Daily on Healthcare: Planned Parenthood drops out of Title X

By | August 20, 2019

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PLANNED PARENTHOOD DROPS OUT OF TITLE X: Planned Parenthood will be foregoing as much as $ 60 million annually from a federal family planning program that will carry new anti-abortion rules.

“Planned Parenthood is still open. We are continuing to fight this rule in court,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president of the organization, said in a call with reporters Monday. She said the organization would do everything it could to make sure that clinics could stay open.

The Trump administration gave healthcare providers until midnight Monday to comply with a new rule that says organizations that accept federal family planning grants cannot directly provide patients with an abortion referral. Critics of the rule call it a “gag rule” because they say the government is forcing them to keep information from patients.

How the grants work. The grants, which amount in total to $ 286 million a year, come from what is known as the Title X program. They are used to pay for birth control, testing of sexually transmitted diseases, and cancer screenings for 4 million low-income adults, and are not permitted to go toward abortions. Still, abortion foes and the Trump administration have said that the money is fungible and shouldn’t be used to prop up abortion providers.

The Trump administration’s response. Shortly after Planned Parenthood publicly announced its decision, Mia Heck from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health said that organizations had the choice to accept the Title X grants already when they knew what the terms would be.

“Some grantees are now blaming the government for their own actions — having chosen to accept the grant while failing to comply with the regulations that accompany it — and they are abandoning their obligations to serve their patients under the program,” she said.

What comes next. The case will head before a panel of judges on Sept. 23, which could again block the rules and allow Planned Parenthood to start receiving funding again. Planned Parenthood warned that without the Title X funding, people will be forced to wait longer for care and will have to drive further distances in certain parts of the U.S.

The Trump administration will also require abortion services to be housed in separate facilities from birth control and other services, but that requirement won’t take effect until next year.

Good morning and welcome to the Washington Examiner’s Daily on Healthcare! This newsletter is written by senior healthcare reporter Kimberly Leonard (@LeonardKL) and healthcare reporter Cassidy Morrison (@CassMorrison94). You can reach us with tips, calendar items, or suggestions at dailyonhealthcare@washingtonexaminer.com. If someone forwarded you this email and you’d like to receive it regularly, you can subscribe here.

‘HOSPITAL COMPARE’ WEBSITE HEADED FOR A MAKEOVER: By 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will make changes to the methodology behind the website, which allows patients to compare the quality of different hospitals. “CMS is empowering patients to make informed healthcare decisions, leading providers to compete on the basis of cost and quality,” CMS administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. The agency is continuing to gather feedback on the exact changes it will implement and will put out a proposal next year.

TEEN SPEARHEADS A LEGAL ATTACK AGAINST VAPING GIANT JUUL LABS: Nineteen-year-old Christian Foss and attorneys filed suit against Juul for splashy ad campaigns that target minors and for concealing how much nicotine is in the vaping concentration in a Juul device. Foss said he has become fully addicted to nicotine having started using the device at 16, and he wants to represent all minors who have allegedly been misled by Juul’s advertising. The suit claims Juul violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, by taking a page out of cigarette makers’ playbook of using advertising to target kids.

IMMIGRATION-RIGHTS ATTORNEYS SUE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FOR DENYING MIGRANTS ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE: Several groups that advocate for immigrant rights are suing Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security for denying migrants in detention centers medical and mental health services in 158 centers around the country. Attorneys at the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center, and Disability Rights Advocates brought the class-action suit on behalf of 15 immigrants who have experienced delays in getting care or negligence while in detention.

BRAND-NAME DRUG PRICES ARE STILL CLIMBING, BUT AT A SLOWER RATE: Since the start of 2019, drug prices have risen at a slower rate and not risen as often as they used to, according to an Associated Press analysis. The biggest companies increased their prices primarily in January, rather than the traditional three times per year. Still, there were 37 price increases for every decrease since January. “This rhetoric around drug prices may be starting to bend the curve, but we’re not getting to the point of actual decreases in the total cost of drugs,” Adrienne E. Faerber, who teaches health economics at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, told the AP.

KAMALA HARRIS IS UNEASY ABOUT SANDERS’ MEDICARE FOR ALL PLAN, A BILL SHE COSPONSORED: Presidential hopeful Kamala Harris said at a Sunday fundraiser in East Hampton she has “not been comfortable with Bernie’s plan.” Harris, the first cosponsor of Bernie Sanders’ proposal, has gone back and forth on healthcare policy since launching her campaign. First, she pledged to outlaw all private insurance plans. Now, she will allow private insurers to administer plans that are paid for by the government, in a way similar to how Medicare Advantage operates.

Sanders snapped back at Harris in a subtweet: After her Hamptons fundraiser, Sanders tweeted that he would never take money from billionaires in the Hamptons. But if he ever were to visit, he would tell those billionaires: “We must pass a Medicare for All system to guarantee affordable health care for all, not just for those who can afford it.” He didn’t directly address Harris in the tweet.

FDA APPROVES NEW MEDICATION TO TREAT A COMMON TYPE OF PNEUMONIA: The Food and Drug Administration approved Xenleta Monday to treat adults who contract pneumonia when not in the hospital. “This approval reinforces our ongoing commitment to address treatment of infectious diseases by facilitating the development of new antibiotics,” Dr. Ed Cox, director of FDA’s Office of Antimicrobial Products, said in a statement.

CONGRESSMAN ASKS NIMH WHEN THEY’LL PUT AN END TO PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTS ON ANIMALS AHEAD OF TUESDAY’S PETA PROTEST: Democratic congressman Brendan Boyle on Monday asked the director of the National Institute of Mental Health when the agency will phase out animal testing for psychological illnesses. His letter to director Joshua Gordon comes a day before the PETA protest at the National Institutes of Health’s BRAIN Multi-Council Working Group meeting. The protest will feature a person in a full mouse costume leading a demonstration against what PETA neuroscientist Dr. Katherine Roe calls “scientifically worthless experiments that torment mice and fail humans suffering from mental illness.”

The Rundown

The Wall Street Journal New York City union uses its size to leverage improved maternity care

The New York Times Premature babies lag in vaccinations

The Star-Ledger Newark water crisis prompts new calls for feds to test residents for lead

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Life expectancy for Wisconsin babies falls as opioids, alcohol and suicide take the young

The Associated Press US attorney seeks to block plan for supervised drug center

St. Louis Public Radio Applications for medical marijuana facilities pour in at deadline


TUESDAY | Aug. 20

Congress in August recess.

Aug. 19-20. Atlanta. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer in Young Women. Details.