Two-thirds of Americans don’t want to overturn Roe v. Wade
TWO-THIRDS OF AMERICANS DON’T WANT TO OVERTURN ROE v. WADE — That’s according to a Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll out this morning, which finds that 67 percent of Americans oppose rolling back constitutional protections for access to abortion.
The poll was conducted earlier this month, before Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he’d be retiring from the Supreme Court.
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— But there are partisan splits. While 81 percent of Democrats and 73 percent of independents don’t want to overturn Roe, a slight majority of Republicans — 53 percent — want the law to fall.
Meanwhile, 67 percent of Democrats oppose the Trump administration’s proposal to prohibit federal funding from going to organizations that provide abortion services, while Republicans are nearly split. (About 46 percent of Republicans support the plan while 48 percent oppose it).
— PULSE asked: What does this mean for the election? The data suggests that Republicans will be cautious about campaigning to roll back Roe this fall, Kaiser Family Foundation’s Drew Altman argued to PULSE, even with Kennedy retiring and the prospect of an abortion court fight on the horizon.
“The swing vote they are worried about are suburban Republican women,” Altman said. “With that in mind I suspect many Republicans will think twice before running on repealing Roe v. Wade.”
Notably, 42 percent of all voters said they’d vote for candidates who support access to abortion services, while 29 percent said they vote for candidates who would restrict access. (The remainder were undecided or said it wasn’t a major issue.)
MEANWHILE: THE FATE OF THE COURT COULD RIDE ON MURKOWSKI, COLLINS — The two moderate Republicans last year helped stop Obamacare repeal in its tracks while confirming Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Now, as they weigh how to replace Kennedy, Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins are about to be squeezed more than ever — by liberals seeking a Republican to stop the court from outlawing abortion rights, among other potential conservative rulings, and by fellow Republicans looking for a show of party unity on a hugely consequential vote.
“No matter how I vote there are going to be people who are furious at me,” Collins said. She added that she views her vote as immune from partisan pressure because “this is a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land. It matters.” More.
— One note from the Hill: Republicans on Capitol Hill on Thursday were making a significant distinction between Trump’s pledge to appoint “pro-life” judges and a judge who has a record of opposition to Roe, POLITICO’s Jennifer Haberkorn told PULSE. Of course, critics would say that is a distinction without a difference. But several GOP sources said the key will be a nominee who doesn’t have a paper trail of opposition to the Roe decision or other abortion rulings.
IT’s FRIDAY PULSE — Where we’re thinking of our reporter colleagues up the road in Annapolis, who put out a paper just hours after a gunman shot up the newsroom. Be good to each other. Tips to [email protected] or @ddiamond on Twitter.
With help from Victoria Colliver (@vcolliver), Sarah Karlin-Smith (@SarahKarlin) and Renuka Rayasam (@RenuRayasam).
GAO RECOMMENDS MORE OVERSIGHT OF 340B CONTRACT PHARMACIES. A new report, requested by House E&C leaders, concludes that HRSA needs to do a better job of managing the program’s discounts, POLITICO’s Sarah Karlin-Smith reports.
Under 340B, providers that cater to low-income patients can receive steep discounts on drugs, and many of these hospitals and clinics contract with outside pharmacies. But GAO concluded that HRSA — which oversees the program — has failed to ensure that discounted drugs are going to the right patients and that drug companies aren’t being subjected to both 340B discounts and Medicaid rebates. HRSA also has incomplete data on the total number of pharmacy contract arrangements, GAO said.
… 340B Health, an association of program participants, said they are concerned that some GAO recommendations could make participation “significantly more cumbersome for hospitals without improving transparency or compliance.”
… The report also provides context on how health facilities and 340B contract pharmacies operate. For example, 30 of the 55 covered entities GAO reviewed reported providing low-income, uninsured patients discounts on 340B drugs at some or all of their contract pharmacies, and 23 of the 30 say they pass on the full 340B discounts to patients. While 340B doesn’t require health centers to directly pass on the discounts to patients, drug companies have called for more accountability in how 340B savings are used. Read the full report.
MARK McCLELLAN’s PHARMA TIES OFTEN GO UNDISCLOSED — McClellan is director of the Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke University, the academic position by which he’s commonly identified. (He’s also the former FDA commissioner and CMS administrator.)
But Sarah Jane Tribble of Kaiser Health News — writing in POLITICO — notes that McClellan frequently has not disclosed another position he’s held since late 2013: He earned $285,000 last year on the board of pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, a company accused of blocking the sale of Pfizer’s Inflectra biosimilar, which competes against J&J’s blockbuster Remicade, a rheumatoid arthritis drug.
According to corporate financial filings, McClellan has been compensated with more than $1 million in cash and stock awards since taking that post, even as he weighs in on drug policy in speeches and articles. More for Pros.
Judge orders ORR to halt director reviews of migrant children’s release. A federal judge on Thursday struck down an HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement policy requiring a director-level signoff to release unaccompanied migrant children from a secured or semi-secured facility, POLITICO’s Renuka Rayasam reports.
The New York Civil Liberties Union sued the agency in February on behalf of a 17-year-old boy on Long Island who was detained because of suspected gang activity. The suit is unrelated to the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from migrant parents at the southern border.
District Court Judge Paul Crotty, in issuing the injunction, called the policy the “zenith of impermissible agency actions” and said that it delays the process of reunifying minors with their parents at least 35 days. He said that ORR Director Scott Lloyd didn’t disclose what criteria he used to approve a child’s release, “giving him unrestricted power to rule over the fate of vulnerable children.”