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K-pop boy band BTS gave the White House something of a ratings boost, bringing in nearly 200,000 online viewers while speaking out against anti-Asian hate during a press briefing.
Today in health care, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) called for lower drug prices. An aide for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called him a phony.
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.
Sanders aide calls Manchin ‘phony’ on drug prices
Tensions are heating up over action (or lack thereof) on drug pricing.
A top aide to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Tuesday called Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) a “phony” after the West Virginia senator called for action to lower drug prices.
Warren Gunnels, Sanders’s staff director for the Senate Budget Committee, tweeted that Manchin’s call for drug pricing action was empty given the senator opposed President Biden’s Build Back Better package, which included measures to lower drug prices.
“What a phony. THE reason we failed to keep our promises to seniors is because @Sen_JoeManchin sabotaged the Build Back Better Act & refuses to end the filibuster,” Gunnels tweeted. “In Joe’s world, protecting the filibuster is more important than protecting seniors. No wonder billionaires love him.”
Gunnels was responding to a tweet from Manchin after the senator met with AARP’s West Virginia branch that read: “By allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, capping the cost of insulin at $35 per month, and allowing the importation of drugs from Canada, we can lower prescription drug prices in America. We must take action & keep the promises we’ve made to our seniors.”
Signs of hope on a package: Manchin, speaking at the AARP event on Tuesday, gave some hope to Democrats eager for a deal.
“Drug pricing is something we all agree on,” Manchin said. “If we do nothing else this year — I think we can do a lot more — but if we do nothing more this year, that’s the one thing that must be done.”
Read more here.
Vaccine misinformation affects pregnant women
Seven in 10 women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant believe or are unsure about false claims related to COVID-19 vaccines, a Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) poll found.
Twenty-nine percent of respondents in the demographic believed at least one of three false statements.
Among women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, 60 percent said they believe that pregnant women should not get the vaccine or are unsure if this is true; 58 percent said they believe vaccines cause infertility or are unsure; and 52 percent said they believe it is unsafe for breastfeeding women to get vaccinated or are unsure about the claim.
Beyond those who heard the misinformation and believed it to be true, larger shares of pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant were unsure about the statements.
For women younger than 50, the poll found a higher tendency to believe or be unsure of the misinformation among those who were unvaccinated and those who did not have a college degree.
The impact: CDC estimates show roughly 3 in 10 pregnant women remain unvaccinated against COVID-19, a figure that lags adults overall.
Read more here.
UK RECOMMENDS PEOPLE WITH MONKEYPOX ABSTAIN FROM SEX
The U.K. Health Security Agency on Monday issued guidance recommending that people who test positive for monkeypox abstain from sexual activity while they are symptomatic.
“People with possible, probable or confirmed monkeypox should avoid contact with other people until their lesions have healed and the scabs have dried off,” the agency said in its guidance. “Cases should also abstain from sex while symptomatic, including the period of early symptom onset, and while lesions are present.”
Monkeypox is primarily spread through prolonged skin-to-skin contact with an infectious person — not just sexual. It typically causes lesions to form on an individual’s face and body.
The agency noted that there is currently “no available evidence of monkeypox in genital excretions,” but advised that condoms still be used for eight weeks after infection as a “precaution.”
An individual who contracts monkeypox is generally considered to no longer be infectious once their skin lesions scab over and are fully healed.
As of Monday, 183 monkeypox cases have been confirmed in the U.K. In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified 10 cases of monkeypox.
Read more here.
PEDIATRIC SUICIDE ATTEMPTS BY POISONING ON THE RISE: STUDY
The number of suspected suicide attempts by poisoning among children rose sharply between 2015 and 2020, recent research suggests.
University of Virginia researchers conducted a study based on cases reported to the National Poison Data System as “suspected suicides” that involved both attempted suicides and deaths by suicide. They found a 26 percent increase in suspected suicides among children ages 6 through 19 during the study period.
The over-the-counter painkillers ibuprofen and acetaminophen were the two most common substances used in the suspected pediatric attempted suicide cases, researchers found, adding that the self-poisoning attempts resulted in 276 deaths and 14,916 cases of “major effects,” which may include long lasting symptoms such as disfigurement.
Suspected cases of suicide by self-poisoning reportedly rose from 75,248 in 2015 to 93,532 in 2020Girls accounted for 77.9 percent of all cases during in 2020All pediatric groups saw increases in suspected suicides, according to the study, but the largest jump occurred in children between the ages of 10 and 12 who saw an increase of more than 109 percent
“We need to be vigilant for the warning signs associated with suicide risk in our children,” Christopher Holstege, chief of the Division of Medical Toxicology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, said in a statement.
Read more here.
HHS announces new office of environmental justice
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Tuesday announced an Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) within the department to address climate-related health issues particularly those affecting poor and marginalized Americans.
The office, which will be under the aegis of the HHS Office of Climate Change and Health Equity, will be responsible for developing the department’s broader environmental health strategies and coordinating its annual environmental justice reports, according to HHS.
The department is seeking public comment on its implementation plan for the new office through June 18.
“By creating this new office and prioritizing environmental justice at HHS, Secretary [Xavier] Becerra is undertaking the type of bold institutional reform that is desperately needed to deliver clean air and clean water for all communities,” White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory said in a statement.
“Today’s announcement is a key step toward confronting environmental injustice – in all of its heartbreaking forms – with the full force and commitment of the Federal government.”
Becerra announced the launch of the broader Office of Climate Change and Health Equity last August after a January executive order by President Biden laid the groundwork for its creation.
Still unclear is how the new office and initiative will be funded.
Read more here.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Schools are struggling to meet rising mental health needs, data shows (Washington Post) Young caregivers ‘exist in the shadows,’ offer crucial help (AP) During the omicron wave, death rates soared for older people (New York Times) Her first colonoscopy cost her $0. Her second cost $2,185. Why? (Kaiser Health News)
STATE BY STATE
COVID-19 cases plateau in New York City, indicating latest surge may be over (ABC News) Inside the effort to promote abortion pills for a post-Roe America (Time) How many Montanans have lead in their blood? Health officials don’t know (Montana Public Radio)
OP-EDS IN THE HILL
What’s really at risk with monkeypox?
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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