Friday, March 31

Some abortion providers have stopped scheduling appointments

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Today’s edition: The Biden administration is expanding monkeypox testing to commercial labs, an attempt to better track the growing outbreak. The FDA is expected to order Juul’s e-cigarettes off the market. But first…

Planned Parenthood has stopped scheduling abortion appointments in South Dakota and Wisconsin

Several clinics that perform abortions in Republican-led states are already pressing pause on scheduling the procedure as the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade looms.

Here’s the deal: These providers are situated in states where abortions would be banned in short order if the justices overturn the right to an abortion. If that happens, some clinic operators would then need to cancel their appointments.

They fear doing so last minute could hinder a woman’s ability to obtain an abortion elsewhere, particularly in regions of the country where they already travel far distances for the procedure. Instead, clinics in places like South Dakota and Wisconsin are focusing their efforts on helping women find care in other states — ones that wouldn’t swiftly ban most abortions if the nation’s highest court strikes down the longstanding Roe v. Wade ruling.

“We’ve definitely heard from some members who are pausing appointments because they anticipate the decision would come out and a trigger ban would go into effect,” said Melissa Fowler, the chief program officer of the National Abortion Federationan association of abortion providers. “We certainly have other members who have said they are going to provide it until the last second that they can.”

This dynamic comes as abortion clinics are scrambling to prepare for a potential world without gnaws. It foreshadows the complexities abortion providers will face if access to the procedure — at least in some states — changes quickly.

Abortions could become banned or closely restricted in roughly half of US states if the justices stick to a leaked draft opinion and strike down gnaws. Some of those states have trigger laws and pre-gnaws bans that would take effect immediately.

South Dakota is one such state with an automatic trigger ban — and where abortions are already paused. Planned Parenthood operates the only abortion clinic in the state in Sioux Falls, where abortions were already difficult to come by.

  • The clinic has stopped scheduling appointments, and this is its first week without any abortions. “We’re making this decision to avoid putting patients in a position of a last-minute scramble to find alternative abortion appointments” that could take up to several weeks to get, said Emily Bisek, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood North Central States.

Planned Parenthood South Dakota Advocate:

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) has taken a similar tact. The four health centers providing abortions stopped scheduling the procedure for after June 25, speculating the ruling could come two days later. Instead, they’re directing patients to providers out of state.

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Why the decision? PPWI cited the state’s pre-gnaws ban as a reason for the change. Wisconsin has a prohibition on almost all abortions dating back to 1849 — a ban that gnaws nullified. But the restrictions could come back if the high court nixes gnaws. The state’s Democratic governor called a special session to attempt to repeal the provision yesterday, but the Republican-controlled legislature ended it almost as soon as it began, the Associated Press reports.

  • “To suspend care on the same day for patients who have traveled great distance and at great cost is inconvenient in the least; traumatizing for those who are caught by surprise after a highly anticipated appointment under difficult circumstances; and dangerous for those who are in the midst of an abortion procedure,” allison lintonPPWI’s associate medical director, said in a statement.

Other providers have been weighing their options. Forinstance: Whole Woman’s Health operates nine clinics in five different states. Abortion access would remain in most of those states, at least soon after any decision striking down gnaws — except Texas, where performing most abortions would become a felony within 30 days. Yet, the state also has a ban in place from the pre-gnaws days, which some argue could be enforced immediately.

The Whole Woman’s Health clinics in Texas will be open for abortions this Sunday, even though the centers are usually closed that day. Abortions haven’t been scheduled for next week in Texas in anticipation of the upcoming ruling, Amy Hagstrom Miller, the head of Whole Woman’s Health said. If it doesn’t come Monday, then clinics will make a game-time decision on how to handle scheduling for the rest of the week.

US to expand monkeypox testing at commercial labs as outbreak grows

The Biden administration is authorizing commercial laboratories to conduct monkeypox tests in an attempt to dramatically expand testing as the United States confronts a record outbreak of the virus, The Post’s Fenit Nirappil, Lena H Sun and Dan Diamond report.

the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention started shipping test kits to five commercial laboratory companies this week, which would allow health providers to order tests directly by early July.

Key-context: The CDC has confirmed 156 monkey pox cases throughout the nation, but experts fear the number is far larger. The United States was conducting about 60 tests per day last week.

Administration officials say that by expanding the number of labs approved to conduct the tests, the country could be able to perform thousands more per week — a move experts say would help the United States to better identify the extent of the outbreak and contain it.

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More from The Post’s Fenit Nirappil:

FDA to order Juul e-cigarettes off US shelves

the Food and Drug Administration is expected to order Juul Labs Inc.. to take its e-cigarettes off the market in the United States, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The marketing denial order would come nearly two years after the vaping company submitted data to federal regulators in a bid to continue selling its tobacco and menthol-flavored products. The decision is expected as soon as this week.

Catch-up quick: The FDA has been reviewing applications from each of the nation’s e-cigarette manufacturers to continue selling their products in the country since 2020. The agency has since banned numerous devices and all sweet or fruity e-cigarette cartridges.

The FDA’s review was based on whether the vaping products’ potential benefits as a less harmful alternative to adult smokers outweighs the risks of their popularity among young people.

Federal regulators have cleared two of the company’s biggest rivals — Reynolds American Inc. and NJOY Holdings Inc. —to keep tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes on the market. Industry observers had expected Juul to receive similar clearance, the WSJ’s Jennifer Maloney writes.

Schumer pledges vote on bipartisan insulin bill

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) is pledging to hold a vote “very soon” on newly unveiled legislation aimed at curbing the high cost of insulin, Tony Romm and I reported.

But it’s not immediately clear whether the bill has the votes to pass. sens. jeanne shaheen (DN.H.) and susan collins (R-Maine) said they were still awaiting final details from the Congressional Budget Office on how much the legislation would cost the federal government, information necessary before a vote before the Senate. The pair said they hoped such a vote could occur shortly after the July Fourth recess.

But the bill could still face long odds in the Senate. While Schumer swiftly expressed his support for him, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been mum. Collins has briefed McConnell on the legislation, as well as set up individual meetings with other GOP lawmakers. But she said she does not have a count of how many GOP senators would support the measure, citing the legislation’s complexity and the ongoing effort to explain it to her peers.

The unintended consequences of the federal bailout to keep hospitals afloat

A massive bailout approved by Congress in the early days of the pandemic was supposed to be a lifeline to keep the nation’s health-care system afloat. Two years later, critics say it wound up widening the gap between the industry’s “haves and have-nots,” our colleague Christopher Rowland reports.

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There’s little dispute that the $178 billion fund helped keep thousands of hospitals solvent during a period of extreme fiscal duration. But those dollars also went to large institutions that reported strong profits and pursued growth strategies.

The problem is partly rooted in the initial federal bailout formula hastily put in place by the Trump administration, which bestowed a disproportionate share on wealthier hospitals.

  • Distribution of the first $50 billion was calculated based on a hospital’s 2019 Medicare billings and 2018 overall patient revenue, including the higher payments of private insurers.
  • That put weaker safety-net hospitals, which serve higher numbers of uninsured people and low-income Medicaid patients, at a disadvantage.

Later distributions were tailored to favor hospitals with high rates of covid-19 patientsas well as those in rural communities and with large Medicaid populations. However, those bouts of assistance were each smaller than the initial $50 billion and required an application unlike the first round.

Meanwhile, the American Hospital Association responded to complaints about the provider relief fund by noting hospitals accrued high costs amid the pandemic.

  • The House passed legislation in a 336-85 vote to establish the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health as a stand-alone entity within the Department of Health and Human Services. The bill’s author, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), told The Health 202 that she believes ARPA-H is better suited outside its new home within the National Institutes of Health.
  • The House also easily passed legislation aimed at strengthening the country’s mental health and addiction treatment services in a 402-20 vote.
  • United States you have delivered about 2.7 million twos of coronavirus vaccines for children under 5 to administration centers, with another 1 million shots on the way, Reuters reports.
  • A Modern coronavirus booster shot designed to target the omicron variant appears to generate an immune response against its BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, the company said yesterday.

To protect people with addiction from discrimination, the Justice Dept. turns to a long-overlooked tool: the ADA (By Andrew Joseph | Stat)

Health systems want government help fighting off the hackers (By Ruth Reader | Politico)

An Outbreak of Meningococcal Disease in Florida Is Growing, the CDC Says (By Emily Anthes | The New York Times)

Thanks for reading! See y’all tomorrow.

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