Overnight Health Care: Missouri governor steps up threats to Planned Parenthood | Louisiana passes 'heartbeat' abortion ban | Trump official who oversaw refugee children to leave post | Durbin urges FDA crackdown on e-cigs
Welcome to Wednesday’s Overnight Health Care.
Missouri’s governor accused Planned Parenthood of violating state law, Senate Minority Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate GOP vows to quickly quash any impeachment charges Senate Democrats to House: Tamp down the impeachment talk Threat of impeachment takes oxygen out of 2019 agenda MORE (D-Ill.) sounded off on his recent meeting with the acting head of the FDA, and the former head of HHS’s refugee office is leaving the administration.
We’ll start today with news from Missouri:
Missouri governor threatens state’s only abortion provider
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) on Wednesday said that the state’s sole abortion provider will be unable to perform abortions after Friday if it doesn’t comply with an ongoing investigation into potential violations of state law.
Parson said the Planned Parenthood clinic is suspected of breaking several state laws and regulations, including one that requires patients receive pelvic exams 72 hours before getting abortions.
Why it matters: The clinic’s current license to perform abortions expires Friday, and Parson said the state will not renew it unless the clinic makes five of its doctors available for interviews and resolves the issues.
The other side: Planned Parenthood says it has already made two of its doctors available for interviews, but the other five are not technically employees of the organization and haven’t consented to interviews.
President Leana Wen says the laws and regulations Planned Parenthood is accused of violating were designed to shut down abortion clinics.
“All of these regulations have only one purpose, which is to shut down the ability of health centers to provide safe, legal abortions, which is not going to stop abortion, but it will stop safe, legal abortions,” Wen said in an appearance on CBS.
What’s next: Planned Parenthood is suing the state, accusing it of illegally withholding its license renewal. Hearings that were scheduled for Wednesday were postponed until Thursday.
Read more here.
More abortion news…
Louisiana lawmakers pass ‘heartbeat’ abortion ban
The Louisiana state legislature on Wednesday approved a “heartbeat” abortion bill with no exceptions for cases of rape or incest, sending the measure to Gov. John Bel Edwards (D), NBC News reported.
The law would be among the strictest in the nation and would ban women from terminating a pregnancy once a fetal heartbeat has been detected, typically around six weeks.
The bill was passed on a 79-23 vote in the House after intense debate. The Senate had already approved the bill.
Read more here.
Trump appointee who oversaw refugee children to leave administration
Scott Lloyd, a Trump appointee who oversaw refugee children at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is leaving the administration, the agency announced on Wednesday.
His last day will be June 7. The agency said Lloyd has a job lined up outside the administration but did not name his future employer.
Lloyd served as director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) for a year and a half but left that post in November for another job within HHS.
He is best known for his role in the administration’s short-lived “zero tolerance” immigration policy that resulted in thousands of migrant children being separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
He’s also known for blocking pregnant minors in ORR custody from getting abortions.
He appeared before Congress earlier this year, facing questions from angry Democrats over both policies. Lloyd testified that he failed to alert HHS leaders about the health risks of separating migrant children.
House Judiciary Democrats have since been asking for Lloyd to “clarify” some of his testimony that has been proven false. Lloyd had denied that he tracked menstrual cycles of girls and women in his custody.
In fact, it was shown that Lloyd used spreadsheets to track how far along unaccompanied girls were in their pregnancies and was receiving updates on the menstrual cycles of the young migrant girls in custody.
Next up: As part of the staffing shift, HHS said Matt Bowman will now be principal advisor to the head of the refugee office. Bowman is a former religious activist with strong anti-abortion views. Before working at HHS, Bowman was an attorney for the conservative Christian group Alliance for Defending Freedom, where he worked in the groups’ Center for Life. Bowman once argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of a client looking to roll back ObamaCare’s birth control mandate.
Read more here.
Durbin urges acting FDA chief to crack down on e-cigarettes
The Food and Drug Administration needs to immediately remove kid-friendly e-cigarette flavors from the market, and crack down on Juul’s claims that it can help people quit smoking, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Wednesday.
In a letter to Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, Durbin said he doesn’t understand why the agency isn’t taking action to address the sharp increase in youth vaping.
Durbin outlined the actions he thinks Sharpless needs to take but said that after meeting with Sharpless earlier this month, he does not think the acting commissioner has any intention of dealing with the issue.
“It is my belief that any person leading the FDA … must, first and foremost, feel a deep sense of responsibility to protect the health and well-being of all Americans, especially our nation’s children. Unfortunately, based on our meeting, I do not have confidence that you are that leader,” Durbin said.
More on Durbin’s letter here.
Analysis: Top 25 drugs make up much of drug spending
The drug pricing group Patients for Affordable Drugs has a new analysis showing that the 25 costliest drugs made up a large share of total Medicare Part D drug spending.
The 25 costliest drugs make up 29.6 percent of spending, the group found.
Why it’s relevant: The analysis comes as Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHillicon Valley: Facebook defends keeping up Pelosi video | Zuckerberg faces contempt of Canadian parliament | Social media giants remove Iran-linked misinformation campaign | WHO calls video game addiction a health ‘disorder’ Facebook defends decision to keep up Pelosi video ‘What you eat, you become’: Chef José Andrés reveals what he’d cook for Trump MORE (D-Calif.) last week privately outlined her plan for Medicare to negotiate drug prices, which would require Medicare to negotiate on a minimum of 25 drugs.
Some progressives are pushing for that number to be higher, saying that 25 drugs is not enough.
Read the analysis here.
McConnell to get award from anti-abortion group
The Susan B. Anthony List will award Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell says Republicans would fill 2020 Supreme Court vacancy GOP candidate expects Roy Moore to announce Senate bid in June The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Justices sidestep major abortion decision despite pressure MORE (R-Ky.) with the “Distinguished Leader Award” at its gala in June, citing his role in approving more than 100 of President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrat to announce Senate bid Wednesday against Lindsey Graham Harris praises Amash for calling for Trump’s impeachment: He has ‘put country before party’ NY Times reporter wears wedding dress to cover Trump in Japan after last-minute dress code MORE‘s judicial nominations.
“Throughout the most intense battles over the fate of the courts – including the accompanying intimidation tactics – Leader McConnell has stared down the radical left with wisdom and unwavering determination. For this and for his lifetime of pro-life leadership in the U.S. Senate, we are immensely grateful,” SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement.
The group also praised McConnell for holding votes on several measures championed by anti-abortion groups, including one that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
What we’re reading
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White House runs into health-care industry hostility as it plans executive order (The Washington Post)
A prescription your doctor can’t write: housing as healthcare (KQED News)
Hospitals and patients’ attorneys spar over lien prices (Modern Healthcare)
Seniors’ spending on cancer drugs has soared (Axios)
State by state
Abortion law: As some states restrict reproductive rights, Illinois may expand them (Associated Press)
Medicaid work requirements take effect June 1 in New Hampshire (Conway Daily Sun)
Medicaid expansion supporters drown out Kansas Senate proceedings (Wellington Daily News)
From The Hill’s opinion page:
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