Health Care

Health Care — Fauci to retire from government after five decades

Toy company Mattel is delving into its vaults to reintroduce brands that haven’t been seen in decades, like Big Jim and Pulsar. Should Barbie be worried? 

Today in health care, Anthony Fauci announced plans to retire from government after a career spanning seven administrations. We’ll look at what he’s saying and when he plans to step down.

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 and Joseph Choi. Subscribe here.

Fauci to retire before Biden leaves office

The Fauci era may be coming to an end in the foreseeable future.

Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, said Monday he plans to retire by the end of Biden’s term in office.

  • “By the time we get to the end of the Biden administration term, I feel it would be time for me to step down from this position,” Fauci told The Washington Post.
  • “We’re in a pattern now. If somebody says, ‘You’ll leave when we don’t have COVID anymore,’ then I will be 105,” Fauci told Politico, which first reported on Fauci’s plans. “I think we’re going to be living with this.” 

Fauci said the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), where he is the director, had “the best people in the country” to carry out his vision.

The Brooklyn-born immunologist has served as director of the NIAID since 1984, most notably working on HIV-AIDS research before becoming a leading health authority during the COVID-19 pandemic, earning both praise and derision from the public and lawmakers.

Fauci has advised seven presidents on public health issues. His working relationship with former President Trump was famously fraught during the COVID-19 pandemic, as Fauci often had to counter unfounded claims made by the president. 

Read more here


EVENT INVITE

The Hill’s Future of Health Care 2022, Tuesday, July 19 at 8 a.m. ET — Washington, D.C., or On-Demand

The pandemic has highlighted the pitfalls and potential within our health care system. Join policymakers and health experts for a comprehensive discussion on advancing access, the pursuit of health equity and resetting the care paradigm across the U.S. Featuring: Dr. Anthony Fauci, CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, AMA president Dr. Jack Resneck, Dr. Mark McClellan and more. RSVP today

BA.5 spurs calls to fund next-gen COVID vaccines

The rise of the BA.5 variant is spurring new calls for funding for an Operation Warp Speed 2.0 to accelerate development of next-generation COVID-19 vaccines that can better target new variants.

The BA.5 subvariant of omicron that now makes up the majority of U.S. COVID-19 cases is sparking concern because it has a greater ability to evade the protection of current vaccines than past strains of the virus did. 

Pfizer and Moderna are working on updated vaccines that target BA.5 that could be ready this fall, but experts say that by the time they are ready, a new variant very well could have taken hold.   

The promising alternatives:  

  • “Pan-coronavirus” vaccines that are “variant-proof,” targeting multiple variants
  • Nasal vaccines that could drastically cut down on transmission of the virus

The obstacle: There is ongoing research on these next-gen vaccines, but unlike in 2020, when the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed helped speed the development of the original vaccine, there is less funding and assistance this time.

COVID-19 funding that could help develop and manufacture new vaccines more quickly has been stalled in Congress for months. 

“There’s no Operation Warp Speed,” said Eric Topol, professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research. “So it’s moving very slowly. But at least it’s moving.” 

Read more here.

IDAHO GOP REJECTS ABORTION EXCEPTION

Idaho’s Republican Party on Saturday adopted language to their platform that supports the criminalization of abortion in all cases, rejecting an amendment that would have supported allowing a person to get an abortion to save their life. 

Delegates at the state’s GOP convention in Twin Falls approved changes to the party’s platform that went further than existing language classifying abortion as murder from the point of conception. The new language backs criminalization of all abortions in Idaho, according to the Idaho Capitol Sun

Scott Herndon, who is running unopposed for a state Senate seat, proposed the amendment, which he called a “declaration of the right to life for preborn children.” 

Herndon said even in the cases where a person’s life is endangered, doctors should not be giving priority to the person over the unborn child. 

“We will never win this human rights issue, the greatest of our time, if we make allowances for the intentional killing of another human being,” Herndon said, according to the Capital Sun.

Read more here

HOSPITAL SYSTEM PLANS TO DENY LGBT WORKERS FERTILITY COVERAGE

A Catholic hospital system operating 15 hospitals and another 132 facilities in Illinois and Michigan has adopted a policy to cover fertility treatment only for workers in opposite-sex marriages.

Illinois-based OSF HealthCare, which has more than 24,000 health care workers, changed the language of its fertility treatment policy to explicitly refer to opposite sex-couples, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg Law, meaning employees who are in same-sex marriages would not be covered. 

The policy could be illegal under federal laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. 

It would also would likely run afoul of the 2020 U.S. Supreme Court case Bostock v. Clayton County, which ruled an employer cannot discriminate against an individual based on their sexual orientation, as it would violate Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. 

OSF HealthCare is owned by the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, a Roman Catholic organization in Peoria, Ill. 

Read more here

Abortion fight comes to House, Senate floors 

Legislative battles over abortion access are heating up in the House and Senate as Democrats look to raise pressure on Republicans.

A round of bills aimed at protecting abortion access that were introduced by Democrats were considered on Capitol Hill last week, leading to the first instances of lawmakers butting heads over such legislation since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month. 

Though the bills are unlikely to pass in the evenly divided Senate, where they would require bipartisan support to overcome the legislative filibuster, Democrats are pushing for action in the aftermath of the court’s decision and seeking to get GOP members of Congress on the record objecting to legislation on the issue in an apparent attempt to paint Republicans as going to extremes to stop abortions. 

Targeted legislation: The House on Friday passed a bill 223-205 that would protect out-of-state travel for abortion services, with three Republicans — Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) and Fred Upton (Mich.) — joining Democrats in voting for the measure. 

“It is absolutely important to get Republicans on the record to how far they will go to restrict a woman’s right,” Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) told The Hill. “Are they really saying that women should not be allowed to travel to another state to get a medical procedure?” 

President Biden has previously called on voters to elect more pro-abortion rights lawmakers when the Women’s Health Protection Act failed to pass in a Senate vote earlier this year. 

“We actually need to do all things,” Chu said of the multiple approaches Democrats are taking to protect abortion access. “There have been marches and demonstrations and rallies all across America on a continuous basis for these three weeks. We need to do that and we also need to point to the elections.” 

Read more here


WHAT WE’RE READING

  • Health care’s high rollers: As the pandemic raged, CEOs’ earnings surged (Stat)
  • Africa is being left behind as wealthy nations push 4th COVID booster shots (NPR)
  • Covid rises across U.S. amid muted warnings and murky data (The New York Times)

STATE BY STATE

  • Judge temporarily blocks West Virginia’s 1800s pre-Roe abortion ban (Axios)
  • Indoor masking returns to San Diego Unified School District (KGTV)
  • Medical residents struggle to receive training after Planned Parenthood halts abortion services in Wisconsin (Madison.com

OP-EDS IN THE HILL

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.

VIEW THE FULL EDITION HERE

Tags abortion access Anthony Fauci Anthony Fauci BA.5 BA.5 variant Joe Biden NIAID NIH

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File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

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In this photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev telegram channel, a rescuer gestures as he helps people during an evacuation after storm and flooding in Sevastopol, Crimea, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. A storm in the Black Sea took down power grids and left almost half a million people without power after it flooded roads, ripped up trees and damaged buildings in Crimea, Russian state news agency Tass said. (Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev's telegram channel via AP)
In this photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev telegram channel, a rescuer gestures as he helps people during an evacuation after storm and flooding in Sevastopol, Crimea, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. A storm in the Black Sea took down power grids and left almost half a million people without power after it flooded roads, ripped up trees and damaged buildings in Crimea, Russian state news agency Tass said. (Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev's telegram channel via AP)

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