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Vice President Kamala Harris is resuming her regular routine today and will deliver remarks at a conference tonight of abortion-rights supporters. In other Washington news, concerns about Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s ability to represent California are growing louder.

Fox News: VP Harris To Headline Pro-Choice Conference After Testing Negative For COVID-19

On Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris’ office announced that she will return to her official duties on Tuesday, after she tested negative for the COVID-19. Her first scheduled event will be an appearance at a pro-choice conference Tuesday evening. Harris will deliver remarks at the 30th Annual We Are EMILY National Conference and Gala. The event comes on the heels of a leaked draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court, showing it could potentially overturn Roe v. Wade in its upcoming decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Roe v. Wade legalized abortion across the country in 1973. (Richard, 5/3)

The New York Times: Vice President Harris Tests Negative For The Coronavirus And Will Return To Work

Vice President Kamala Harris received a negative result on a rapid antigen test for the coronavirus on Monday, clearing her return to the White House on Tuesday, her office said. She had tested positive for the virus last Tuesday, becoming the highest-ranking official in Washington to be infected amid renewing concern about President Biden’s potential exposure. Kirsten Allen, Ms. Harris’s press secretary, said that the vice president would return to work on Tuesday in person, wearing “a well-fitting mask while around others through the 10-day period,” which began last week. (Hassan, 5/2)

In other news –

The New York Times: As Dianne Feinstein Declines, Democrats Wrestle With Open Secret

At 88, Ms. Feinstein sometimes struggles to recall the names of colleagues, frequently has little recollection of meetings or telephone conversations, and at times walks around in a state of befuddlement – including about why she is increasingly dogged by questions about whether she is fit to serve in the Senate representing the 40 million residents of California, according to half a dozen lawmakers and aides who spoke about the situation on the condition of anonymity. On Capitol Hill, it is widely – though always privately – acknowledged that Ms. Feinstein suffers from acute short-term memory issues that on some days are ignorable, but on others raise concern among those who interact with her. (Karni, 5/2)

Stat: Five Of Congress’s 10 Biggest Health Earmarks Went To Missouri

Hospitals, health clinics, and medical schools across the country had hoped to cash in through Washington’s newly resurrected earmark program, but facilities in Missouri had an advantage: a well-placed senator from their home state. Democrats in Congress brought back so-called earmarks earlier this year, rebranding the handouts of federal funds as “congressionally directed spending” with new transparency requirements. More than 660 awards went to health care providers and medical education programs, representing $ 1.1 billion in funding, according to a STAT analysis of a Bipartisan Policy Center database of health care-related earmarks sent through the Health Resources and Services Administration. (Cohrs, 5/3)

On Medicare –

KHN: Medicare Surprise: Drug Plan Prices Touted During Open Enrollment Can Rise Within A Month

Something strange happened between the time Linda Griffith signed up for a new Medicare prescription drug plan during last fall’s enrollment period and when she tried to fill her first prescription in January. She picked a Humana drug plan for its low prices, with help from her longtime insurance agent and Medicare’s Plan Finder, an online pricing tool for comparing a dizzying array of options. But instead of the $ 70.09 she expected to pay for her dextroamphetamine, used to treat attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder, her pharmacist told her she owed $ 275.90. (Jaffe, 5/3)

Columbus Dispatch: Prescription Drug Costs: Biden Plan To Save Seniors Money On Hold

Millions of US seniors were supposed to get price relief soon on their prescription drugs under a revamp of Medicare fees by a federal agency. But even as pharmacy benefit managers were devising ways to dodge that multibillion-dollar fix, the Biden administration suddenly backed down late Friday afternoon. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services delayed proposed changes until 2024 at least. “CMS has once again bowed to PBMs and their corporate-affiliate insurers,” said the head of a national group that treats cancer patients, Ted Okon. (Rowland, 5/2)

On the FDA’s expert panels –

Stat: New Analysis Finds Inconsistencies In How FDA Uses Expert Panels

For decades, the Food and Drug Administration has relied on outside expert panels for input before approving some medicines. But a new analysis suggests this system may be broken. The agency convened expert advisory panels for just 6% of the new medicines approved last year, a huge drop from 55% seen in 2010. During the same time period, the agency endorsed a drug about once a year that an advisory committee voted against approving . Moreover, the study found the FDA has often posed questions to its panels that are inconsistently worded and have varied considerably in substance. (Silverman, 5/2)

And in state news on Medicaid –

Crain’s Detroit Business: Michigan Expands Medicaid Coverage For New Mothers For A Year Postpartum

Medicaid coverage for new mothers in Michigan can continue for up to a year postpartum during a new expansion of Medicaid approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The program expansion is budgeted for an additional $ 20 million and is estimated to benefit 35,000 pregnant and postpartum residents annually, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office announced Monday. Under the existing program, Medicaid enrollee pregnancy coverage runs through the end of the month of birth or end of pregnancy with an additional 60 days postpartum. (Walsh, 5/2)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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