Overnight Health Care: Democratic gains mark setback for Trump on Medicaid work requirements | Senate Dems give Warren 'Medicare for All' plan the cold shoulder | Judge strikes Trump rule on health care 'conscience' rights

Welcome to Wednesday’s Overnight Health Care. White House adviser Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayOvernight Health Care: Democratic gains mark setback for Trump on Medicaid work requirements | Senate Dems give Warren ‘Medicare for All’ plan the cold shoulder | Judge strikes Trump rule on health care ‘conscience’ rights George Conway: Giuliani tweet ‘by itself establishes’ that Trump ‘committed an impeachable offense’ White House to add two aides to lead impeachment messaging MORE made some cryptic comments about vaping today and the first enrollment numbers are in from healthcare.gov. But first, we took a look at what yesterday’s wins for Democrats in Kentucky and Virginia mean for Medicaid work requirements…

 

Democratic gains mark setback for Trump on Medicaid work requirements

Democratic victories in Tuesday’s elections marked a significant setback for the Trump administration’s efforts to impose Medicaid work requirements at the state level.

By flipping the legislature in Virginia, coupled with an apparent win in Kentucky’s gubernatorial race, Democrats can now block GOP plans to tie Medicaid benefits to employment.

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“In my first week in office, I’m going to rescind this governor’s Medicaid waiver,” Andy Beshear (D), who has claimed victory in the Kentucky governor’s race against incumbent Matt Bevin (R), told supporters Tuesday night. “Health care is a basic human right and my administration will treat it as such.”  

State of play: Beshear can rescind Kentucky’s waiver as soon as he takes office. While work requirements there have been blocked by a federal court, Bevin has vowed to keep defending them. In Virginia, Democrats also won control of the Virginia legislature Tuesday night, paving the way for Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to scrap the state’s proposed work requirements.  

“The governor is looking at all options moving forward — it’s pretty clear from the results last night that Virginians want more access to healthcare, not less,” Northam’s office told The Hill on Wednesday. 

Read more on the changes ahead here. 

 

Democrats give Warren’s ‘Medicare for All’ plan the cold shoulder

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden allies see boost in Tuesday’s election results Sanders vows to end Trump’s policies as he unveils immigration proposal Trump rails against House Democrats, impeachment inquiry during campaign rally: ‘It’s all a hoax’ MORE‘s Medicare for All plan is the talk of the Democratic presidential primary, but it might not be going anywhere in the Senate even if she wins. 

Some Democratic senators said flatly that they would not vote for Warren’s plan if she were president in 2021. 

“No, I wouldn’t; I’ve said consistently that I am not for Medicare for All,” said Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who faces a tough reelection race next year.

Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezFairness, tradition, and the Constitution demand the ‘whistleblower’ step forward Isolationism creeps back over America, as the president looks out for himself McConnell sends warning shot on Turkey sanctions after House vote MORE (D-N.J.) said “not as I understand it” when asked if he would vote for Warren’s plan.

Asked if he would vote for Warren’s plan in 2021, Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinOvernight Health Care: Democratic gains mark setback for Trump on Medicaid work requirements | Senate Dems give Warren ‘Medicare for All’ plan the cold shoulder | Judge strikes Trump rule on health care ‘conscience’ rights Democrats give Warren’s ‘Medicare for All’ plan the cold shoulder Former NAACP president to run for Cummings’s House seat MORE (D-Md.) doubted it would come up for a vote at all.

“I don’t know that we’ll have a chance to do that; I think we’ll take up our own proposals,” he said. “I’m for universal coverage, I’m for building on the Affordable Care Act. My preference is to move forward on a public option.”

Context: Even many mainstream Senate Democrats are not comfortable with full-scale Medicare for All, including its elimination of private insurance and the trillions of dollars it would need in tax increases. They prefer an optional government-run insurance plan. Even that could be a tough lift in 2021 and would certainly at least require Democrats to win back both the Senate and White House. 

Read more here.

 

Judge strikes down Trump rule on health care ‘conscience’ rights

There was another legal setback for the Trump administration on health care today.

A federal judge in New York on Wednesday struck down a Trump administration rule that would make it easier for health care providers to refuse to perform services, such as abortions, that conflict with their religious beliefs. 

District Judge Paul Engelmayer invalidated the rule on multiple grounds, including a finding that it violated the Constitution’s spending clause by allowing the administration to cut off funds approved by Congress to providers who do not comply with the rule by forcing employees to perform services to which they object. 

A number of states, including New York, as well as Planned Parenthood and other groups had sued over the rule, which was scheduled to go into effect on Nov. 22. 

They argued the rule would allow for discrimination in the name of religious freedom. 

Read more here. 

 

ObamaCare enrollment reaches 177,000 in first two days of enrollment period

More than 177,000 people signed up for ObamaCare plans during the first two days of open enrollment, according to numbers released Wednesday by the Trump administration.

Nov. 1 marked the first day of open enrollment on healthcare.gov, the federal government’s enrollment platform used by 38 states.

Of the 177,082 people who selected plans on healthcare.gov Friday and Saturday, nearly 49,000 were new customers.

During the first week of open enrollment last year — which spanned three days instead of two — 371,676 people signed up. 

Enrollment numbers are likely slightly lower this year due to technical issues that occurred on the site Friday, according to a statement from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which manages ObamaCare enrollment.

“On the first day of Open Enrollment, some consumers received error messages, which have been addressed,” the statement reads. “CMS is committed to ensuring consumers who want to enroll in coverage through the Federal Health Insurance Exchange have a seamless enrollment experience.”

Read more on the early numbers here.

 

Conway points at new vaping data showing kids don’t like menthol 

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden allies see boost in Tuesday’s election results Sanders vows to end Trump’s policies as he unveils immigration proposal Republicans warn election results are ‘wake-up call’ for Trump MORE, pointed at new data Wednesday showing teens who vape prefer mint and fruit flavors over menthol. 

“Kids report they use mint and other flavors like mango, bubblegum, tutti fruit, unicorn milk… and that they don’t care for menthol, which of course many smokers — I’m not one — say tastes like tobacco,” Conway told reporters Wednesday at the White House.

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to ban the sale of flavored vaping products as part of its crack down on underage e-cigarette use.

Conway’s comments come amid speculation that the FDA will exclude menthol flavors from the ban after facing blowback from pro-vaping advocates.

But asked by reporters if it’s fair to assume that the ban will exclude menthol, she said no and that Trump would make an announcement “very soon.” 

The data in question, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed mint was the most popular flavor among 12th and 10th graders who used Juul in 2019, while menthol was one of the least popular flavors. 

But public health groups argue kids will just switch to menthol if the FDA allows it to be sold on the market. 

“These findings underscore why the Trump Administration must stand strong and implement its plan to clear the market of all flavored e-cigarettes. If menthol or any other flavors are left on the market, the evidence is clear that kids will move to them and this epidemic will continue,” Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said yesterday.

 

What we’re reading

Republicans and ‘Medicare for All’ Democrats should stop sabotaging ObamaCare, Delaware senator says (CNBC) 

Couple blindsided by $11,000 surprise medical bill. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself (Good Morning America) 

Warren Has Her Plan. Buttigieg Suggests Another Way to Cut Health Prices. (The New York Times)

 

State by state

Massachusetts uses fear of public scrutiny to secure deeper Medicaid discounts from drugmakers (WBUR) 

Florida health advocates speak out about possible cuts to the Medicaid disability program in favor of Medicaid expansion (WMNF) 

While courts decide abortion bans, Ohio Senate passes ‘abortion reversal’ and ‘born alive’ bills (Cincinatti Enquirer) 

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