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Health Care — Biden lauds vax for young kids, swipes at DeSantis

Health Care — Biden lauds vax for young kids, swipes at DeSantis

What’s it like to be a retired Westminster Kennel Club Champion? For last year’s champion, Wasabi the Pekingese, it’s pretty much the same as it ever was. 

Today in health care, President Biden celebrated COVID-19 vaccines becoming available for the youngest kids while taking a swipe at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

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.

Biden: No one should prevent vax of young kids

President Biden on Tuesday took a swipe at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for declining to devote state resources to help providers pre-order COVID-19 vaccines for young kids ages 5 and under. 

Biden spoke at the White House to celebrate the day vaccines became available for children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years, the last group of Americans to be eligible. 

“Let’s be clear, elected officials shouldn’t get in the way to make it more difficult for parents who want their children to be vaccinated and want to protect them and those around them,” Biden said.  

“This is no time for politics. It’s about parents being able to do everything they can to keep their children safe.” 

Flashback: DeSantis has been taking heat from infectious disease experts as well as national and state Democrats for his decision not to preorder from the federal government COVID-19 vaccines for infants and young kids.  

Florida was the only state that decided not to place an order. 

Read more here.

AARP urges Manchin to support drug negotiation

The AARP is launching a multimillion-dollar ad campaign across print, radio, cable and TV broadcast networks in West Virginia, urging Sen. Joe Manchin (D) to support a reconciliation bill that includes Medicare drug price negotiation. 

The ads will start Wednesday and run through July 5 in markets across the state. The television ad, titled “The Right Thing,” urges Manchin to “keep fighting for lower drug prices.” 

“Everybody knows Joe Manchin cares about West Virginians. And he knows too many of us are struggling to pay for our medicine. That’s why he supports letting Medicare negotiate lower drug prices,” the ad’s narrator says. 

Context: The ads come as Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) privately tries to negotiate with Manchin to resurrect a spending bill that addresses climate change and lowers prescription drug prices.  

Manchin has long supported action to lower drug prices, including price negotiation, and recently spoke at an AARP event in West Virginia to say Democrats must pass drug pricing legislation before the midterm elections.  

But progressives are angry with Manchin for killing the initial bill that would have accomplished that. Actions speak louder than words, according to a top Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) aide. 

Read more here.


Extreme weather events, like heavy rainfall, wildfires and heat waves, are occurring more and more frequently, partly due to climate change. 

This week, millions of people in the West and South are getting hit by a heat wave. While many people around the world have seen the effects of natural disasters year after year, people in the U.S. are increasingly experiencing these types of events as well.  

A new poll finds that the majority of households in the U.S. have been affected by extreme weather events, which have led to health and financial problems for some.  

Majority say they’re affected: The poll results and report released today from NPR, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 78 percent of adults in the U.S. say that they have been affected by extreme weather events in the past five years.  

For U.S. households who participated in the poll who say they’ve personally been affected by extreme weather events, some report serious health problems (24 percent) or financial problems (17 percent). Fourteen percent of them say that they’ve had to evacuate from their homes and 14 percent say that they’ve suffered damage to their home or property. 

Read more here.


The latest rash of mass shootings has reignited the national conversation on gun violence and mental health. 

It’s a pattern that leaves advocates such as Schroeder Stribling, president of Mental Health America, concerned about stigma and misunderstandings of mental illness. But she also sees room for action. 

“The most important thing is that people with mental health conditions are far more likely to be victims of gun violence than perpetrators,” Stribling said in a recent interview. “That message can get lost very, very quickly.”  

“We have great concerns around stigma,” she added. “So when there is a shooting and the people turn first of all [to]: ‘What was the mental health problem that caused it?’” 

Youth crisis amid pandemic: Stribling has been in her role at the nonprofit advocacy group about a year, coming to it as another crisis was resonating through the world of mental health: the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“You can just look right down the list of risk factors and see that there’s an acceleration of distress and crisis across the board,” she said. “However, clearly the five-alarm alarm is for youth.” 

Read the full profile here.

Mark Cuban’s drug prices could save Medicare $3.6B

Has Mark Cuban found a better way to buy generic drugs? 

A new study suggests the billionaire entrepreneur might be on to something.  

Medicare could have saved up to $3.6 billion in 2020 if it bought generic drugs at the prices paid by billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban’s drug company, according to a new study.   

The study from researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, suggests inefficiencies in the way Medicare currently pays for generic drugs.   

What is Cuban’s company? The Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company, launched online at the start of this year, seeks to simplify the convoluted supply chain for drugs and offer savings to consumers. It offers commonly used generic drugs at a 15 percent markup, plus a $3 dispensing fee and $5 shipping fee. It does not accept insurance, meaning patients pay out of pocket.   

Significant savings: That simplified model saves a good deal of money, the study found. The $3.6 billion in savings amounts to 37 percent of the $9.6 billion that Medicare spent on the 89 drugs examined in the study. There were savings to be had on 77 of those drugs, and 12 with no savings.   

Read more here.


  • On Covid messaging, Biden is caught between politics and public health (Stat) 
  • Women are more likely than men to develop long COVID, study finds (ABC News) 
  • COVID-19 vaccines for kids under 5 are finally here, but most parents aren’t jumping in line (USA Today)


  • New Jersey backs down from $34 million fight with health insurer (Bloomberg) 
  • Medi-Cal will cover doulas at more than twice California’s initial proposed rate (Kaiser Health News) 
  • Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signs abortion ban with no exceptions for rape, incest (The Daily Advertiser)

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.