound” infection seen in some patients taking the antiviral treatment Baxilovid.

Biden is expected to remain in isolation at the White House residence until he tests negative.

Read more here.

what we read

  • Music festivals embrace overdose-reversing drugs, but fentanyl test kits remain taboo (Nashville Public Radio)
  • The CDC expects to ease Covid-19 recommendations, including for schools, as soon as this week (CNN)
  • Red Cross starts screening blood donors for monkeypoxstat)

country by state

  • RI to expand monkeypox vaccination clinics, open eligibility for at-risk populations (Boston Globe)
  • Senator Johnson proposes ending Medicare and Social Security as mandatory spending programs (Washington Post)
  • Minnesota Department of Health: Adverse health events rise 33% in 2021 (KSTP)


Post Row: Women still have the right to emergency medical treatment

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s health care page For the latest news and coverage. see you tomorrow.

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