NC HOUSE VETO OVERRIDE VOTE ON "BORN ALIVE" BILL WILL BE JUNE 5: After pulling a potential vote to override Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of an abortion bill off the House calendar nine times over the last four weeks, House Speaker Tim Moore on Wednesday set a date certain for the vote. Moore, R-Cleveland, said the override vote on Senate Bill 359, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, would be held on June 5. The bill would make it a felony for a doctor not to provide care for an infant born after a botched abortion, and it creates a duty for other health care professionals to report any such failure to act. Lawmakers passed the measure last month, but Cooper quickly vetoed it, calling it "an unnecessary interference between doctors and their patients" because state law already protects newborns. "This needless legislation would criminalize doctors and other health care providers for a practice that simply does not exist," he said.
SENATE BUDGET CUTS $35 MILLION FROM VIDANT OVER BOARD APPOINTMENTS: Vidant Health officials pleaded on Wednesday for the N.C. Senate to remove a budget line that would cut the Greenville hospital’s Medicaid reimbursement by an estimated $35 million, saying the move would harm Eastern North Carolina. The budget change, which was introduced in Raleigh this week, was in response to an attempt by Vidant to remove the state’s influence from the hospital’s Board of Trustees. Earlier this month, the hospital moved to strip the UNC Board of Governors’ ability to appoint any trustees for Vidant Medical Center. The budget calls for the state “to no longer reimburse the primary affiliated teaching hospital for the East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine for the allowable costs for inpatient and outpatient services.” Instead, the new budget would treat Vidant the same as any other private hospital under the state Medicaid plan. Vidant has said that because it operates as a teaching hospital it sees a higher number of Medicaid patients than a normal hospital.
UNC CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL UNDER SCRUTINY OVER HEART SURGERY ISSUES: In meetings in 2016 and 2017, all nine cardiologists expressed concerns about the program’s performance. The head of the hospital and other leaders there were alarmed as well, according to the recordings. The cardiologists — who diagnose and treat heart conditions but don’t perform surgeries — could not pinpoint what might be going wrong in an intertwined system involving surgeons, anesthesiologists, intensive care doctors and support staff. But they discussed everything from inadequate resources to misgivings about the chief pediatric cardiac surgeon to whether the hospital was taking on patients it wasn’t equipped to handle. Several doctors began referring more children elsewhere for surgery. The heart specialists had been asking to review the institution’s mortality statistics for cardiac surgery — information that most other hospitals make public — but said they had not been able to get it for several years. Last month, after repeated requests from The Times, UNC released limited data showing that for four years through June 2017, it had a higher death rate than nearly all of the 82 institutions nationwide that do publicly report.
MUELLER DROPS A BOMB DURING PRESS CONFERENCE: Departing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III finally spoke publicly Wednesday, and his carefully chosen comments highlight the ways in which he disagrees with his boss, Attorney General William P. Barr, about the facts and the law surrounding the investigation into President Trump. “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mueller said Wednesday. In his report and his public remarks, Mueller indicated he holds a different view on the question of potential presidential crimes, refusing to clear the commander in chief and alluding to Congress’s impeachment power as the constitutional arbiter. Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, called Mueller’s comments Wednesday “a direct rebuke” of the attorney general’s statements. He accused Barr of “deliberately and repeatedly” misleading the American people on the issue of the OLC opinion.
NETANYAHU PUSHES VOTE TO DISSOLVE KNESSET IN EFFORT TO RETAIN POWER: Israel’s parliament voted to dissolve itself early Thursday, sending the country to an unprecedented second snap election this year as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition before a midnight deadline. The dramatic vote, less than two months after parliamentary elections, marked a dramatic downturn for Netanyahu and sent the longtime leader’s future into turmoil. Had the deadline passed, Israel’s president would have given another lawmaker, most likely opposition leader Benny Gantz, an opportunity to put together a coalition. After the vote, Gantz angrily accused Netanyahu of choosing self-preservation over allowing the country’s political process to run its course. Wednesday’s vote sends the country into uncharted political waters, no less because Netanyahu, the interim prime minister, still faces a likely indictment for a battery of corruption charges just around the time of the election.