Daily on Healthcare, presented by SBEC: Leana Wen opens up about Planned Parenthood firing

By | November 11, 2019

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FORMER PLANNED PARENTHOOD PRESIDENT OPENS UP: Dr. Leana Wen learned she had been fired from Planned Parenthood when most other people did: when she received a New York Times alert about the ouster, she revealed in a podcast over the weekend.

Wen was speaking with Kevin Xu on the Model Majority Podcast that aired Sunday, where she described the whole experience around the firing as “traumatic,” and said she had not been able to accomplish her mission as president.

“I saw my mission at Planned Parenthood as repositioning the organization to be a mainstream health organization rather than be seen as a stridently progressive and political organization,” she said.

Wen was attacked by all sides after the firing, which also came at a time that was difficult personally for her. Only a few weeks earlier, she learned she had a miscarriage.

But in the days and weeks that followed, she said, she wanted to refrain from personal attacks and instead focus her public statements on the general philosophical differences that had emerged within the organization.

Her lessons, she said, came from Elijah Cummings, the recently deceased Democratic congressman from Baltimore. Cummings was a mentor to Wen, who had led the Baltimore health department before heading to Planned Parenthood.

“He often talked about how we cannot control a lot about our lives, but there are things that are in our control. And those things include how we choose to live the life that we have, and how we must always let our conscience guide our conduct,” she said.

Wen’s son Eli is named after Cummings because she said she wanted to raise him to grow up to be a “fighter against injustices but who always did so with authenticity and who really is the model of the person who has the biggest heart of anyone that we know.”

She also announced on the podcast that she’s expecting her second child, a girl, in March.

Good morning and welcome to the Washington Examiner’s Daily on Healthcare! This newsletter is written by senior healthcare reporter Kimberly Leonard (@LeonardKL) and healthcare reporter Cassidy Morrison (@CassMorrison94). You can reach us with tips, calendar items, or suggestions at dailyonhealthcare@washingtonexaminer.com. If someone forwarded you this email and you’d like to receive it regularly, you can subscribe here.

TRUMP TO MEET WITH VAPING INDUSTRY AS THE ADMINISTRATION WEIGHS A FLAVOR BAN: President Trump announced Monday that he will meet with vaping industry representatives, medical professionals, and state leaders to discuss ways to abate the teen vaping “dilemma.” He wrote: “Children’s health & safety, together with jobs, will be a focus!”

WHAT’S THE DIAGNOSIS, DOC? PSYCHIATRISTS WANT TO TESTIFY IN IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS: A group of psychiatrists and neurologists are looking to testify before Congress in impeachment hearings to weigh in on Trump’s fitness for office. “We think that hearing about mental health aspects in the context of the impeachment hearings is critical, partly because, for the past 2.5 years we have been very deeply concerned about mental instability of the president, and pretty much all that we have said has borne out to be true,” said Dr. Bandy Lee, a Yale School of Medicine psychiatrist who speaks for the group.

Usually, mental health professionals are hesitant to diagnose people without examining them personally, and it goes against the rules of some psychological associations. Still, Lee and others in her group feel it’s high time that physicians speak out about what they see as mental instability and dangerousness. They say they have enough material to raise alarms from Trump’s public appearances, Twitter activity, interviews, and Robert Mueller’s 448–page report. They won’t specifically recommend how to remove Trump’s powers. “Those things are up to politicians to decide. That’s not our domain,” Lee said. “But our medical assessment is that those dangers need to be removed one way or another.”

CEO OF KAISER PERMANENTE DEAD AT 60: Bernard J. Tyson, the CEO of health care provider Kaiser Permanente, died in his sleep Sunday at age 60. Before becoming CEO of the health care giant in 2013, Tyson had worked at the Oakland-based company for nearly three decades. The company currently oversees health plans for over 12 million customers, mostly in California.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: CDC NAMED VITAMIN E ACETATE AS THE PRIME SUSPECT IN VAPING ILLNESS: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that vitamin E acetate, a thickener in THC vaping liquids, could be the cause of 2,051 lung injury cases and 39 deaths nationwide.


The Rundown

The Hill Strategists say Warren ‘Medicare for All’ plan could appeal to centrists

Stat Seema Verma: CMS’s ‘expanded pathway’ for new antibiotics can help fight antimicrobial resistance

Kaiser Health News How Germany averted an opioid crisis

The Associated Press 10 hospitalized from Oklahoma facility after flu shot mix-up

The Washington Post Exploring the long fight against lead poisoning in the United States

NPR You can get a master’s in medical cannabis in Maryland


MONDAY | Nov. 8

House in recess.


8 a.m. 1099 14th Street NW. Axios event on “Healthcare in 2020” including Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. Details.

10 a.m. Rayburn 2123 House Energy and Commerce’s Health Subcommittee to markup legislation tobacco, maternal mortality, and FDA citizen petitions. Details.

THURSDAY | Nov. 14

10 a.m. 1100 Longworth House Ways and Means Committee hosts hearing on caring for aging Americans. Details.