Healthcare — Rand Paul and Anthony Fauci face off in the latest spat

The owners of outdoor clothing brand Patagonia just donated the entire company to a nonprofit organization to help fight climate change.

Today Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Chief White House Medical Advisor Anthony Fauci got into another verbal sparring match, possibly the last we’ll see before Fauci resigns later this year.

Welcome to overnight health care, where we follow the latest developments in policies and news affecting your health. For The Hill we are Nathaniel Weixel and Joseph Choi. Subscribe here.

Paul argues with Fauci about vaccinations for children

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) feuded with White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci on Wednesday over whether children previously infected with COVID-19 should be vaccinated, the latest in his long-running feud with the country’s major infectious diseases doctor.

In 2004, during a Senate hearing on the government’s response to monkeypox, Paul played a clip of Fauci on C-SPAN. In the clip, Fauci told someone who had the flu that they didn’t need a flu shot.

Paul then pressed Fauci on why his comments about COVID-19 differed from what he said about the flu and why he recommended parents vaccinate their children even if they had previously been infected with the coronavirus.

Not the end: In the eyes of many right-wingers, Fauci has become a political lightning rod and a villain. Conservative media have painted him as the scapegoat for many of the nation’s missteps regarding the pandemic.

While he is stepping down later this year after more than 50 years in government, Republicans are unwilling to let him go quietly and will open investigations and subpoenas if they regain control of the House or Senate.

  • For example: Paul turned to berate Fauci about vaccine royalties and whether he or anyone on the agency committees that vote on vaccine approvals receives payments from drug companies.
  • “But I’ll tell you this: if we take charge, we’re going to change the rules and you’re going to have to disclose where you get your royalties from… and if anyone on the committee has a conflict of interest, we’re going to learn.” I promise you that.”

Read more here.

Graham creates an unwanted political problem for the GOP

Senate Republicans aren’t thrilled that Sen. Lindsey Graham (RS.C.), one of former President Trump’s staunchest allies, is creating a political problem for them by fueling the national abortion debate just ahead of the election that is infuriating Democratic voters has day.

Graham promised at a Tuesday news conference that Republicans will vote on a nationwide ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy when they regain control of the Senate in November.

But that idea fell flat with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who backed away from Graham’s proposal on Tuesday.

“As for his bill, you’ll have to ask him about it. In terms of planning, I think most members of my conference prefer that this be dealt with at the state level,” McConnell told reporters when asked whether the GOP controls the Senate after a vote next year.

Democratic Lifeline: Republican senators say McConnell failed to sanction Graham’s high-profile push to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy across the country and health care providers who defy the ban with prison terms of up to five years.

  • The proposal overshadowed Republicans’ attempts to capitalize on a bad day for Democrats: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday that inflation hit 8.3 percent year on year in August, with prices rising last month despite a decline in the gas price rose by 0.1 percent
  • A Republican senator close to McConnell said Republican Senate leaders wanted to keep the focus on President Biden and inflation and not be distracted by an abortion-rights debate that has been on the agenda for Democratic voters in recent weeks gave new energy to the election season.

Republicans in battleground states are trying to steer a growing voter backlash to the Supreme Court decision while appealing to the party’s grass roots, which are pushing for immediate action to impose outright abortion bans.

Read more here.

WORRY ABOUT THE STATE OF THE WORLD KEEPS AMERICANS UP AT NIGHT

Two years of stressful events, including the coronavirus pandemic, have kept concerned Americans awake.

A new Ohio State University poll found nearly one in five Americans has trouble falling asleep at night.

“Everyone is stressed and there is a lot of news. So I think the increase in stress could be one of the things that causes more people to lose sleep,” said Aneesa Das, professor of internal medicine at Ohio State University, in a press release.

“Stress can increase your heart rate, raise your blood pressure, upset your stomach and cause muscle tightness. All of these things increase our alertness and make it harder to fall asleep,” Das added.

Bad habits: The survey also found that nearly half of Americans scroll through their phones before bed, while 37 percent fall asleep with the TV on. More than a quarter sleep next to their pet.

Both of these practices can disrupt sleep quality because exposure to light drives the body clock to tell you to sleep or be awake.

Read more here.

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION SAYS THE END OF COVID-19 IS IN SIGHT

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday the end of the COVID-19 pandemic was “in sight” and that the world was “never in a better position” to achieve that long-awaited goal.

During a media briefing on Wednesday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the number of weekly COVID-19 deaths around the world has reached its lowest level since March 2020.

“We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic. We’re not there yet, but the end is in sight,” said Tedros. “If we don’t seize this opportunity now, we risk more variants, more deaths, more disruption and more uncertainty.”

Tedros’ comments are the most optimistic he has made on the state of the pandemic since the first days of March 2020.

He urged governments to invest in full immunization of the most vulnerable groups, continue virus surveillance and prepare for other potential waves.

Read more here.

House GOP leaders hedge against 15-week abortion ban

House Republicans will not commit to moving forward with a 15-week abortion ban if the party wins control of the House next year.

What you say:

  • “First we would have to see what our majority looks like,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said in a news conference on Wednesday, when asked if Republicans would put a bill on the floor banning abortion for 15 weeks, adding, “We are a pro-life party. We stand for life.”
  • representative Elise Stefanik (NY), chair of the House GOP conference and also a co-sponsor of the bill, told reports the legislation is “something we will discuss with a majority.”
  • Leader of the House Minority Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said he did not see the bill when asked by The Hill.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) drew swift attacks from Democrats and icy reactions from fellow Republicans after he introduced legislation in the Senate banning abortion for 15 weeks, as abortion appears to energize Democratic voters ahead of the midterm elections .

A version of Graham’s 15-week anti-abortion bill was introduced Tuesday in the House of Representatives with more than 80 co-sponsors led by House pro-life caucus leaders Chris Smith (RN.J.), Michelle Fischbach (R-Minn .), Andy Harris (R-Md.) and Kat Cammack (R-Fla.).

House Republicans previously enacted a 20-week abortion ban when they held control of the chamber in 2013 and 2017. The 15 week law is an updated version of this legislation.

Read more here.

WHAT WE READ

  • Southern’s lackluster monkeypox effort leaves LGBTQ+ groups to fend for themselves (Kaiser Health News)
  • “This is the pharma industry’s dream”: How drugmakers are turning telemedicine into a marketing goldmine (Stat)
  • Polio is back in rich countries, but it poses a much greater threat to developing countries (Science)

STATE BY STATE

  • California and New York want to curb sale of diet pills to minors (Kaiser Health News)
  • Disabled Voters Win in Wisconsin; Litigation Elsewhere (AP)
  • Colorado psychiatric workers are demanding equal pay. But a new state report says their prices are “reasonable”. (The Colorado sun)

OP EDS IN THE HILL

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Visit The Hill’s Health Care page for the latest news and reports. See you tomorrow.

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