Welcome to Friday’s Overnight Health Care. It’s been another busy day of impeachment inquiry news, but don’t lose sight of a looming Supreme Court fight on abortion. And we’ve got news on measles and vaping.
We’ll start with abortion…
Supreme Court to hear Louisiana abortion case
Get ready for an election year showdown over abortion in the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court announced Friday it would take up an abortion case from Louisiana.
The case centers on a law in Louisiana that would require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, a requirement that critics say is designed to force abortion clinics to close.
The key thing to watch: Trump-appointed Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. This is the first abortion case to reach the Supreme Court since they joined the bench, possibly tilting the balance more toward abortion foes than it previously was under Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Also an eye on Chief Justice Roberts: The Supreme Court in February ruled 5-4 to block the law from taking effect while it was being challenged in court, with Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the liberal justices.
But it’s not certain whether Roberts’s decision in February means he will ultimately vote to block the law.
U.S. narrowly keeps measles elimination status
The U.S. is still on record as having eliminated measles, but barely.
The U.S. officially “eliminated” measles in 2000, but recent outbreaks threatened that status. A country is considered to have eliminated measles after the absence of a continuous spread of the disease for more than a year.
“CDC encourages Americans to embrace vaccination with confidence for themselves and their families. We want to emphasize that vaccines are safe. They remain the most powerful tool to preserve health and to save lives,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a statement.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were a confirmed 1,249 cases of measles between January 1 and Oct. 4, 2019, the greatest number of measles cases in the country since 1992.
While cases have been reported in 31 states, the CDC said 75 percent of all cases were linked to outbreaks in New York City and New York state, mostly among close-knit Orthodox Jewish communities where parents did not vaccinate their children.
These outbreaks have been traced to unvaccinated travelers who brought measles back from other countries at the beginning of October 2018.
Judge to rule Massachusetts vaping ban can continue amid court challenge
A U.S. district judge in Massachusetts is expected to deny a restraining order meant to halt a state ban on vaping products, according to USA Today.
U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani earlier on Friday said she will release a written order denying the order later in the day.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) passed a temporary four-month ban on all vaping products on Sept. 24 that took effect immediately and if not stopped, will run through Jan. 25. The ban includes both flavored and non-flavored vaping products, making it the strongest vaping ban in the country.
A statement released at that time indicated there had been 61 cases of vaping-related pulmonary disease reported in Massachusetts alone.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday said that there are over 1,000 cases nationwide of vaping-associated lung injury and that at least 18 Americans have died.
What we’re reading
Growing tumors in a dish, scientists try to personalize pancreatic cancer treatment (Stat News)
Why hospitals are getting into the housing business (Kaiser Health News)
State by state
Rensselaer county in New York bringing virtual ER service to Medicaid population (Albany Times-Union)
D.C. to move disabled Medicaid patients into private managed care plans (Washington City Paper)
Maine launches campaign to increase health coverage (Portland Press-Herald)