Liz Truss resigned, but Larry the Cat remains. He’s now outlasted four prime ministers.
In health news, a CDC advisory panel voted Thursday to add coronavirus vaccines to the list of routine vaccinations for kids and adults.
Welcome to Overnight Health Care, where we’re following the latest moves on policy and news affecting your health. For The Hill, we’re Nathaniel Weixel and Joseph Choi. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.
CDC recommends making COVID a regular vax
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory panel voted Thursday to include the COVID-19 vaccine on the list of routine immunizations for adults and children as young as 6 months.
The agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) unanimously voted to add the coronavirus shot to the 2023 list, which includes shots for the flu; measles, mumps and rubella; polio; and other inoculations.
The full agency now needs to sign off to make the recommendation official. The CDC doesn’t have to follow the advice of the panel, though it often does.
Routine move: Contrary to claims made on social media and on television, including by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, the recommendation does not mean the CDC is requiring a COVID-19 shot for children. It also does not mean that schools will have to require that students receive the shot before enrolling.
The CDC does not have the authority to mandate vaccines; that decision is left up to states and local jurisdictions.
The vaccine schedule is an important resource for physicians, especially pediatricians, that can help guide them on when it’s best to administer certain vaccines.
“The CDC guidelines based on public health are there to help inform those decisions, but those are state decisions. And different states make different decisions and nothing about what CDC did changes that,” said Jen Kates, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Read more here.
Pentagon to reimburse for abortion travel
The Pentagon will reimburse service members who need to travel to obtain an abortion, the department announced Thursday, a move that’s aimed at helping soldiers or family members stationed in states where the procedure is no longer allowed.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in a memo said the travel requirements of being in the military should not impact a person’s access to reproductive care.
As a result, the department will provide leave and reimburse travel and transportation expenses for service members and their dependents.
The cost of the procedure itself will not be covered.
“The practical effects of recent changes are that significant numbers of Service members and their families may be forced to travel greater distances, take more time off from work, and pay more out of pocket expenses to receive reproductive health care,” Austin wrote, referring to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Military providers on-base can’t perform abortions, and military health insurance doesn’t cover abortion, even if it’s obtained from a private sector doctor. The Hyde amendment prohibits federal funding being used for abortions except in the case of rape, incest or threat to the mother’s life.
The new memo lays out privacy protections for service members and also directs the Pentagon to establish protection for military providers so they won’t face criminal or civil liability from state officials or risk losing their license for performing official duties.
Read more here.
4 IN 10 VOTERS WOULD CROSS PARTY LINES OVER HEALTH CARE: GALLUP
Nearly 4 in 10 Americans would vote for a candidate from a political party they don’t usually support if lowering health care costs is the candidate’s top priority, according to a new West Health-Gallup survey.
The poll found 87 percent of respondents indicated a candidate’s plan for cutting health care costs is at least somewhat important to them in deciding who to vote for, with majorities of both Republicans and Democrats surveyed saying so.
Broken down by demographics, women and minority voters were more likely to express a willingness to cross party lines to vote for a candidate prioritizing the reduction of health care costs.
A majority of Black respondents — 57 percent — said so, followed by
49 percent of Asian respondents, 45 percent of Hispanic respondents and
34 percent of white respondents.
The survey found a partisan split when respondents were asked how likely they were to vote across party lines over the issue, with 40 percent of Democrats polled indicating they were at least somewhat likely to do so compared to 22 percent of Republicans.
Read more here.
DC AG ADVISES AGAINST UNENCRYPTED APPS FOR ABORTION PLANNING
Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine (D) urged city residents to not use Facebook Messenger and other unencrypted services for abortion planning purposes.
In a news release on Thursday, Racine said that city residents should use secure, encrypted messaging apps to discuss private conversations, pointing to a story earlier this year about a Nebraska woman facing multiple felony charges for allegedly helping her teenage daughter illegally abort her pregnancy.
“Stories like these confirm the importance of data privacy. While abortion remains fully legal in the District, consumers and those seeking abortions should be aware of how others may use their data, and they should take steps to protect themselves and their data and privacy as much as possible,” Racine added.
Facebook messages are a key piece of evidence in that case, according to an NPR report. Authorities allege the woman, 41, helped coach her 17-year-old daughter to take abortion pills even though she was 23 weeks into her pregnancy.
Racine suggested using messaging apps such as Signal and WhatsApp that offer secure end-to-end encryption and to opt-in to create end-to-end encrypted messages for the Facebook chats — so messages can be seen only by the recipient.
Read more here.
Dems lean in on prescription drug reform
Democrats in key swing states are highlighting prescription drug reform as a crucial win as they make their case for keeping power in the run-up to the midterms, and warning that Republicans could reverse their progress.
Candidates across the country are touting lower prescription drug costs, and President Biden has made sure to remind people of these wins from his perch in the White House.
“This year, the American people won, and Big Pharma lost,” Biden said in a speech from the Rose Garden last month, pointing to the sweeping Inflation Reduction Act passed by Democrats, which had measures allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices and placed caps on certain medications.
Democratic Senate candidates in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Arizona — all crucial battleground states — have been pushing similar messaging in recent weeks.
Leslie Dach, chairman of the Democrat-aligned health advocacy group Protect Our Care, told The Hill that Democratic candidates have been effective in communicating prescription drug reform, and he thinks it is making a difference among voters.
“Poll after poll has shown that reducing the costs of health care are the most popular parts of the Inflation Reduction Act,” Dach said.
“If people can’t afford their health insurance or can’t afford their drugs, it’s a source of great anxiety around every kitchen table. And that’s particularly true now, when people are squeezed by other prices for daily goods,” he added.
Read more here.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Chickenpox vaccine has ‘practically eliminated’ deaths from the disease, CDC report finds (NBC News) U.S. surgeon general says workplaces are taking a toll on Americans’ mental and physical health (Stat) Adderall shortage is so bad some patients can’t fill their prescriptions (The Washington Post)
STATE BY STATE
5 things to know about Montana’s ‘Born Alive’ ballot initiative (Kaiser Health News) US health officials probe Boston University’s Covid virus research (Financial Times) Kentucky expanding Medicaid to cover vision, dental and hearing care (Lexington Herald-Leader)
THE HILL OPEDS
Healthcare price transparency can address inflation’s largest and longest-running source Sacrificing health care on the altar of ideology In an aging America, osteoporosis is a looming public health crisis
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.