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Trump set to sign opioid bill into law. President Trump this afternoon will sign a sweeping bill into law that aims to reduce addiction and deaths from opioids. The bill, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, represents the work of several bipartisan committees in Congress over the course of several months. The law clocks a win for both parties ahead of Election Day for an issue that has contributed to more than 72,000 drug overdoses in 2017. The bill is meant to address several aspects of the opioid crisis — which involves overdose deaths from prescription painkillers and heroin — through medical research, expanding access to treatment, giving more tools to law enforcement, and allocating roughly $8.5 billion in funding authorized in appropriations bills passed earlier this year. The bill’s signing coincides with a White House event commemorating “a year of historic action to combat the opioid crisis.”

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Trump administration launches program for moms, babies with opioid withdrawal.  The Trump administration is launching a program to help states care for pregnant women who are using opioids and for their babies who are born dependent on the drugs. The Maternal Opioid Misuse program, or the "M-O-M model," will work with state Medicaid programs to help set up services for pregnant women who are dependent on opioids and their infants, who can develop condition known as neonatal abstinence syndrome.

FDA launches global crackdown on websites selling illicit opioids and drugs. The Food and Drug Administration and international law enforcement announced Tuesday that they are targeting 465 websites that illegally sell opioids and potentially dangerous drugs marketed as cures for cancer. The effort is part of an annual global campaign coordinated by the international law enforcement agency Interpol. “The illegal online pharmacies that we’re taking action against are often run by sophisticated criminal networks that knowingly and unlawfully distribute illicit drugs,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in an announcement of the crackdown. Some of the domains in question have seemingly innocuous names like or

Family behind powerful opioid OxyContin now being sued by county over opioid crisis. Purdue Pharma, the company behind OxyContin, has been sued by several states accusing the company of not divulging the addiction risks of opioids when peddling them to healthcare providers. But the Sackler family, the owners of Purdue, has largely escaped being named in litigation -- that is, until now. Suffolk County in New York said in a new legal filing that the family participated in marketing OxyContin as non-addictive when they knew that wasn’t the truth, according to a report from the Associated Press. A lawyer representing Suffolk told AP that about 200 local governments are also going to be targeting the Sacklers. Purdue Pharma is already being sued by more than 20 states over downplaying the risks of Oxycontin. A federal judge is also overseeing more than 1,000 lawsuits against the company as well as efforts to negotiate a major settlement among the groups.

Rick Scott highlights family’s illnesses to tout support for pre-existing conditions. Florida governor and Senate hopeful Rick Scott became the latest Republican to enlist his family to demonstrate support for pre-existing conditions, amid Democratic attacks that GOP healthcare policies would hurt sick people. Scott released an ad on Tuesday in which he says he supports forcing insurers to cover pre-existing conditions. The ad recounts that a member of Scott’s family had a rare hip disease, and that his mother had to travel more than 200 miles to a charity hospital to get care. Florida is one of 19 states is suing in federal court to overturn Obamacare, and with it, protections for pre-existing conditions.

Other Republicans in similar situations have also roped in family members to help argue that they favor protections for pre-existing conditions. Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley also released an ad that featured his family and in which he talked about his son’s pre-existing condition. Missouri, where Haley is challenging Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill, is one of the 20 states that are part of the lawsuit.

Heitkamp hits opponent for vote in latest ad. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-S.D., hit her opponent Rep. Kevin Cramer in a new ad for his vote to overhaul Obamacare. The ad features Blaine Kummer and his young son Owen, who spent the first year of his life in the hospital. “So he’ll always have pre-existing conditions,” Kummer said. A recent poll from Strategic Research Associates and a local NBC affiliate shows Heitkamp is trailing Cramer by 16 points.

Trump reiterates pledge to protect people with pre-existing conditions and Democrats won’t. Meanwhile, President Trump pressed ahead with the argument that Republicans are better than Democrats on the issue. He tweeted on Wednesday morning that Republicans “will totally” protect people with pre-existing conditions. “Democrats will not! Vote Republican,” he added.

Pennsylvania Democrat has 'Ah, f--k' moment in debate. A Democratic candidate for Congress dropped the f-bomb during an exchange over healthcare in a debate on Monday. Incumbent Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn., asked Democratic challenger Scott Wallace to back up the allegation that Fitzpatrick opposes protections for pre-existing conditions. Wallace became flustered, and out came, “Ah, fuck.”

Analysis: 102 million have pre-existing conditions, would be at risk without protections. Meanwhile, a new analysis from the consulting firm Avalere Health found that 102 million people have a pre-existing condition and could face higher premiums or costs if Obamacare is repealed. “With several recent proposals to repeal the ACA eliminating some of the pre-existing condition protections, consumers in the individual market could see a return to medical underwriting, which is the use of health information to vary premiums, or exclusion from coverage,” Avalere said, referring to the group of people who don’t get coverage through work or the government. The top pre-existing condition was heart disease, with nearly 28 percent, and mental health disorders, with 14 percent. Avalere used data from its 2015 Medical Expenditures Panel Survey, which looks into healthcare costs for the U.S. population.

“Virtually every American has someone with an existing health condition in their family at any given time,” said Dan Mendelson, founder of Avalere, in a statement. “This is why Americans are so concerned with the issue, and why they expect durable, bipartisan solutions that maintain and strengthen healthcare security.”

Survey: Short-term plans could tempt people out of Obamacare. Sixty-one percent of people surveyed by the private exchange eHealth said that they could be tempted to go without Obamacare plans in favor of short-term plans if it meant lower monthly premiums. Forty-three percent were now aware that the Trump administration will allow the sale of the plans for up to a year in most states The survey also found that 81 percent of respondents report they would give up coverage for maternity care and 57 percent would give up coverage for addiction and mental health. The survey used information from more than 1,500 people.

Kids face 'long shot' in climate lawsuit against the government. By pausing a landmark lawsuit filed by children who want to force the federal government to take action against climate change this past weekend, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts signaled that it's a long shot to succeed, according to legal experts. The suit, Juliana v. United States, involves 21 children who allege that inaction from government policymakers has worsened climate change, robbing future generations of their constitutional right to a healthy environment. The kids might not succeed in compelling the government to reduce emissions, but are drawing attention to the climate issue.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has 'beginning stages of dementia.' Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, has been diagnosed with the “beginning stages of dementia, probably Alzheimer’s,” she said Tuesday. “As this condition has progressed, I am no longer able to participate in public life,” O’Connor wrote in a letter to the nation. O’Connor, 88, was nominated to the Supreme Court by then-President Ronald Reagan in 1981 and confirmed by the Senate unanimously. O’Connor served on the court for 25 years and retired in 2006 to help take care of her husband, John, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Physicians having trouble keeping up with changes to payments, study says. A major development in healthcare is the push to change how physicians are compensated for care to to cut costs. But a new study from the RAND Corporation and the major doc group American Medical Association found that physician practices are struggling to keep up with the pace of change. “Physicians tell us that it’s more difficult than ever to understand the growing complexity of payment models and they are straining against a conflicting muddle of public and private value-based policies and rules that are continually in flux,” AMA President Dr. Barbara L. McAneny said in a statement. The study, a follow-up to one done in 2014, looked at payment models that included giving a doctor’s office a bonus if it prescribed more cost-effective medicines.

Six children dead from adenovirus outbreak at New Jersey facility. Six children have died from an adenovirus outbreak at a nursing and rehabilitation facility in New Jersey. The New Jersey Department of Health confirmed 18 cases of adenovirus among pediatric residents at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell and six deaths. A statement from the state health agency said a team found "minor handwashing deficiencies" at the facility on Sunday.


Axios Rising health costs hit poor families hardest

Washington Post Oversight of Trump administration’s Obamacare actions at top of Democratic wish list

STAT News Claire McCaskill is campaigning as big pharma’s sworn enemy, and that’s the way she likes it

Politico Voters in three states to decide abortion curbs as Supreme Court shifts right

Portland Press Herald Attorney General’s office Medicaid expansion lawsuit against Paul LePage

Kaiser Health News States explore paths to pay their share of Medicaid expansion: Using political GPS

NPR Rural Americans are worried about addiction and jobs, but remain optimistic



White House to host event commemorating “a year of historic action to combat the opioid crisis.” President Trump expected to sign the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act.

Oct. 23-24. Milken Institute Future of Health Summit. Details.

THURSDAY | Oct. 25

Oct. 25-26. Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission October meeting. Details.

MONDAY | Oct. 29

National Press Club. Book event on “Bad Advice” by Dr. Paul Offit. Details.