Daily on Healthcare, presented by SBEC: Anti-abortion, pro-Medicaid is the winning stance in deep-red Louisiana

By | November 19, 2019

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I’ll take your Trump endorsement and I’ll raise you two major healthcare issues: Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards won reelection Saturday night over President Trump-backed Republican Eddie Rispone after campaigning on a set of accomplishments uniquely geared to running as a Democrat in a deep-red state: Unapologetic support for expanding Medicaid through Obamacare, and support for a near-total ban on abortion.

Edwards, a Catholic, in May signed a ban on abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, about six weeks into pregnancy.

On the other hand, he enacted Medicaid expansion in Louisiana in 2016. He says that 460,000 working adults in the state now receive coverage through the expansion.

“The easiest big decision that I’ll ever make as governor,” Edwards said of expanding Medicaid in the only gubernatorial debate in October.

Edwards appealed to Democrats and others by touting his accomplishments in expanding Medicaid. His views on abortion and gun rights, however, garnered conservative support.

Rispone, in contrast, had promised to halt Medicaid enrollment upon taking office.

It would appear that Medicaid expansion is a favorable issue for Democrats, even in red states. Democrat Andy Beshear just won election in Kentucky running on a pro-Medicaid expansion platform, while Republican incumbent Matt Bevin had sought to scale back the Medicaid expansion by adding work requirements, a change that got approval from the Trump administration in 2017 (the plan has been blocked by the courts). Beshear pledged to immediately rescind the mandatory work requirement in his first week in office.

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Congressional Republicans, take note: Edwards scored points on Rispone by suggesting that, by favoring a “Medicaid freeze,” Rispone didn’t care about people with pre-existing conditions. Obamacare protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions have been a major point of contention as Republican state attorneys general and the Trump administration have sought to have the courts rule that the healthcare law is unconstitutional.

“Health care is kind of the Holy Grail of politics right now,” Edwards pollster Zac McCrary told the Associated Press. “It enthuses the Democratic base. It can persuade independents.” The way Democrats talk about it matters, McCrary said: “Strengthening, protecting, improving the ACA, that’s a much better battleground than scrapping the ACA and starting from scratch.”

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.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD WINS $ 2 MILLION IN LAWSUIT OVER SECRET VIDEOS: Planned Parenthood won about $ 2 million in a federal case Friday in San Francisco over anti-abortion activist and Center for Medical Progress founder David Daleiden, who secretly recorded Planned Parenthood employees in 2015 while posing as a biotechnology representative. The jury found that he had trespassed on private property and committed fraud in the undercover recordings.

Fellow anti-abortion rights activists claimed the verdict was in violation of Daleiden’s freedom of speech, as he had been working as an undercover journalist. The Center for Medical Progress, the anti-abortion activism group Daleiden founded, tweeted Friday: “Today’s ruling threatens First Amendment rights of all Americans. Now more than ever we ask you to join us in fighting injustice coming out of San Francisco’s Federal Court. We will appeal!”

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Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said after the verdict: “David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress intentionally waged a multi-year illegal effort to manufacture a malicious campaign against Planned Parenthood. The jury recognized today that those behind the campaign broke the law in order to advance their goals of banning safe, legal abortion in this country.”

TRUMP BACKS OFF VAPING FLAVOR BAN OVER FEARS OF LOSING VOTES: Trump will not move forward with his proposed vaping flavor ban announced in September after advisers told him it would jeopardize his chances for re-election by alienating his base and leading to job losses. The vaping industry has faced scrutiny from public health groups and anti-smoking advocates, including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, for its hand in causing over 2,000 vaping-related lung injuries and over 40 deaths, even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has narrowed in on illegal vaping liquids made from THC as the cause.

FDA APPROVES FIRST TARGETED THERAPY FOR SICKLE CELL DISEASE: Novartis won approval from the Food and Drug Administration for Adakveo Friday, the first targeted therapy to prevent painful vaso-occlusive crises that come with sickle cell disease. Acting FDA Commissioner Brett P. Giroir said: “Hope has never been higher for people living with sickle cell disease and their families and supporters, with a pipeline of new treatments on the horizon, like the one being approved today, and several initiatives underway to better utilize current tools in the battle against the painful and deadly blood disorder.”

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The Rundown

The New York Times Elizabeth Warren’s backup backup health plan

Kaiser Health News Startup seeks to hold doctors, hospitals accountable on patient record requests

Reuters Trump says U.S. states will be able to buy prescription drugs abroad

The Wall Street Journal Study finds limited benefits of stent use for millions with heart disease

The Seattle Times Seattle-based Planned Parenthood affiliate ventures into Indiana and Kentucky, giving a blue-state boost to red-state clinics


MONDAY | Nov. 18

10.a.m to 12:30 p.m. Rayburn 2123 House Energy and Commerce Committee markup of 18 bills, including the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act and the Helping Medicaid Offer Maternity Services Act. Details.


10 a.m. Dirksen 430 Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on the Nomination of Stephen M. Hahn, MD, to serve as Commissioner of Food and Drugs. Details.

12 p.m. 1330 G. St. NW. Kaiser Health News Discussion, “How We Cope: Intimate Lessons From the Front-Lines of Family Caregiving.” Details.

2 p.m. Dirksen 215 Senate Finance Committee Hearing to examine Alzheimer’s awareness, focusing on barriers to diagnosis, treatment, and care coordination. Details.

2 p.m. Rayburn 2128 House Financial Service Committee hearing on the Current State of Residents’ Health and Safety in HUD Housing. Details.

FRIDAY | Nov. 22

House not in session.