Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids — Trump signs order to improve kidney disease treatment | Poll finds support for abortion rights at highest point in decades | New facility for migrant kids could cost $300M

Welcome to Wednesday’s Overnight Health Care.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpS&P 500 breaks 3,000 for first time Strife between Seoul and Tokyo makes Kim Jong Un’s DMZ victory even more valuable Chamber of Commerce hires former Giuliani, Cruz campaign aide MORE is looking to shake up kidney treatment with an executive order, a new poll shows record support for abortion rights, and HHS has opened a new facility for migrant children. 

We’ll start with Trump making more health care news…


Trump signs executive order aimed at improving kidney disease treatment

President Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order that he says would improve the lives of patients with kidney disease while lowering health care costs. Kidney disease is the ninth-leading cause of death in the United States and accounts for 20 percent of annual Medicare spending, or about $110 billion, according to HHS.

The order instructs federal agencies to pursue strategies that will diagnose kidney disease 

sooner, make treatments less expensive and encourage more people to donate healthy kidneys.

“President Trump is the first president in 50 years to tackle this with the boldness to actually say we’re going to transform such a major area impacting so many Americans and one-fifth of the spending in Medicare,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

A key part of the plan would shake up a multibillion-dollar industry, run by two dialysis companies, that favors expensive treatment in health centers instead of home-based services that can be easier for patients. Currently, only 12 percent of dialysis patients receive treatment at home. Patients who receive dialysis in centers often go multiple times a week, which can be burdensome and tiring, Azar said. 

The administration wants to change that. Doing so means tweaking the payment incentives for doctors and dialysis systems, to make it so Medicare pays more for at-home treatment.

The irony: The effort was lauded by patient advocate organizations as a positive step, with the potential to revolutionize dialysis and kidney transplantation. But, the authority to take such drastic steps without Congress comes from the HHS Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). And CMMI was created under ObamaCare, which, if you’ll remember, the administration told a federal judge on Tuesday needs to be completely invalidated.

Read more on the initiative here.

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Support for abortion rights at highest point in decades: poll

Support for abortion remaining legal in the U.S. is at its highest point in more than two decades, according to a poll released Monday. 

Sixty percent of adults say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to a Washington Post–ABC News poll. This comes as several states with conservative legislatures have passed laws restricting access to the procedure. 

That support tops the 55 percent who said abortion should be legal in all or most cases in the same poll in 2013. It is the highest level of support since 1995, when the same percentage of respondents supported the procedure remaining legal.

Caveat: The poll does show that most Americans want to see some limits on the procedure.

Twenty-seven percent said abortion should be legal in all cases and 33 percent said it should be legal in most cases, while 22 percent said it should be illegal in most cases. Fourteen percent said it should always be illegal. 

Context: The poll comes as several states pass extremely restrictive laws seeking to ban abortion in almost all instances. 

Read more here


Newly opened facility for migrant children expected to cost up to $300 million

A newly opened “temporary” facility to house unaccompanied migrant children could cost up to $300 million and stay open through January 2020, the Trump administration says.

The Carrizo Springs facility in Texas officially opened June 30, and currently houses about 225 children. It is eventually expected to hold up to 1,300, which would make it one of the largest facilities for unaccompanied minors in the country, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The shelter, which was formerly used as a lodging facility for oil field workers, is one of two temporary “influx” shelters, the other being the Homestead facility in Florida. That facility is the administration’s largest for unaccompanied children and currently houses around 2,300 children, but the number changes daily.

Federal officials say opening Carrizo and other new influx facilities will help ease the pressure on detention centers run by the Department of Homeland Security near the U.S.-Mexico border, like one in Clint, Texas, that has received recent scrutiny.

Lawyers visiting the detention center in Clint reported children living in squalid conditions and being held long past the legally required 72-hour deadline. The reports have set off a firestorm of protests and triggered congressional inquiries. HHS officials paint a drastically different picture of facilities like Carrizo from the DHS detention centers. While advocates and some Democratic lawmakers have referred to the facilities as prison camps, HHS says children are well cared for at the facilities.

The goal of HHS facilities, they say, is to reunite the children with a sponsor– usually a parent, guardian or relative.

Read more here

Also at The Hill

More than 160 children with type 1 diabetes made a personal plea for lawmakers to approve more funding to research the disease at a hearing Wednesday before the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

The United Kingdom’s health care service, the NHS, is partnering with Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa to deliver medical advice to users from the service’s official website.

What we’re reading 

As Texas seeks to overturn ObamaCare, attention focuses on a potential swing judge (Texas Tribune)

There’s nothing to give them’: the hunt for lifesaving EpiPens (Bloomberg)

Medicare going in ‘right direction’ on opioid epidemic (Kaiser Health News

So you want to overturn ObamaCare. Here are some things that would be headaches. (The New York Times)

Why Big Tobacco sends 20-somethings to pass out cigarette coupons in bars (Vox)


State by state

Utah health care panel objects to state’s partial Medicaid expansion plan (Salt Lake Tribune)  

California becomes first state to allow undocumented young adults access to Medicaid (Associated Press)


From The Hill’s opinion page:

Taking the ‘surprise’ out of medical billing 

Read More…

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