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Hobby Lobby Bill Fails - Health Care Edge: Brought to you by America's Biopharmaceutical Companies

Hobby Lobby Bill Fails

By Sophie Novack and Sam Baker

 

NO DICE: The Senate failed to end debate yesterday on a Democratic bill to reverse the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling, The bill could come back up later, but passing it isn't really the goal -- after all, it's dead in the House no matter how many times the Senate votes. At this point, it's a campaign tool for Democrats and their allies. Democrats hope keeping the issue alive will help them rally female voters -- and that it'll provide more openings for a Republican candidate to say something stupid, a la Todd Akin in 2012.

Top Health Care News

HOBBY LOBBY BILL: All Senate Democrats were joined by three Republicans to vote in support of the bill to require employers to cover contraception regardless of their religious beliefs, but the final vote of 56-43 fell short of the 60 needed to end debate and bring it to a vote. (Paige Winfield Cunningham, Politico)

LAWMAKERS SLAM LAX SAFETY MEASURES AT CDC: House members questioned Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden Wednesday over how the agency let poor handling of deadly pathogens continue in labs, despite years of warnings.

 

"In hindsight, we realize we missed a crucial pattern," Frieden said. (Mike Stobbe, Associated Press)

WHAT IF BOEHNER WINS?: Legal experts are pretty united in doubting that the House has legal standing to sue President Obama over the employer mandate. But they're divided over the merits of the case -- whether delays in enforcing the mandate were, in fact, legal. Some Obamacare allies say a win for the House's lawsuit would eviscerate presidential power; others say these delays were unusual, and that Republicans might even be right on the merits -- if their case even gets that far. (Sam Baker, National Journal)

Contraception

DEMOCRATS' PLAN TO CREATE THE NEXT TODD AKIN: The more Democrats keep the national conversation focused on reproductive rights, the thinking goes, the more time will be spent on an issue where Democrats believe they have the upper hand—and the more likely a GOP candidate is to doom his campaign with an Akin-like gaffe. (Sophie Novack, National Journal)

HOBBY LOBBY FAMILY'S NEXT PROJECT: The Green family, which owns the Hobby Lobby stores and just won a victory in the contraception mandate case at the Supreme Court, is looking to build a permanent Bible museum two blocks from the National Mall. The project is raising concerns that it could blur the line between educating and evangelizing. (Alan Rappeport, New York Times)

 

Implementation

A NEW OBAMACARE CHALLENGE: CONFUSED ENROLLEES: Organizations around the country are being flooded with questions from consumers on how to use their new health insurance. (Lena H. Sun, Washington Post)

THE ADMINISTRATION IS LOOKING FOR THE NEXT OBAMACARE WEBSITE CONTRACTOR: The White House changed its contract solicitation Wednesday. (Dustin Volz, National Journal)

WHY THE POLITICIZED COURT SYSTEM BODES BADLY FOR OBAMACARE: "Despite clear signs of health care reform's success, the Affordable Care Act faces a long road of legal hurdles ahead." (Norm Ornstein, National Journal)

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Congress

HOUSE VOTES TO BLOCK DC FROM USING ITS MONEY ON HOT BUTTON ISSUES: The House passed its annual appropriations bill for financial services and "general government" Wednesday, which stops Washington, D.C. from using its own funds to cover abortions, enforce gun laws, or decriminalize marijuana. (Sam Baker, National Journal)

Veterans Affairs

VA CHIEF: FIXING DELAYS WILL COST BILLIONS: Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson told lawmakers Wednesday that fixing the problems that led to the department's waitlist scandal will cost $17.6 billion over the next three years, requiring the hiring of around 1,500 doctors and 8,500 nurses and other clinicians. (Richard A. Oppel Jr., New York Times)

Illness

THE FDA DISCOVERED MORE THAN SMALLPOX IN STORAGE: Officials from the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that more than 300 other vials with influenza, dengue, Q fever, rickettsia, and other possible viruses were found along with the six smallpox vials in the unused National Institutes of Health storage room. (Hoai-Tran Bui and Alison Young, USA Today)

REPORT: NUMBER LIVING WITH HIV SAME FOR TWO YEARS: There were 35 million people living with HIV worldwide last year and in 2012, according to a report released by the United Nations AIDS agency Wednesday. (Maria Cheng, Associated Press)

Drugs

STUDIES: RISKS FOR HEART DRUG NIACIN: Despite being widely used to lower cholesterol, Niacin may cause severe side effects, and does not seem to reduce rates of heart attack, chest pain, or stroke, according to two reports published Wednesday. (Maggie Fox, NBC News)

IS ONCE-A-DAY HIV PREVENTION PILL TRUVADA REALLY 99 PERCENT EFFECTIVE?: Not necessarily. (Josh Barro, New York Times)

NOVARTIS PROFIT FALLS SHORT OF ESTIMATES: "Novartis AG (NOVN), the world's largest drugmaker by revenue, reported second-quarter profit that missed analysts' estimates, dragged down by declining sales and a worsening loss in the vaccine division it's selling." (Simeon Bennett, Bloomberg)

PATIENTS SUE MEDICAID FOR DENYING A COSTLY DRUG: Patients filed a lawsuit against officials in Arkansas, where the state's Medicaid program is limiting access to Kalydeco, a $300,000-a-year cystic fibrosis treatment.

Expensive new drugs are showing treatment promise, but putting pressure on resource-limited government insurance programs. Some Medicaid programs are restricting access to Sovaldi, the expensive new hepatitis C drug, to only the sickest patients. (Joseph Walker, Wall Street Journal)

A CASE FOR WHY THE EXPENSIVE NEW HEPATITIS C DRUG IS A GREAT DEAL: Most Americans think Sovaldi, which costs $84,000 for a full treatment, is far too expensive, but health economists say it's actually a great deal. (Sarah Kliff, Vox)

Nutrition

HEALTH OFFICIALS SAY FOOD LABEL CHANGES ARE NOT SUFFICIENT: The Food and Drug Administration has proposed two versions for its overhaul of nutrition labels, but advocates say these don't go far enough in telling consumers what foods are actually good for them. (Mary Clare Jalonick and Lauran Neergaard, Associated Press)

Happening Today

We're monitoring the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit for a decision on Halbig v. Sebelius, which could come any day now. The lawsuit challenges the legality of government subsidies for ACA plans on the federal marketplace, and if successful, could have a devastating effect on the health care law. The D.C. court has been known to release decisions on Tuesdays and Fridays between 10 and 11 a.m.

House E&C hearing on "21st Century Technology for 21st Century Cures," at 9:30 a.m.

Senate HELP Committee Primary Health and Aging Subcommittee hearing on improving patient safety, at 10 a.m.

Milken Institute and AdvaMed release a report on the impact of medical technology on the economic burden of disease at 12:30 p.m. at the National Press Club.

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Don't Miss Today's Top Stories

Health Care Edge is one of my top resources."

Meghan, Associate Specialist

Great news in short form along with much needed humor."

Patrick, President of private healthcare consulting firm

Informative and help[s] me stay on track. "

Director of Scientific Affairs, Non-profit medicial society

Sign up form for the newsletter
 
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