Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders welcomes fight with Trump over 'Medicare for all' | DOJ attorney in ObamaCare case leaving | NYC mayor defends vaccination mandate | Ohio gov signs 'heartbeat' abortion bill

Welcome to Thursday’s Overnight Health Care.

The House and Senate have officially left the Capitol for the next two weeks for an extended recess. But in the meantime, Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersHillicon Valley: Assange faces US charges after arrest | Trump says WikiLeaks ‘not my thing’ | Uber officially files to go public | Bezos challenges retail rivals on wages | Kremlin tightens its control over internet Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders welcomes fight with Trump over ‘Medicare for all’ | DOJ attorney in ObamaCare case leaving | NYC mayor defends vaccination mandate | Ohio gov signs ‘heartbeat’ abortion bill Former DNC chairman endorses Buttigieg for president MORE is telling the White House he would relish a fight over Medicare for all, and a top attorney representing the Trump administration in the ObamaCare lawsuit is leaving the Justice Department.

We’ll start with Bernie…

 

Sanders campaign to Trump: ‘We welcome this fight’ on ‘Medicare for all’

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is not backing down from the fight over Medicare for all, a day after the White House attacked him for it.

“This campaign’s message to Trump is simple: we welcome this fight because we are going to defeat you in the election and guarantee health care as a right to all people,” Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir said in a statement.

The takeaway: Health care will be center stage in 2020. Republicans think attacking Medicare for all is a winning message, but Sanders thinks touting it is a good strategy. And many other Democratic candidates are on board with his bill too, including Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders welcomes fight with Trump over ‘Medicare for all’ | DOJ attorney in ObamaCare case leaving | NYC mayor defends vaccination mandate | Ohio gov signs ‘heartbeat’ abortion bill Will Biden lead a ‘return to normalcy’ in 2020? Kamala Harris: ‘I am a gun owner’ for personal protection MORE (D-Calif.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders welcomes fight with Trump over ‘Medicare for all’ | DOJ attorney in ObamaCare case leaving | NYC mayor defends vaccination mandate | Ohio gov signs ‘heartbeat’ abortion bill Poll: Democrats evenly split on reparations Poll: Biden has double-digit lead over Dem field in Iowa MORE (D-N.J.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenJulián Castro: Presidential candidates should be required to release tax returns Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders welcomes fight with Trump over ‘Medicare for all’ | DOJ attorney in ObamaCare case leaving | NYC mayor defends vaccination mandate | Ohio gov signs ‘heartbeat’ abortion bill On The Money — Presented by Job Creators Network — Fourth GOP senator opposes Cain for Fed | Weekly jobless claims fall to lowest level since 1969 | Kudlow says Trump may allow 5B in cuts if Congress doesn’t act | Uber files for IPO MORE (D-Mass.), though some of them have also touted more incremental solutions.

“Self-proclaimed socialist Senator Bernie Sanders is proposing a total government takeover of healthcare that would actually hurt seniors, eliminate private health insurance for 180 million Americans, and cripple our economy and future generations with unprecedented debt,” the White House said on Wednesday, in response to Sanders introducing his updated bill.

Another health care divide: Democrats have also attacked Trump for backing a lawsuit seeking to overturn ObamaCare.

Trump has countered that he wants to come up with a better plan than the Affordable Care Act. The president has stated that Republicans will be the “party of health care,” but has not yet offered any specific.

Read more here on how the fight is heating up.

 

 

Top attorney representing DOJ in Texas ObamaCare case leaving the agency

Brett Shumate, the DOJ’s deputy assistant attorney general and a lead attorney in the ObamaCare lawsuit, withdrew from the lawsuit Thursday because he is leaving the agency, he wrote in a court filing.

The U.S. will continue to be represented by another DOJ attorney, he wrote in the filing.

Shumate, a political appointee, had worked at the DOJ for two years, defended some of President TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: Presidential candidates should be required to release tax returns Hillary Clinton says Assange must ‘answer for what he has done’ after arrest Herman Cain expected to withdraw from consideration for Fed: report MORE‘s most ambitious policies, including the decision to add a citizenship question to the census.

The DOJ announced last month that it would defend a lower court’s ruling that ObamaCare is unconstitutional and should be overturned.

 

Schumer: No ‘fig leaf’ on drug prices

Asked if he is optimistic Democrats can get a deal with Republicans to lower drug prices this year, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders welcomes fight with Trump over ‘Medicare for all’ | DOJ attorney in ObamaCare case leaving | NYC mayor defends vaccination mandate | Ohio gov signs ‘heartbeat’ abortion bill Dems see room for Abrams in crowded presidential field Border Dems introduce resolution condemning Trump’s closure threats MORE (N.Y.) cautioned against a “fig leaf.”

“It’s high on our agenda, whether we can reach agreement with Republicans… we’re not going to pass just a fig leaf that does nothing, it has to be real and it has to really reduce drug prices in a significant way,” Schumer told reporters on Thursday. “We would like to do that, if we can get it done in a bipartisan way, great.”

His comments come as Sens. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders welcomes fight with Trump over ‘Medicare for all’ | DOJ attorney in ObamaCare case leaving | NYC mayor defends vaccination mandate | Ohio gov signs ‘heartbeat’ abortion bill Liberals surprised by tax vote vow to kill ‘Free File’ provision Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders unveils new Medicare for all bill with backing from other 2020 Dems | White House slams Sanders’ rollout | Drugmakers, ‘middlemen’ point fingers on insulin pricing MORE (R-Iowa) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders welcomes fight with Trump over ‘Medicare for all’ | DOJ attorney in ObamaCare case leaving | NYC mayor defends vaccination mandate | Ohio gov signs ‘heartbeat’ abortion bill Overnight Energy: Bernhardt confirmed as Interior chief | Dems probing if EPA officials broke ethics rules | Senators offer bipartisan carbon capture bill David Bernhardt confirmed as new Interior chief MORE (D-Ore.), the top senators on the Senate Finance Committee, have begun discussions on drug pricing legislation.  

 

Dem presses FCC on mental health hotline

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should establish a three-digit hotline for suicide prevention and mental health crises “as soon as possible,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said Wednesday.

“Suicide rates in Oregon and across the country have steadily increased since 2000. From 2000 to 2017, Oregon’s suicide rates increased 35 percent,” Wyden said in a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. It’s clear this public health crisis is not going away, and, to put it in stark terms, the current system of help is nowhere near adequate.”

Wyden said Pai had cited progress over the hotline initiative in a December letter. In the letter, Pai said the commission was in the process of implementing the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2018, which creates a three-digit code.

More here.

 

Ohio governor signs ‘heartbeat’ abortion bill

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) on Thursday signed into law one of the country’s most stringent abortion restrictions.

The bill bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which doctors say can be as early as five or six weeks into pregnancy.

“The government’s role should be protect life from the beginning to the end … the signing of this bill today is consistent with that respect for life,” DeWine said at the signing ceremony.

DeWine’s approval breaks with his predecessor Gov. John Kasich (R), who vetoed similar bills twice while in office.

What’s next: Opponents are already vowing to sue over the restrictions.

More here.

 

NYC mayor defends vaccination mandate

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) vowed Thursday that the city would defeat a lawsuit challenging his order for people in a Brooklyn neighborhood experiencing a measles outbreak to get vaccinated or pay a $1,000 fine.

In an interview with WCBS news radio, the mayor blamed the lawsuit on efforts by anti-vaccination activists to mislead people about the supposed dangers of inoculation.

“We will beat them,” de Blasio said.

A majority Hasidic Jewish community in the Williamsburg neighborhood is suing the city over de Blasio’s order. The mayor announced the order on Tuesday, declaring a public health emergency in the neighborhood.

More on the controversy here.

 

SPONSORED CONTENT – PHARMACEUTICAL CARE MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION

PBMs serve as the check against drugmakers’ pricing strategies by negotiating for consumers and clients to ensure prescription drugs are affordable. Learn how PBMs advocate for patients and payers at OnYourRxSide.org.

 

What we’re reading

Supreme Court may get to decide fate of ObamaCare before 2020 election (CNN.com)

Chuck Grassley: Supreme Court unlikely to overturn ObamaCare, so no need to create replacement (Des Moines Register)

Bernie Sanders’s plan to blow up the filibuster and pass Medicare for all explained (Vox.com)

 

State by state

Pharma lobbyists flooded Maryland to block a drug-pricing bill. Opponents pushed back — and won. (Stat News)

Florida state lawmakers weigh Medicaid work requirements (News Service of Florida)

 

From The Hill’s op-ed page

Potential discrimination in NYC’s measles public health emergency order

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