Republicans are preserving well being care at arms size this election

Completely satisfied Friday y’all. We love waffle, however we have some questions for Surgeon Basic Vivek Murthy. Ship us your unpopular takes: [email protected]

Immediately’s version: The Justice Division says it is going to defend Veterans Affairs medical staff who carry out an abortion in sure cases. A choose in Indiana quickly blocked the state’s near-total ban on abortion. However first … 

Republicans are staying obscure on well being coverage within the midterms


Republicans have spent loads of elections promising to ditch Obamacare and overhaul the U.S. health-care system. Not anymore. 

When Home Minority Chief Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) formally rolls out his marketing campaign season agenda right this moment at an occasion in Pennsylvania, it is going to be gentle on well being coverage particulars. The one-page document — known as a “Commitment to America” — is obscure, pointing to broad concepts like value transparency and competitors, as an alternative of a daring imaginative and prescient for the way forward for well being reform.

That’s by design. As one conservative well being professional put it, the GOP nonetheless has “PTSD” from its failed effort in 2017 to repeal and substitute the Reasonably priced Care Act.


Well being care has repeatedly proven to be a poisonous problem for Republicans. In simply the final couple of months, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) walked back comments suggesting he needs to see Republicans take one other crack at repealing Obamacare; Don Bolduc, New Hampshire’s GOP Senate nominee, backtracked after saying he’d prefer to privatize Medicare; and the marketing campaign of Blake Masters, Republican candidate in Arizona, removed references to strict antiabortion positions from his web site.

Roughly 77 % of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters say well being care is “very important” to their vote within the 2022 congressional election. However simply 43 % of Republican and Republican-leaning voters agree. And Democrats not too long ago handed a well-liked well being measure permitting Medicare to barter the costs of some medication, which polls show a broad swath of voters assist.


  • “Democrats have historically maintained a sizable advantage on the issue of health care,” mentioned Ken Spain, who labored on the Nationwide Republican Congressional Committee in 2010, the yr the GOP gained the bulk. “For the midterm elections, Republicans don’t have to win on the issue … but they cannot get destroyed over it. They must find a way to close the gap and the key to doing so is by talking about cost and quality of care.”

Home Republicans’ messaging memo went up on-line yesterday. (Properly, it unintentionally printed Wednesday, however was taken down). Right here’s what the doc says on well being:

  • “Personalize care” in order to supply cheaper and better high quality choices.
  • Decrease costs by transparency and competitors, create “lifesaving” cures and enhance entry to telemedicine.
  • “Save and strengthen” Medicare.
  • “Protect the lives of unborn children and their mothers.”

Saying extra competitors and selection is the simple half, mentioned Thomas Miller, a senior fellow on the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative-leaning suppose tank. “The harder complication is figuring out what policies get you there.”

The doc is purposely brief on specifics in all coverage areas, an acknowledgment that the broader conference is split on which legislative proposals can be finest for numerous points, our colleagues Marianna Sotomayor and Leigh Ann Caldwell report.

However staying obscure on well being coverage doubtless gained’t matter for the midterm elections, the place Republicans are as an alternative hammering Democrats on crime, inflation and gasoline costs. “They’re not going to win those extra voters or even turn out their base by saying something more elaborately or energetically about health policy,” Miller mentioned. “At the same time, say the wrong thing, you don’t understand what you’re talking about, and it could be a liability, so why bother to do that.” 

On abortion, the memo additionally isn’t prescriptive. There’s no point out of nationwide restrictions on the process, which comes after many within the Senate balked at the idea of a federal 15-week restrict final week. 

Final yr, McCarthy unveiled seven task forces charged with crafting insurance policies on numerous points. Reps. Brett Guthrie (Ky.) and Vern Buchanan (Fla.) — the highest Republicans on the Power and Commerce and Methods and Means well being subcommittees, respectively — have been charged with overseeing the 17-member well being group.

Although McCarthy’s memo launched yesterday was obscure, what the duty pressure drummed up might forecast the insurance policies GOP-led well being panels could pursue. It included the sweeping Republican precedence of investigating the origin of covid-19. However the proposals additionally consisted of an array of wonkier, extra incremental insurance policies, like codifying rules requiring hospitals and insurers disclose their costs, setting data standards for digital well being data and making clinical trials extra broadly accessible.

In an interview, Guthrie additionally pointed to Democrats’ well being invoice, arguing it is going to result in fewer modern drug therapies, one other doubtless marketing campaign goal. He insisted Republicans would nonetheless run on well being care, with the message of “we want people to have a personalized health-care system,” though conceded “it’s hard to explain that in just a few minutes.”

We want to hear from you: What does aging mean to you?  The Post is working on a special section next month on “aging well,” however how do you outline that phrase? What qualifies as ageing nicely vs. ageing poorly? Tell us here.

DOJ: States can’t penalize VA medical staff for federally licensed abortions

The Justice Division vowed to protect Veterans Affairs medical staff who carry out abortion providers to save lots of a affected person’s life, shield their well being or in cases when the being pregnant is a results of rape or incest — even when that abortion is carried out in a state the place the process is unlawful in these circumstances, The Submit’s Perry Stein experiences.

Officers in Alabama have already threatened to punish VA staff who carry out abortions, arguing it will violate state regulation. However in an internal government opinion posted yesterday, the Justice Division’s attorneys mentioned that the VA’s new coverage allowing staff to supply abortion providers to veterans and their eligible relations is legally sound and might proceed. 

The slender coverage underscores simply how few authorized instruments the Biden administration has to shore up the nation’s abortion entry in a post-Roe world. On this case, the administration argues that the Veterans Well being Administration has a federally mandated obligation to supply correct medical care to the nation’s veterans. Limiting abortion entry, based on the opinion, in these circumstances would forestall VA amenities from offering essential medical care to its sufferers.

Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Sick.) on the VA’s new abortion coverage:

Indiana choose quickly blocks near-total abortion ban

A choose in Indiana temporarily blocked the state’s new ban on virtually all abortions per week after it took impact, our colleague Katie Shepherd experiences. 

A preliminary injunction granted by Owen County Choose Kelsey Hanlon paused enforcement of the ban, which prohibits most abortions from conception with few exceptions, whereas a authorized problem towards the regulation winds its manner by the courts. In consequence, suppliers can as soon as once more supply the process as much as 22 weeks after the final menstrual cycle.

Within the court’s opinion, Hanlon discovered that Deliberate Parenthood and different plaintiffs within the case had demonstrated a “reasonable likelihood” that the ban imposes a “significant restriction of personal autonomy” that violates the Indiana Structure’s proper to privateness and equal protections. The state’s Lawyer Basic Todd Rokita (R) mentioned yesterday that his workplace plans to appeal Hanlon’s determination. 

Caitlin Bernard, an Indiana OB-GYN on the heart of a viral story a few 10-year-old rape sufferer:

Avoiding pink slips: Leaders of the Senate and Home well being panels reached an settlement on a deal to resume the Meals and Drug Administration’s person charges, which fund a good portion of the company’s funds, based on a number of congressional aides.

The settlement has some coverage riders however is “practically clean,” as an aide to Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the chair of the Senate HELP Committee, put it. The thought is to hitch the five-year reauthorization onto a stopgap spending invoice to maintain the federal government’s lights on previous the top of the month and keep away from the prospect of sending furlough notices to FDA workers.

However there’s a wrinkle. Senate Minority Chief Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) helps a clear person payment invoice with out “extraneous items,” which means social gathering leaders might want to type out whether or not all of the coverage riders are stripped from the laws. Politico first reported the information.

Shock! Texas Medical Affiliation sues over shock billing rule … once more

The Texas Medical Affiliation filed its second lawsuit in lower than a yr towards sure parts of a rule establishing the method for resolving disputes between insurers and suppliers over “surprise” medical payments.

The lawsuit comes days after the American Medical Affiliation and the American Hospital Affiliation dropped their first legal challenge to the interim rule, which turned moot when the administration launched a revised final rule governing the federal shock billing arbitration course of on Aug. 26. Each the AMA and the AHA assist the brand new Texas lawsuit.

The problem revolves round fee disputes over stopping insured sufferers from getting slapped with hefty payments for inadvertently getting care from an out-of-network supplier. The Biden administration’s rulemaking has been divisive even amongst those that drafted the regulation, and the Texas Medical Affiliation is arguing the brand new regulation “unfairly” benefits insurers.

  • New this a.m.: The Biden administration introduced new actions and funding to deal with the opioid epidemic and assist the nation’s habit providers, together with $1.5 billion in grants to states and territories.
  • A federal watchdog discovered that fraudsters may have stolen $45.6 billion from the nation’s unemployment insurance coverage program in the course of the pandemic, our colleague Tony Romm writes.
  • By a vote of 56-40, the Senate confirmed Arati Prabhakar to be director of the Workplace of Science and Expertise coverage.
  • The Facilities for Medicare and Medicaid Providers approved a 12-month extension of postpartum Medicaid protection in North Carolina.

Health apps share your concerns with advertisers. HIPAA can’t stop it. (By Tatum Hunter and Jeremy B. Merrill | The Washington Post)

Biotech aims to detect cancer early. But tests have a long way to go. (By Pranshu Verma | The Washington Post)

Some Who Rushed to Covid-19 Vaccine Hold Off on Boosters (By Jared S. Hopkins | The Wall Street Journal)

Thanks for studying! See y’all Monday.

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