May 8, 2020

Around the nation: Trump says DOJ will continue supporting lawsuit to strike down ACA

Daily Briefing

    President Trump on Wednesday announced the Department of Justice will continue supporting a lawsuit currently before the Supreme Court that seeks to strike down the Affordable Care Act, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from California, the District of Columbia, and Illinois.

    • California: Fitbit on Wednesday launched a virtual study aimed at determining whether the company's wearable devices can detect abnormal heart rhythms. Fitbit said U.S. residents ages 22 and older who have certain Fitbit devices can choose to enroll in the study, and the volunteers will be notified if their trackers detect an irregular heartbeat while wearing them. Fitbit also will connect users who are notified of irregular heart rhythms with doctors, so they can receive a consultation regarding their heart rhythm. Fitbit, which has been developing a method to detect irregular heart rhythms since October 2019, said it plans to enroll hundreds of thousands of participants in the study (Reuters, 5/6; Landi, FierceHealthcare, 5/6).
    • District of Columbia: President Trump on Wednesday announced the Department of Justice will continue supporting a lawsuit currently before the Supreme Court that seeks to strike down the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Trump made the announcement after media reports this week suggested Attorney General William Barr urged the White House to change its position on the lawsuit and seek to preserve parts of the ACA in light of the country's new coronavirus epidemic. Legal filings in the case were due to the Supreme Court on Wednesday. The high court likely will hear the case during its next term (Hellman, The Hill, 5/6; Luthi, Politico, 5/6; Barrett, Washington Post, 5/6).
    • Illinois: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Tuesday voted 3-2 to approve AbbVie's proposed $63 billion acquisition of Allergen. FTC approved the merger after the companies agreed to divest several pharmaceutical assets to settle FTC's concerns that the deal would have violated federal antitrust law by giving the combined company control of 95% of the market for Botox and certain other drugs (McKinnon, Wall Street Journal, 5/6; Silverman, "Pharmalot," STAT+, 5/6 [subscription required]; FTC release, 5/5).

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