What We’re Reading: NIH Director Nomination; Supreme Court Delays Abortion Pill Ruling; GOP Pushes for Medicaid Work Requirement


The White House intends to nominate Monica Bertagnolli to run the National Institutes of Health (NIH); Supreme Court asks for more time to decide if mifepristone use will have more restrictions, and providers look to misoprostol as an alternative; House Republicans presented a proposal to require certain low-income Americans to work or risk losing Medicaid coverage.

White House Picks Cancer Surgeon to Head NIH

The White House plans to nominate Monica Bertagnolli to oversee the National Institutes of Health (NIH), according to POLITICO. The decision would fill the long-open role of head of the organization, which hasn’t had a permanent director since December 2021. Bertagnollli, a Boston cancer surgeon, would step into the role only months after being appointed director of the government’s National Cancer Institute. If confirmed by the Senate, Bertagnolli will take charge of the agency and be plunged into the center of the fight over the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

Supreme Court Delays Abortion Pill Decision; Providers Look for Alternatives

The Supreme Court originally set a deadline of Wednesday to decide if women seeking access to the abortion pill mifepristone would encounter more restrictions while the court case continues. Instead, the justices provided a one-sentence order saying they now anticipate to act by Friday evening, according to the Associated Press. Now, use of misoprostol—which is typically used in combination with mifepristone as the only medication abortion protocol approved by the FDA—is increasing in the United States as providers look for a preemptive alternative while the ban of mifepristone is being considered in court, reported Reuters. Misoprostol is frequently prescribed off-label for the treatment of miscarriages and to induce abortions, and action is being taken to increase production and to train providers on how to use it alone.

House Republicans Propose Medicaid Work Requirement Plan

House Republicans introduced a proposal to require certain low-income Americans to work or risk losing their Medicaid coverage—a component of the broader push within the GOP to carry out new work rules in anti-poverty programs, The Washington Post reported. The controversial policy was included in a bill to raise the debt ceiling into 2024 and cut federal spending by about $130 billion. The bill won’t move in the Democratic-controlled Senate, but the push for Medicaid work requirements is a longtime conservative goal. Republicans say that the policy would incentivize healthy people to find work, while Democrats say it would kick vulnerable Americans off the safety net plan.

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