HEALTH CARE BRIEFING: Biden ends rule prohibiting abortion recommendations


Federally funded doctors can refer pregnant people to facilities that perform abortions according to a final rule released yesterday by the Biden government.

The move, a repeal of a final Trump-era rule (RIN 0937-ZA00) that prohibits such referrals, will take effect 30 days after its publication in the federal register. The Biden Rule was first proposed on April 14th. Opponents of the Trump-era rule had called it the “domestic gag rule” because it removed a requirement that providers offer pregnant people the opportunity to receive impartial advice on their options, including termination.

Providers can offer their patients “non-directive option advice” on prenatal care and childbirth, infant care, nursing, adoption and abortion as soon as the rule comes into effect.

The Final Rule is another example of the tension between the President’s agenda, the Supreme Court, and Congress when it comes to abortion. With a right-wing Supreme Court, the Biden government uses other avenues to uphold abortion law.

By order of the Trump administration, vendors were prohibited from using Title X funding to “conduct, promote, or support abortion as a family planning method.” Title X of the Public Health Services Act is a federal family planning grant program that funds community clinics and other facilities to provide these services. According to the Ministry of Health, the program supports “millions of low-income or uninsured people”.

Vendors receiving Title X funding are still prohibited from “promoting or performing an abortion directly” due to legal requirements. President Joe Biden’s ordinance requires clinics that receive federal funding to maintain “strict physical and financial segregation” from facilities that perform abortions. Read more from Allie Reed.

Guam Telehealth Abortion Fight On Hold: In Guam, officials trying to enforce a personal abortion counseling rule must wait for the Supreme Court to rule on a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, the Ninth District ruled. The Guam Federal Court blocked the requirement that women seek personal counseling from a qualified person at least 24 hours prior to the trial, which Guam officials appealed. Read more from Mary Anne Pazanowski.

On legislators’ radars

Biden tells progressives he’s open to means testing programs: Biden told a group of progressives and members of the House of Representatives yesterday that he was open to putting income limits on some of the programs in his social spending bill to bring the price down, according to a person familiar with the discussion.

During the virtual meeting, Biden also reiterated that he expects the legislation – which could increase healthcare spending, climate initiatives, and taxes for the rich and corporate – eventually by $ 1.9 trillion to $ 2.2 trillion Dollars would go down – from the originally proposed $ 3.5 trillion, said the person who asked for anonymity to discuss the private conversations. Washington representative Pramila Jayapal (D), head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said in a statement that the discussion with Biden was “productive and necessary” but did not provide details. Read more from Emily Wilkins.

  • Today, Biden is due to speak virtually to House of Democrats lawmakers to negotiate the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a larger tax and spending package on a White House schedule.

Nominations: Susan Harthill’s appointment as a member of the Occupational Safety and Health Commission was announced to the Senate yesterday, according to a White House press release.

Tribal accounts: The United States House of Representatives Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indigenous Peoples has convened a hearing to consider laws related to tribal health and land.

FCC commissioner set to testify in Senate telehealth hearing: Brendan Carr, Republican chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, will appear before a Senate panel on Broadband for Telehealth Services. The Committee on Communications of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transport will hold a hearing on Thursday “to examine the state of telemedicine and focus on removing barriers to access and improving patient outcomes,” the committee announced. Read more from Maria Curi.

Senators Drive Domestic Healthcare Production: A bipartisan Senate duo tabled a bill ordering health and social services to “maintain a voluntary list of domestic manufacturers producing medical supplies during severe bottlenecks and creating a streamlined process for US manufacturers” to work with HHS to address that Production capacity and technical support needs to be determined, a statement from Sens. Jacky roses (D-Nev.) And Bill Cassidy (R-La.) Says and cites Covid-19 as a readiness test.

The coronavirus pandemic

Biden vaccine ordering penetrates deep into the realm of contractors: New Covid-19 vaccination mandates for federal contractors have tentacles long enough to cover employees who are not directly involved in working with the government and those who work from home. The White House ordered that state contractors be fully vaccinated by December 8th. Lawyers say their contractor clients want to know how far the mandate extends to their workforce. Read more from Bruce Rolfsen.

China PCR Purchases Up Before First Known Cases: The Chinese province, which was the first epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak, bought significant equipment to test for infectious diseases months before Beijing notified international authorities of the emergence of a new coronavirus, an Australian-US cybersecurity firm found. Hubei’s purchase of PCR test equipment skyrocketed in 2019, with most of the increase occurring in the second half of the year. Read more from Jamie Tarabay.

US has half a million excess deaths in 2020: Racial and ethnic minorities were responsible for a disproportionate number of the half a million additional deaths last year, according to a new US study examining mortality directly and indirectly linked to Covid-19. The researchers compared the number of people who died from March to December 2020 with the number of deaths predicted before the pandemic. They found 477,200 additional deaths, with more than twice as many occurring among blacks, Latinos, Native Americans and Native Americans as those among whites and Asians of similar ages. About 74% of the excess deaths were attributed to Covid-19. Read more from Anushree Dave.

Other headlines:

What You Should Know Today

NIH Director Francis Collins is about to announce his retirement: Francis Collins, the doctor and geneticist who ran the U.S. National Institutes of Health through three presidential administrations, is expected to announce plans for retirement soon, people familiar with the matter said.

The move would leave a key position to fill the government’s pandemic response team. An announcement is expected today, said two of the people who asked for non-identification to discuss private information. Collins and the White House did not respond to a request for comment, and the NIH did not have an immediate response. Read more from Riley Griffin, Josh Wingrove and Jeannie Baumann.

SCOTUS returns with a skeletonized audience: The Supreme Court heard arguments in person for the first time in over 18 months yesterday and began a new term like never before in a quarter-filled courtroom with incoming questions from a judge in self-isolation about a Covid-19 diagnosis, reports Greg Stohr. The judges decided not to accept a handful of health care cases, including those involving Medicaid payments and opioids:

Also on the High Court’s radar:

FDA regulation eases the path for low-risk medical devices: Device makers will have a more efficient way to bring new, low-risk devices to market, according to a final rule released yesterday. The Food and Drug Administration rule sets out criteria and procedures for manufacturers to apply for de novo review, which allows products without previously approved comparators to be labeled as lower risk products and a faster route to approval. Alexis Kramer and Jeannie Baumann have more.

More states to use their own ACA registration platform: Kentucky, Maine, and New Mexico will migrate to their own state health insurance marketplaces when the Affordable Care Act 2022 open filing period begins in November. The three states were among six that were considered state marketplaces in 2021, but used the federal website to determine eligibility and add individuals to individual coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Read more from Tony Pugh.

Also from the courts & industry:

To contact the reporter about this story: Brandon Lee in Washington at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Zachary Sherwood at [email protected]; Giuseppe Macri at [email protected]; Michaela Ross at [email protected]

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