We feel for the retail workers this time of year. All they want for Christmas is NOT to hear Mariah Carey’s ubiquitous holiday anthem.
Today in health, we look at two states on the West Coast that have achieved legislative wins in their aims of improving public health.
Plus: Anthony Fauci’s latest comments on his time working in the Trump administration.
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? Sign up here or in the box below.
SCOTUS denies bid to block flavored tobacco ban
The Supreme Court on Monday denied a request made by a group of major tobacco companies to block California’s recently passed ban on flavored tobacco products, allowing for a lower court’s decision permitting the ban to stand.
Major tobacco companies including R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company and Modoral Brands Inc. submitted a request for an injunction to the court last month, asking that the justices consider whether California had the authority to instate the ban.
Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, who handles emergency matters arising from the Ninth Circuit, denied the request in a response on Monday, indicating that it had been referred to the full court. No dissents from any other justices were noted.
Prior to this denial from the Supreme Court, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had rejected a similar request from the tobacco companies, finding that states retained the ability to regulate tobacco products despite federal laws giving regulatory powers to the Food and Drug Administration.
The California state legislature had passed a bill in 2020 that banned most flavored tobacco products. However, because the law qualified for referendum, it was put on hold pending the statewide vote.
The ban is set to go into effect beginning on Dec. 22.
Read more here.
Washington to expand health care to undocumented
The Biden administration has approved an application by Washington state to expand health insurance access for all residents regardless of immigration status by allowing it to forgo requirements set by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Treasury Department approved Washington’s application for a State Innovation Waiver, issued under Section 1332 of the ACA. The application for this waiver was submitted in May.
Washington state specifically sought to be granted an exception from a part of the ACA that excluded people living in the U.S. illegally from being eligible for qualified health plans, which are plans certified by the federal government that meet requirements set by the ACA.
“The waiver will help Washington work towards its goals of improving health equity and reducing racial disparities by expanding access to coverage for the uninsured population through the state Exchange, all the while not increasing costs for those currently enrolled,” the departments said in a statement.
The approval of this waiver is contingent on the state accepting specific terms and conditions. If these requirements are agreed on, then the waiver will go into effect from the beginning of 2024 to the end of 2028.
Roughly 20 other states have applied for and received approval of ACA Section 1332 waivers, including Alaska, Georgia, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Pennsylvania. In cases where applications were not approved, the agencies often determined that they were incomplete.
Read more here.
FAUCI: ‘I COULDN’T STAND THERE AND BE COMPLICIT’ WITH TRUMP
Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said in an interview with CNN’s Chris Wallace that he could not be “complicit” with former President Trump about the misinformation he spread while serving as commander in chief amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fauci told Wallace in the interview that aired Sunday “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace” that Trump clearly was making statements throughout the pandemic not based on scientific fact and data.
“I have such a great deal of respect for the office of the presidency that it just made me very uncomfortable, but I had to do it, Chris, because I couldn’t stand there and be complicit in saying hydroxychloroquine works when it doesn’t, you know, bleach works. It doesn’t. The virus is going to go away like magic. It’s not,” he said, referring to false statements Trump made about the virus while serving as president.
Fauci, who is stepping down from government work at the end of the year, said he recognizes he created a “growing enmity” from Trump and his allies for disagreeing with him, which he said he did not desire.
Read more here.
SCIENTISTS LINK 1 IN 100 HEART DISEASE DEATHS TO SEVERE WEATHER
Combing through four decades worth of global data on heart disease patients, the authors of a new study found that such extremes were collectively responsible for about 11.3 additional cardiovascular deaths for every 1,000 such incidents.
Patients with heart failure were more likely than those with other types of heart disease to face negative impacts from very cold and hot days, the authors observed, publishing their findings on Monday in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.
These individuals experienced a 12 percent greater risk of dying on extreme heat days and a 37 percent increased risk of dying on extreme cold days, in comparison to optimal temperature days in a given city, according to the study.
While the precise measure of weather extremes varied from city to city, the researchers defined this as the top and bottom 1 percent of the temperature at which the lowest death rate is achieved.
The apparent link between temperature extremes and patient outcome “underscores the urgent need to develop measures that will help our society mitigate the impact of climate change on cardiovascular disease,” study co-author Haitham Khraishah, a fellow at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said in a statement.
Read more here.
White House: Attacks on Fauci ‘incredibly dangerous’
The White House on Monday condemned social media attacks against Anthony Fauci days after Twitter owner Elon Musk posted a tweet mocking the infectious disease expert.
Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, asked about Musk’s tweets criticizing Fauci, called them “personal attacks” that are “incredibly dangerous.”
“They are disgusting and they are divorced from reality, and we will continue to call that out and be very clear about that,” Jean-Pierre said, noting Fauci has served under seven presidents total, both Republicans and Democrats.
“We are fortunate that he has devoted his career and his life and his exceptional talent to America’s public health, and that’s what should be discussed right now,” she continued. “That’s what we should be thankful to him about, and again, these are incredibly dangerous and should be called out.”
Musk over the weekend caused a stir when he tweeted, “My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci,” and shared a meme edited to show Fauci telling Biden, “Just one more lockdown, my king.”
Read more here.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Cause of death: Washington faltered as fentanyl gripped America (Washington Post)
Diabetes care gets major update: More aggressive approach to weight loss, cholesterol, disparities recommended (USA Today)
Coming soon: Permanent Covid-19 safety rules for health care workers (Stat)
LGBTQ, health groups see divide on digital protection bill (Roll Call)
STATE BY STATE
Fentanyl cuts a bitter swath through Milwaukee (The New York Times)
Will abortion access be on Ohio’s ballot in 2023? One group sets sights on next year (Cincinnati Enquirer)
‘End of our rope’: Respiratory season pushes day cares, parents to a breaking point (News & Observer)
THE HILL OPED
Undiagnosed cancer could be the next health crisis — and we aren’t ready
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.