U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is clinging to power, and all eyes are on Larry the Cat, Downing Street’s chief mouser who may hold the key to the PM’s future.
Today in health care, the “go vote” message on abortion from top Democrats may be falling flat.
Welcome to Overnight Health Care, where we’re following the latest moves on policy and news affecting your health. For The Hill, we’re Peter Sullivan, Nathaniel Weixel and Joseph Choi. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.
Why Dems’ message on abortion is falling flat
Voters are becoming disillusioned by Democrats’ calls to storm the polls following Roe v. Wade’s demise, arguing the party’s failure to prepare for the moment means it could face an unpleasant fate in November.
Almost from the moment the Supreme Court announced it was ending the constitutional right to an abortion, Democrats began working to make it a midterm issue, presenting a vote for their side as a way to help codify Roe at the state and perhaps federal level — or at least prevent Republicans from doing the opposite.
But that message is already falling flat. Frustration with the lack of progress on many women’s issues and what some see as a lack of a clear vision on abortion have left voters skeptical that the solution lies at the ballot box.
“Here we are with leadership basically [reduced] to begging for people to vote,” said Aaron Chappell, political director of the grassroots group Our Revolution. “No clear plan, no promises of what those votes will translate to.”
“The people chanting ‘just vote blue’ make me lowkey want to die,” said another disgruntled operative involved with strategy for progressive candidates. “It’s nuts.”
How it’s playing in campaigns:
- Sen. Maggie Hassan’s (D-N.H.) campaign became the first to launch a television advertisement on the issue since the Supreme Court decision last month.
- In Florida, Rep. Val Demings (D), who is challenging incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), rolled out a digital hitting him over his abortion stance.
- On Thursday, Planned Parenthood Votes launched a $3 million television campaign in Pennsylvania hitting GOP Senate nominee Mehmet Oz over his anti-abortion stance.
Read more here.
Dem drug pricing bill removes insulin cost cap
Senate Democrats have a revised drug pricing bill, and it doesn’t include a key insulin provision from prior versions.
The latest bill to lower prescription drug prices removes a provision to cap patients’ insulin costs at $35 per month, amid a push for a separate bipartisan bill on insulin.
Capping out-of-pocket insulin costs at $35 per month has been a high-profile selling point for Democrats’ economic package and has been touted by President Biden, so removing it carries some risk.
Alternate path to passage? The provision is part of a separate bipartisan bill from Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), which is moving forward and could get a vote in the Senate this month.
The obstacle: The Shaheen-Collins bill will require support from at least 10 Republican senators in order to clear a filibuster and pass. By contrast, the Democratic-only drug pricing measure is part of Biden’s economic package, which uses a process known as reconciliation to bypass a GOP filibuster, meaning it can pass with only 50 Democratic votes.
It is therefore unclear if going the bipartisan route on capping insulin costs will result in the measure being blocked by Republicans and not becoming law.
Read more here.
FDA TEMPORARILY SUSPENDS ORDER BANNING SALES OF JUUL
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday night announced it had temporarily suspended its ban on sales of the popular e-cigarette maker Juul just weeks after its products were ordered to be removed from the market.
“On July 5, 2022, FDA administratively stayed the marketing denial order,” the agency’s tobacco division said. “The agency has determined that there are scientific issues unique to the JUUL application that warrant additional review.”
The move was first announced in a tweet on Tuesday evening, though FDA noted the move did not rescind the marketing denial.
“This administrative stay temporarily suspends the marketing denial order during the additional review but does not rescind it,” FDA said. “The stay and the agency’s review does not constitute authorization to market, sell, or ship JUUL products.”
A federal appeals court temporarily blocked the FDA ban on Juul one day after it was issued, granting the e-cigarette maker’s request for a stay. Juul has also filed for a longer-term appeal of FDA’s ruling.
Read more here.
FDA TO ALLOW PHARMACISTS TO PRESCRIBE PAXLOVID IN SOME CASES
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday issued a revision to its emergency use authorization (EUA) for Pfizer’s COVID-19 antiviral Paxlovid that will allow pharmacists to prescribe the treatment with certain limitations.
Under the original EUA from the FDA, only physicians, advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants were permitted to prescribe Paxlovid to patients.
The FDA said in its announcement that state-licensed pharmacists would now be able to prescribe Paxlovid, meaning many more pharmacy locations will now be able to provide coronavirus antivirals to patient sooner.
According to the FDA’s revised authorization, people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are seeking antiviral treatment should bring pharmacists their “electronic or printed health records less than 12 months old,” “the most recent reports of laboratory blood work” and a list of current medications they are taking so pharmacists can be aware of possible drug interactions.
The initial exclusion of pharmacists from the providers able to prescribe the antiviral treatment was a point of contention in the White House’s “Test to Treat” initiative, with pharmacists arguing that leaving them out severely limited the initiative’s effectiveness.
Read more here.
Commercial labs to begin monkeypox testing, CDC says
Labcorp, one of the largest commercial laboratory testing networks in the U.S., will begin testing for monkeypox on Wednesday as the recent outbreak continues to spread.
Labcorp will begin conducting tests using orthopoxvirus tests from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Orthopoxvirus is the genus of viruses that includes pathogens like smallpox, cowpox and monkeypox.
The CDC’s tests detect all non-smallpox orthopoxviruses, and Labcorp will eventually have the capacity to conduct around 10,000 daily, according to the company.
Labcorp Chief Medical Officer Brian Caveney said in a statement that all tests will initially be performed in the company’s largest facility in North Carolina and that testing will expand to other locations if the need arises. The company will accept samples from anywhere in the country.
A clearer picture: This announcement comes as the number of detected monkeypox cases in the U.S. continues to rise, with many cases almost certainly going underreported due to the lack of testing capabilities.
“The ability of commercial labs to test for monkeypox is a key pillar in our comprehensive strategy to combat this disease,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.
“This will not only increase testing capacity but will make it more convenient for providers and patients to access tests by using existing provider-to-lab relationships,” Walensky said.
Read more here.
WHAT WE’RE READING
- Lesions, headaches, debilitating pain: Gay men with monkeypox share their stories (NBC News)
- Pediatric COVID-19 cases rising for 1st time since May (ABC News)
- ‘Free’ screening? know your rights to get no-cost care (Kaiser Health News)
STATE BY STATE
- Scramble as last Mississippi abortion clinic shuts its doors (Associated Press)
- LSU Health’s New Orleans lab says it has discovered two new Omicron subvariants (KSLA)
- Nebraska medical marijuana campaign seeking 5,000 more signatures before Thursday (Omaha World-Herald)
THE HILL OP-EDS
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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