The Hill, Greg Nash
Students in Germany buried their classroom skeleton on Wednesday, retiring the real human bones after 70 years of educational use.
The Senate has failed to advance Democratic legislation aimed at protecting abortion rights, with Democrats saying the vote shows the need to elect more members who would vote yes.
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.
GOP, Manchin block abortion rights legislation
Senate Republicans, joined by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), blocked legislation on Wednesday intended to enshrine abortion protections into law ahead of a possible ruling this summer by a conservative-majority Supreme Court striking down the Roe v. Wade decision.
Democrats fell more than 10 votes short of advancing the legislation, touted as a way to codify Roe v. Wade, which guarantees the right to an abortion, into law. It needed 60 votes to move forward.
The outcome, which was expected, is likely to ramp up emotions after a leaked draft decision last week showed the Supreme Court was ready to take the historic step of overturning its landmark 1973 decision on abortion rights.
Democrats have warned that decision would rip away what has been a right for millions of women for nearly half a century, with the negative effects disproportionately falling on the poor.
“Today’s vote is one of the most consequential we will take in decades, because for the first time in fifty years a conservative majority—an extreme majority—on the Supreme Court is on the brink of declaring that women do not have freedom over their own bodies, one of the longest steps back in the court’s entire history; a decision if enacted will go down as one of the worst court decisions ever. The name of this decision will live in infamy,” said Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).
Republicans argued the legislation considered by the Senate went further than most Americans would want to go on abortion rights, infringing on religious liberty and state laws.
Read more here.
Infant formula shortage worsens
A nationwide shortage of infant formula is worsening, sending parents scrambling and lawmakers demanding answers.
For the week starting April 24, the out-of-stock percentage of formula reached 40 percent, according to an analysis by Datasembly, a retail tracking company. That’s an increase from 31 percent at the beginning of April.
In the beginning of May, the nationwide out-of-stock percentage grew even more, and stands at 43 percent for the week ending May 8th, the company said.
Healthy babies have plenty of options for feeding, but the shortages are being felt most acutely by parents whose children need specialty formula to survive because they suffer from severe medical conditions, including metabolic disorders.
Supply chain problems have been exacerbated by a nationwide recall of formula made by Abbott Nutrition, one of the largest formula suppliers in the country, and the continued shutdown of Abbott’s manufacturing plant in Michigan.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched an inspection of the plant amid complaints that four infants had been hospitalized with rare bacterial infections after consuming powdered formula that was made in the facility. Two infants died from the infections.
Read more here.
FAUCI: MORE CLARITY ON BOOSTERS LATER THIS YEAR
Chief White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci said Wednesday he thinks it will be known later this year if and how often COVID-19 vaccination boosters should be administered.
During a House Appropriations Committee hearing on the proposed budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Mich.) asked Fauci what he thought the future of coronavirus vaccination looked like.
“Well it’s very clear right now if you look at the need for vaccination — I mean if you look at the hospitalizations and deaths of those who are unvaccinated compared to those who are vaccinated and boosted, the data are stunning. They’re striking, the difference,” Fauci said.
He added that it was “very clear” that a booster is necessary in the “era of omicron,” pointing to the strength of the protection that a third shot offered. However, he acknowledged that protection has been seen to wane over time and said it was currently unclear if annual boosters would be needed due to the new variants that continue to arise.
“I think some time in the middle of the summer we’re gonna know what the cadence is gonna be about how often we’re gonna have to vaccinate people,” said Fauci.
Read more here.
VIRTUAL EVENT INVITE
Improving Rare Disease Diagnostics & Care, Friday, May 13 at 12:30 p.m. ET
Of the one in 10 Americans living with a rare disease, only a small number receive a timely diagnosis. What barriers stand in the way of rare disease patients receiving an accurate diagnosis and getting the support they need? Join The Hill for a discussion on improving the diagnostic journey for the 30 million Americans living with a rare disease. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), NIH’s Joni Rutter and more. RSVP today.
SUPPORT FOR ROE TICKS UP IN WAKE OF SUPREME COURT LEAK: POLL
The percentage of Americans who said in a new poll that they support Roe v. Wade ticked up 3 points after a Supreme Court draft opinion striking down the landmark decision legalizing abortion in the U.S. was leaked.
The survey, released Wednesday from Morning Consult and Politico, found that 53 percent of respondents said that Roe v. Wade, which establishes the right to an abortion, should not be overturned, up slightly from last week. Twenty-eight percent in the new poll said the decision should be overturned and 19 percent said they don’t know or have no opinion.
More than 6 in 10 respondents — 61 percent — also said it is very or somewhat likely the justices will overturn the 1973 decision. Twenty percent said it is not too likely or not too likely at all, while 19 percent said they don’t know or have no opinion.
As for the respondents’ general beliefs, 29 percent said that abortion should be legal in all cases, and 27 percent said it should be legal in most cases. Eighteen percent of respondents said they somewhat disapprove of abortion, while 31 percent said they strongly disapprove. Nine percent said they don’t know or had no opinion.
Read more here.
US overdose deaths top 100,000
A record number of Americans died from drug overdoses in 2021 as the powerful opioid fentanyl continues to fuel a national drug crisis.
New provisional data released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show an estimated 107,622 drug overdose deaths occurred in the U.S. last year, the largest number of fatal overdoses ever recorded in a calendar year.
The data show a nearly 15 percent increase from the 93,655 deaths in 2020, a record year that saw a 30 percent spike in fatal overdoses from the year prior. The provisional numbers are subject to change.
Overdose deaths involving opioids, such as illicit fentanyl and heroin, jumped from an estimated 70,029 in 2020 to 80,816 in 2021Deaths involving drugs such as methamphetamine and cocaine also saw significant increasesDeaths from fentanyl alone increased from 57,834 in 2020 to 71,238 last year
“These data surpass another devastating milestone in the history of the overdose epidemic in America,” Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said in a statement.
“Compounding the tragedy, we have underused treatments that could help many people. We must meet people where they are to prevent overdoses, reduce harm, and connect people to prevent treatments to reduce drug use.”
Fentanyl and other potent synthetic opioids have permeated the illicit drug market as they are cheap to manufacture and incredibly potent.
Read more here.
WHAT WE’RE READING
3 ways to get COVID pills, if you’ve just tested positive (NPR) Growing share of Covid-19 deaths are among vaccinated people, but booster shots substantially lower the risk (CNN) Covid booster rollout needs a reboot to save older Americans, experts say (NBC)
STATE BY STATE
Federal watchdog opens ‘review’ of Tex. use of covid aid on border crackdown (Washington Post) Creeping COVID-19 cases result in few schools mask mandates (Associated Press) In Tennessee, your opioid prescription will soon come with an offer for overdose reversal meds (WPLN)
OP-EDS IN THE HILL
Even a Democratic Congress will not be able to restore the rights under Roe v. Wade GoFundMe medical campaigns reveal a big problem with health care The last to receive COVID vaccines are the hardest and most critical to reach
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.
VIEW FULL VERSION HERE