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Republicans are doing their best in this election

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Happy Friday to all of you. We love a good waffle, but we I have some questions for general surgeon Vivek Murthy. Send us your unpopular feedback:

Today’s version: The Department of Justice She says she will advocate for Veterans Affairs medical personnel who perform abortions in certain cases. An Indiana judge has temporarily blocked the state’s near-total ban on abortion. But first…

Republicans remain ambiguous about health policy in the midterms

Republicans have spent a lot of elections promising to abandon Obamacare and reform the US health care system. Not anymore.

When the home minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) is officially releasing its seasonal campaign agenda today at an event in Pennsylvania, and he’ll be light on health policy details. The one-page document — dubbed the “Commitment to America” ​​— is vague, and points to broad ideas like price transparency and competition, rather than a bold vision for the future of health reform.

This is by design. As one conservative health expert put it, the Republican Party continues to suffer from “PTSD” from its failed efforts in 2017 to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Health care has been shown time and time again to be a toxic issue for Republicans. Just the last two months, Senator. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) backed away from comments that he wanted to see Republicans take another crack at repealing Obamacare. Don Bolduc, The Republican Senate candidate for New Hampshire retracted his position after saying he would like to privatize Medicare; and campaign Blake Masters, The Arizona Republican nominee has removed references to tough anti-abortion positions from his website.

severely 77 percent of Democrats and Democrats say health care is “very important” to their vote in the 2022 congressional elections. But only 43 percent Republican Republican-leaning voters agree. Democrats recently passed a popular health measure that allows Medicare to negotiate prices for some drugs, which polls show a broad swath of voters support.

  • “Democrats have historically held a significant advantage on health care,” said Ken Spahn. who worked in National Republican Congress Committee In 2010, the year the Republican Party won a majority. “For the midterms, Republicans don’t have to win this issue…but they can’t be destroyed by it. They have to find a way to bridge the gap and the key to doing that is to talk about the cost and quality of care.”

The House Republican Letters memo appeared online yesterday. (Okay, it was posted Wednesday inadvertently, but it got deleted.) Here’s what the document says about health:

  • “Personalizing Care” to provide cheaper, higher quality options.
  • Lowering prices through transparency and competition, creating ‘life-saving’ treatments and promoting access to telemedicine.
  • “Save and Strengthen” Medicare.
  • “Protecting the lives of unborn children and their mothers.”

He said more competition and selection is the easy part Thomas Miller, Senior Fellow at American Enterprise InstituteIt is a conservative think tank. “The hardest complication is figuring out the policies that get you there.”

The document is intentionally brief in detail across all policy areas, in recognition that the broader conference is divided over which legislative proposals would be best for a number of issues, our colleagues Mariana Sotomayor And the Lee Ann Caldwell Report.

But staying vague about health policy likely won’t matter for the midterms, as Republicans attack Democrats instead about crime, inflation and gas prices. “They’re not going to win over these additional voters or even drive out their base by saying something more detailed or active about health policy,” Miller said. “At the same time, say the wrong thing, you don’t understand what you’re talking about, and it can be a burden, so why bother doing it.”

Regarding abortion, the memorandum is also not mandatory. There is no mention of national restrictions on the measure, which comes after many in the Senate rejected the idea of ​​a 15-week federal limit last week.

Last year, McCarthy unveiled seven task forces tasked with formulating policies on various issues. representatives. Brett Guthrie (Kentucky) and Fern Buchanan (Florida) – Senior Republican on Energy and Trade And the ways and means Health subcommittees, respectively – tasked with overseeing the 17-member Health Cluster.

Although McCarthy’s memo released yesterday was ambiguous, the task force’s findings can predict what policies the GOP-led health committees might pursue. The sweeping Republican priority included an investigation into the origin of COVID-19. But the proposals also consisted of a more incremental and asymmetric set of policies, such as codifying rules requiring hospitals and insurance companies to disclose their rates, setting data standards for electronic health records, and making clinical trials more widely available.

In an interview, Guthrie also referred to the Democrats’ health bill, arguing that it would lead to fewer innovative drug treatments, another potential campaign goal. He insisted that Republicans would continue to work in health care, with the message “we want people to have a personalized health care system”, though he acknowledged that “it’s hard to explain 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,” but how do you define that phrase? What qualifies for good aging versus poor aging? Tell us here.

Justice Department: States Can’t Punish Veterans Affairs Medical Workers for Federally Authorized Abortions

The Department of Justice Pledge to protect Veterans Affairs Medical personnel who perform abortion services to save a patient’s life or protect their health or in cases where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest – even if that abortion was performed in a situation where the procedure would be illegal in those circumstances, The Post’s Perry Stein reports.

Alabama officials have already threatened to punish workers who assist victims who perform abortionsAnd the On the grounds that it violates state law. But in an internal government opinion published yesterday, Department of Justice lawyers said a new Department of Justice policy allowing employees to provide abortion services to veterans and their eligible relatives is legally sound and can continue.

The narrow politics underscores how little legal tools the Biden administration has to support abortion access in the country in a post-Ro Globalism. In this case, the administration argues that the Department of Veterans Health has a federal duty to provide appropriate medical care to the nation’s veterans. Restricting access to abortion, according to the opinion, in these circumstances would prevent VA facilities from providing necessary medical care to their patients.

Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Illinois) on VA’s new abortion policy:

Indiana judge temporarily bans near-total abortion ban

An Indiana judge temporarily blocked the state’s new ban on nearly all abortions a week after it went into effect, our colleague Katie Shepherd reports.

An injunction granted by the Owen County Judge Kelsey Hanlon Implementation of the ban, which prevents most abortions from pregnancies with few exceptions, has been paused while a legal challenge against the law is making its way through the courts. As a result, providers can offer the procedure again up to 22 weeks after the last menstrual period.

In the court’s opinion, Hanlon found that Planned Parenthood Other plaintiffs in the case showed a “reasonable possibility” that the ban imposed “significant limitations on personal independence” that would violate the Indiana Constitution’s right to privacy and equal protection. State Attorney General Todd Roqueta (right) said yesterday that his office Plans to appeal Hanlon’s decision.

Caitlin Bernard, An Indiana obstetrician in the middle of a viral story about a 10-year-old rape victim:

Avoid pink slips: The leaders of the Senate and House health committees reached agreement on a deal to renew Food and Drug AdministrationUser fees, which fund a large portion of the agency’s budget, according to several congressional aides.

The convention has some policy riders but is “practically clean” as an aide to the senator. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chair Senate Assistance Committee, put it. The idea is to tie the five-year reauthorization to a temporary spending bill to keep the government’s lights on after the end of the month and avoid the prospect of leave notifications being sent to FDA employees.

But there is a wrinkle. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Republic of Kentucky) backs a clean user fee bill without “weird elements,” meaning party leaders will need to determine if all policy riders have been stripped of the legislation. Politico The news was reported for the first time.

Surprise! Texas Medical Association sues over surprise billing rule…again

The Texas Medical Association The second lawsuit was filed in less than a year against certain parts of the rule outlining the process for resolving disputes between insurance companies and providers over “surprise” medical bills.

The lawsuit comes days after the issuance of American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association They dropped the first legal challenge to the temporary rule, which became moot when the administration released a revised final rule governing the federal arbitration process for surprise bills on August 26. Both the AMA and the AHA support the new lawsuit in Texas.

The problem with payment disputes revolves around preventing insured patients from incurring huge bills to inadvertently obtain care from an out-of-network provider. The rule-making of Biden’s administration has been divisive even among those who drafted the law, and the Texas Medical Association is “unfairly” debating the new regulation for insurance companies.

  • New this morning: The Biden administration has announced new measures and funding to address the opioid epidemic and support the nation’s addiction services, including $1.5 billion grants to states and territories.
  • A federal watchdog found that scammers He may have stole 45.6 billion dollars From the country’s unemployment insurance program during the pandemic, our colleague Tony Rom Writes.
  • With a vote of 56-40Senate confirmed Arati Prabhakar to be a manager Office of Science and Technology Policy.
  • The Medicare and Medicaid Services Centers He agreed to extend Medicaid coverage for 12 months after giving birth in North Carolina.

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

Biotechnology aims to detect cancer early. But the tests still have a long way to go. (By Brancho Verma | The Washington Post)

Some who rushed the Covid-19 vaccine stopped using boosters (by Jared S Hopkins | The Wall Street Journal)

Thanks for reading! See on Monday.