Protesters for abortion rights demonstrate outside the Supreme Court on Friday, June 24, 2022 after the court released a decision to strike Roe v. Wade.
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Nightmare fuel: Scientists found an 18-foot-long python in Florida that weighs 215 pounds.  

Today in health care, Democrats are looking to President Biden for a more forceful response to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.  

Welcome to Overnight Health Care, where we’re following the latest moves on policy and news affecting your health. For The Hill, we’re Peter Sullivan, Nathaniel Weixel and Joseph Choi. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.

Pressure grows on Biden to take action on abortion 

Democrats are increasing pressure on President Biden to take executive action to protect abortion rights in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. 

Action from the president alone cannot reverse the slew of state bans going into effect after Friday’s ruling, but vocal Democrats say the urgency of the moment requires taking all action available to increase abortion access as much as possible.   

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) led a group of 23 Senate Democrats calling on Biden to explore a range of executive actions. Among their ideas: 

  • Allowing abortions to be performed on federal property.  
  • Providing vouchers for women to travel out of state to get an abortion. 
  • The Congressional Black Caucus called on Biden to declare a public health emergency around abortion to “utilize additional flexibilities and deploy resources where necessary.” 

The question: How far is Biden comfortable going? The pressure is a test of how far Biden is willing to go on the issue as much of his party is outraged and demanding action.

The president, a Catholic, has sometimes had a complicated history on abortion, for example reversing his support for the Hyde Amendment banning federal funding for abortion amid controversy in 2019 during the presidential primary.   

Read more here. 

Harris: No discussion about abortion on federal land

Vice President Harris downplayed one of the potential ideas for executive action on Monday, saying that the Biden administration is not discussing providing abortion services on federal lands in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling that struck down Roe v. Wade. 

“I mean, it’s not right now what we are discussing,” Harris said in an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash on Monday when asked if using federal lands is an option. 

Democrats, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), have called on the Biden administration to use federal land as places where people can receive abortions in states that restrict them. 

Harris instead called on Americans to vote for Democrats. 

There’s some debate among legal scholars that providing abortion services would violate the Hyde Amendment, though it’s not clear if that’s the case. 

Dismissing the idea is likely to anger progressives and activists, who are growing impatient with what they view as a lack of a concrete action plan from the administration.  

Read more here. 

OFFICIALS PRESS INSURERS ON FREE CONTRACEPTION COVERAGE 

Top Biden administration officials met with health insurance industry executives Monday to ensure that their plan members have access to contraceptive services at no cost.  

  • Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met with major health insurance groups and plan sponsors to remind them of the legal obligation under ObamaCare to provide contraceptive coverage for free. 
  • The meeting comes just days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and left states to decide whether abortion is legal. In a concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas called on the Supreme Court to reconsider its landmark 1965 case protecting access to contraceptives. 

In all 50 states, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) guarantees coverage of women’s preventive services, including free birth control and contraceptive counseling, for individuals and covered dependents. 

In 2020, the law provided 58 million women access to preventive services without cost sharing. 

In a statement, the secretaries said they are concerned about complaints that some plans are not following the law and denying coverage in certain instances. 

Read more here.  

JUDGE BLOCKS LOUISIANA TRIGGER LAW BANNING ABORTION  

A Louisiana judge blocked enforcement on Monday of statewide abortion ban designed to automatically go into effect when Roe fell. 

Two abortion rights groups on Monday filed a challenge to Louisiana’s trigger law, which went into effect following the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that struck down the federal right to abortion. 

The Center for Reproductive Rights and Boies Schiller Flexner LLP requested emergency relief allowing providers in the state to continue providing abortions and patients to access the procedure. 

In an email after the judge’s decision Monday, the Center for Reproductive Rights said, “Abortion care will resume in the state and a hearing has been set for July 8th.” 

The groups, filing on behalf of organizations such as Hope Medical Group for Women and Medical Students for Choice, asked the court to review the state’s trigger laws and determine what options exist for lifesaving care that requires aborting a pregnancy. 

Read more here.  

DC, NYC quickly max out on monkeypox vaccines

New York City and Washington, D.C., both ran through their supplies of vaccines to treat monkeypox less than a day after launching their local immunization initiatives. 

New York became the first major city in the U.S. to begin offering vaccines for monkeypox last week, making the two-dose Jynneos smallpox vaccine available to men who have sex with men as well as men who have had multiple sexual partners in the past 14 days. 

The city gave no prior indication of its plans to start administering vaccines and the one clinic that was giving out doses was out of appointments on the same day it started booking them. 

  • On Monday, D.C. followed New York by announcing that it too would make rounds of Jynneos available to gay and bisexual men; transgender women and gender-nonconforming people; sex workers and people who work in high-risk situations.
  • D.C. Health made appointments available beginning at 1 p.m. EDT, and within hours there were no more appointments available on the department’s website. 

A fluctuating supply: When monkeypox cases began cropping up around the U.S., federal health authorities said there were about 72,000 doses of Jynneos in the Strategic National Stockpile, a paltry amount compared to the more than 100 million doses of ACAM2000, an older smallpox vaccine. 

The White House has said that it expects around 300,000 more doses of Jynneos to arrive in the coming weeks. 

Read more here. 

WHAT WE’RE READING

  • Genetic Screening Results Just Got Harder to Handle Under New Abortion Rules (Kaiser Health News) 
  • America is sliding into the long pandemic defeat (The Atlantic) 
  • FDA panel to advise on whether — and how — Covid vaccines should be updated (Stat) 

STATE BY STATE

  • In states that allow abortion for rape and incest, finding a doctor may prove impossible (Politico) 
  • With little short-term hope, Texas’ abortion-rights movement sets its sights on the long run (The Texas Tribune) 
  • Illinois governor calls special session on abortion (Axios)  

OP-EDS IN THE HILL

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Health Care page for the latest news and coverage. See you tomorrow.

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