Good morning … First things first: Let’s all take a minute to marvel at the skill of this helicopter pilot, hovering just a few inches from a snowy mountainside to rescue an injured skier. Amazing.
Congressional Republicans have a lot to fear if the Republican-led lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act succeeds — as it has so far. But only a handful of them seem to be sweating it, Axios' Caitlin Owens reports this morning.
The big picture: Protections for people with pre-existing conditions were a centerpiece of the campaign that just won Democrats control of the House, even though Republicans insisted during that campaign that of course they wanted to protect pre-existing conditions.
What they're saying: Several congressional Republicans told Caitlin they still hope Republicans win the lawsuit, even though the loss of coverage for sick people could carry big political consequences.
The other side: Some in the GOP aren't as pleased with this situation. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) wants to fully repeal the ACA's individual mandate, which would likely settle this issue.
The bottom line: "The longer we’re talking about preexisting conditions, the longer we’re losing," said Matt Gorman, the communications director for House Republicans' campaign arm during the 2018 cycle.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, the new chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, told reporters yesterday he has 3 top priorities on drug pricing:
Between the lines: Grassley isn’t quite as pharma-friendly as the committee’s last chairman, former Sen. Orrin Hatch. The industry opposes all three of those measures.
Democrats, meanwhile, are all about Trump’s European-pricing plan. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will introduce a similar proposal today, alongside a bill to allow drug importation and another to let Medicare negotiate directly for the cost of prescription drugs, rather than relying on third parties.
Here's a taste from Bob Herman's notebook:
Palpable giddiness around Medicare Advantage.
AbbVie's price hike on Humira.
Robots are infiltrating the operating room.
A moment of candor.
The partial government shutdown has caused the Food and Drug Administration to “suspended all routine inspections of domestic food-processing facilities,” the Washington Post reports.
Yes, but: The FDA inspects only a small percentage of food facilities every year. It has to inspect high-risk facilities once every 3 years, and other plants every 5 years.