Welcome to Tuesday night health care, where we follow the latest policy developments and news affecting your health. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.
With Thanksgiving this week, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission has a safety message: stand near your pot.
Today we’ll look at the pressure from the Biden administration for a federal court to reinstate the vaccine or workplace testing mandate.
For The Hill, we are Peter Sullivan ([email protected]), Nathaniel Weixel ([email protected]) and Justine Coleman ([email protected]). Write us with tips and comments, and follow us on Twitter: @ PeterSullivan4, @NateWeixel and @ JustineColeman8.
Let’s get started.
Mandate saga: Biden seeks to restore order
The Biden administration on Tuesday asked a federal court to reinstate a workplace vaccination warrant that was suspended earlier in November, as authorities seek to increase the number of vaccinations as the months of approaching. winter.
In court documents filed overnight, the administration urged a Cincinnati-based federal appeals court to lift a court order blocking the public health rule, which requires large companies to ensure their employees receive COVID-19 vaccine or undergo regular testing and wearing masks.
“Delaying this standard would endanger thousands of people and probably cost many lives a day,” argued government lawyers. “With the reopening of workplaces and the emergence of the highly transmissible variant Delta, the threat to workers is continuous and overwhelming.”
The move comes amid an increase in COVID-19 cases nationwide as the United States heads into its second holiday season during the pandemic, with many families who may have skipped gatherings l last year are now planning to get together for Thanksgiving.
Tuesday’s filing is the most important legal decision the administration has made since the vaccine warrant case was transferred earlier this month to the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, where many legal challenges have been combined into one legal action.
Read more here.
Channels responsible for the opioid crisis in Ohio: jury
A federal jury in Cleveland found Tuesday that three of the nation’s largest drugstore chains, Walgreens, CVS and Walmart, had helped fuel the opioid crisis in two Ohio counties.
The ruling was the first-ever ruling against the retail pharmacy industry and could set the tone for countless other lawsuits across the country seeking to hold pharmacies accountable for the influx of highly addictive opioid pills into communities. . The crisis has killed more than half a million Americans to date.
Jurors concluded that the actions of the drugstore chains had helped create a “public nuisance,” a strategy used by plaintiffs in thousands of other lawsuits nationwide.
It is now up to District Judge Dan Polster to decide how much businesses should pay Ohio and Trumbull counties. The plaintiffs claim more than a billion dollars for each county.
Upcoming calls: The verdict was based on the use of the state’s public nuisance law, which pharmacies said was poorly enforced. They may have an advantage on appeal: The public nuisance argument has already been dismissed twice this month in separate lawsuits against opioid manufacturers.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court overturned a verdict against Johnson & Johnson, and a California judge also ruled that Allergan, Endo, Johnson & Johnson and Teva could not be held responsible because the companies had no control over the how patients used their products once they hit the market.
Read more here.
RETURN OF MASK MANDATES IN 3 COUNTIES
Three Colorado counties near Denver are implementing mask warrants due to the rise in COVID-19-related hospitalizations in the state, the Associated Press reported.
The Adams County and Arapahoe County Health Boards voted on Monday to bring back mask warrants for indoor public spaces.
The mandate, which takes effect Wednesday, will remain in place until at least 10% of intensive care beds in the two counties are available, according to the AP.
As of Monday, 5.8% of intensive care beds were available, according to the AP, citing the counties public health order.
The Jefferson County mandate, which was approved by the board of directors on Monday, will also come into effect on Wednesday.
Read more here.
MICHIGAN HOSPITAL HEADS ADVOCATE WITH THE PUBLIC
The chief medical officers of health who oversee Michigan’s community hospitals have urged the public to do their part to stop the surge in coronavirus infections amid near-record hospitalizations and staff shortages in the state.
In a statement posted on the Michigan Health and Hospital Association website Monday, chief medical representatives said medical facilities had been inundated with COVID-19 patients.
As of Nov. 21, the statement said, Michigan saw 3,785 people hospitalized for COVID-19, including 784 in intensive care units at community hospitals. The majority of people hospitalized are not vaccinated, doctors said.
“In addition to this high number of COVID-19 patients requiring emergency care and hospitalization, we are seeing a high number of patients with other medical conditions requiring care,” the statement said.
Between COVID-19 infections and other illnesses unrelated to the coronavirus, officials warn, hospitals are at full capacity.
“We can no longer wait for Michigan to resume its journey; we need your help now to stop this wave and make sure our hospitals can care for everyone who needs it. ”
Read more here.
Panel Expands Investigation into Pandemic Aid Fraud
A Congressional subcommittee investigating financial fraud during the pandemic on Tuesday broadened the scope of its investigation to include two of the main processors of financial aid related to COVID-19.
Representative James Clyburn (DS.C.), who chairs the select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis, expanded the committee’s investigation into paycheck protection program (PPP) fraud to include Blue Acorn PPP, LLC and Womply, Inc., two online startups that processed a third of all PPP loans this year.
“I am deeply disturbed by reports that FinTech lenders and their banking partners have failed to properly vet PPP loan applications for fraud,” Clyburn said in a letter to each company. “This failure may have led to the granting of millions of dollars in FinTech-facilitated PPP loans to fraudulent, non-existent or otherwise ineligible companies.”
Pass: The Small Business Administration has authorized non-bank and uninsured depository institution lenders, including FinTechs, to provide loans to eligible recipients. However, some FinTechs and their banking and non-banking partners may have insufficiently screened applicants for financial crime and fraud indicators. At the same time, those same companies, including Blue Acorn and Womply, have each received more than $ 1 billion in public funds to process these potentially fraudulent loans.
Clyburn’s expansion of the investigation follows reports from the University of Texas at the McCombs School of Business in Austin that indicated possible widespread fraud by companies.
The school’s researchers found that fintechs are nearly five times more likely than traditional banks to have made “highly suspicious” loans through PPP.
Read more here.
WHAT WE READ
- The open registration for Obamacare is there; 1.6 million people have already registered (Forbes)
- Covid antivirals could be a game-changer in the event of a pandemic. But Americans might have a hard time accessing it (Statistics)
- As virus cases increase in Europe, an economic toll returns (New York Times)
STATE BY STATE
- Free Home COVID-19 Tests Coming Soon to New Hampshire Residents (WMUR)
- COVID-19 cases have jumped 59% in New England in the past 2 weeks (Boston Globe)
- Hospitals on high alert as more COVID-19 patients show up in Michigan (W X Y Z)
OP-EDS IN THE HILL
Mental health: the power to connect requires the power to invest
That’s all for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s healthcare page for the latest news and coverage. See you on Wednesday.