Health Care — Graham says abortion access a federal issue

Conducting a social experiment during a national period of mourning seems like a normal thing to do. So, the Financial Times asked people in the miles-long queue how much it would cost to give up their spot in a line that took days to reach the front.

In an apparent about-face — though he says otherwise — Sen. Lindsey Graham
(RS.C.) said abortion access was “not a states’ rights issue.”

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, Nathaniel Weixel and Joseph Choi. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.

Graham: Abortion ‘not a states’ rights issue’

Sen. Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) on Tuesday said abortion is “not a states’ rights issue” as he continues to promote his legislation that would ban abortions nationwide after 15 weeks.

In an interview on “Fox & Friends,” Graham acknowledged that his legislation goes against conservative ideas of federalism and letting individual states decide their own laws.

  • “This is not a states’ rights issue. This is a human rights issue,” Graham said. “So, no matter what California or Maryland will do … I am going to advocate a national minimum standard.”
  • Graham’s comments come a week after he introduced the bill, the most serious effort to date by Republicans in Congress to pass a nationwide abortion restriction after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Calf.

Abrupt reversal: Graham, who just last month said the Supreme Court made the correct decision by leaving abortion decisions up to states, last week said he didn’t see a contradiction and was motivated to act following attempts by Democrats to enshrine abortion protections into federal law.

Graham said elected officials have the power to define and regulate abortion, including in Congress.

“Abortion is not banned in America. It’s left up to elected officials in America to define the issue. States have the ability to do it at state level. And we have the ability in Washington to speak on this issue if we choose,” Graham said at a press conference introducing his bill. “I have chosen to speak.”

Read more here.

CVS, Walmart reach $147M opioid settlement

CVS and Walmart have agreed to pay more than $147 million to settle lawsuits related to their alleged roles in West Virginia’s opioid crisis, State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) announced Tuesday.

The state alleged the pharmacies failed to maintain effective controls as a distributor and dispenser against diversion that contributed to oversupply of opioids in the state.

“These settlements won’t bring back the lives lost from the opioid epidemic, but these and other settlements will hopefully provide significant help to those affected the most by this crisis in our state,” Morrisey said in a statement.

Morrisey said Walmart agreed to a settlement of $65,070,000, and CVS agreed to a settlement of $82.5 million. The two were part of a larger trial involving other pharmacies that have yet to settle.

Litigation against the remaining pharmacy defendants — Walgreens and Kroger — continues before the Mass Litigation Panel with a trial date on June 5, 2023.

Read more here.


A key federal panel for the first time on Tuesday recommended that all adults under age 65 be regularly screened for anxiety.

A draft recommendation from the US Preventive Services Task Force is not final, and comments are open until Oct. 17, but the recommendations from the panel are usually adopted.

The task force also recommended screening for major depressive disorder in adults.

The recommendation comes as the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a surge of new anxiety and depression among many Americans.

“The good news is that screening all adults for depression, including those who are pregnant and postpartum, and screening adults younger than 65 for anxiety can help identify these conditions early so people can be connected to care,” said Lori Pbert, a task force member and co-author of the recommendations.

Read more here.


A growing number of Americans are struggling with depression and most are not seeking treatment or are undertreated for the mental health disorder, according to a new study.

The study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found almost 1 in 10 Americans reported suffering from depression in 2020, with rates of the mental health disorder higher among adolescents and young adults.

  • Researchers from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and City University of New York analyzed 2015-2020 data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which is a nationally representative poll of Americans aged 12 and older.
  • Researchers found that in 2020 more than 9 percent of Americans 12 and older experienced a major depressive episode over the past year. The study’s authors note depression has increased over the past several years, rising from 6.6 percent in 2005 to 7.3 percent in 2015.

Skewing younger: Depression, which is the most common mental disorder
in the nation, was most prevalent among young adults ages 18 to 25 at more than
17 percent, an increase from 10.3 percent in 2015.

Read more here.

Fauci: We’re not ‘where we need to be’ on pandemic

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, said Monday that the US is not where it needs to be regarding the coronavirus pandemic, a day after an interview with President Biden was broadcast in which Biden said that the “pandemic is over.”

In a talk with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Fauci, Biden’s top COVID-19 adviser who last month announced his pending retirement from the government, said that much depends on how the country handles future virus variants.

“How we respond and how we’re prepared for the evolution of these variants is going to depend on us. And that gets to the other conflicting aspect of this — is the lack of a uniform acceptance of the interventions that are available to us in this country where even now, more than two years, close to three years, into the outbreak, we have only 67 percent of our population vaccinated and only one-half of those have received a single boost,” Fauci said.

  • He noted that the country is still experiencing more than 400 daily deaths due to COVID-19, though that number is down from a year earlier.
  • “But we are not where we need to be if we’re going to be able to, quote, ‘live with the virus,’ because we know we’re not going to eradicate it. We only did that with one virus, which is smallpox, and that was very different because smallpox doesn’t change from year to year, or decade to decade, or even from century to century,” Fauci added.

Read more here.


  • Some people are finally getting their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine (Wall Street Journal)
  • Ad spending shows Dems hinging midterm hopes on abortion (AP)
  • Doctors say Graham abortion ban would force women to have transvaginal ultrasounds (NBC)


  • Nearly 1 in 4 Flint residents may have PTSD after water crisis, study finds (ABC News)
  • NYC COVID Vaccine Mandate for Private Sector Ends Nov. 1, Stays for Public Workers (NBC New York)
  • Texas, battling teen pregnancy, recasts sex education standards (Kaiser Health News)


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.


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