GOP Hones In On ACA's Risk Corridors
TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: House Republicans are clearly focusing on Obamacare's risk corridors as their next line of attack against the health care law. Risk corridors are part of a three-tiered safety net designed to protect insurers if the new risk pools end up worse than expected, but have been framed by Republicans as a "bailout" for insurance companies. House Republicans seemed to be coalescing last week around the idea of trying to repeal the program as a condition of raising the debt ceiling, and the House Oversight Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the issue this week.
Top Health Care News
DONOR'S DEATH SHATTERS FAMILY, STUNS SURGEONS. When one man's decision to donate part of his liver to his brother-in-law went very wrong, transplant medicine had to rethink its rules. (Liz Kowalczyk, Boston Globe)
HEALTHCARE.GOV CAN'T HANDLE APPEALS OF ENROLLMENT ERRORS. Tens of thousands of people who discovered that HealthCare.gov made mistakes as they were signing up for a health plan are now realizing the government can't yet fix the errors. (Amy Goldstein, Washington Post)
ABORTIONS FALL TO LOWEST POINT SINCE 1970S. Some 1.06 million abortions were performed in 2011, down from 1.21 million in 2008. (Louise Radnofsky, Wall Street Journal)
CUTTING THROUGH THE CLOUD ON OBAMACARE SAVINGS. Medicare's accountable care organizations are generating big savings, according to CMS, but that doesn't mean it's working across the board. (Clara Ritger, National Journal)
STUDY: PATIENTS NEED TRAINING ON NEW HEALTH INSURANCE. A look at Medicaid expansion in Oregon found that it can take months or years for an enrollee to make improvements in health. (Kelly Kennedy, USA Today)
METHOD OF STUDY IS CRITICIZED IN GROUP'S HEALTH POLICY TESTS. Economists and researchers are up in arms about the lack of randomized clinical trials behind health policy at the Obamacare-created Innovation Center. (Gina Kolata, New York Times)
HOW REPUBLICANS BUILT A BETTER OBAMACARE AD. Democrats are worried that personal tales of misfortune will be tough to defend in the 2014 midterms. (Scott Bland, National Journal)
BILL O'REILLY GRILLS OBAMA ON HEALTH CARE, BENGHAZI, IRS. In a heated pre-Super Bowl interview, the Fox News host pressed the president on a number of issues--and Obama pushed back. (Marina Koren, National Journal)
SPOTLIGHT ON VIVEK MURTHY TAPPED TO BE U.S. SURGEON GENERAL NOMINEE. Republicans are expected to press the doctor on his background and experience, particularly with the political organization Doctors for America. (Jennifer Haberkorn, Politico)
GOP CONSIDERS TYING DEBT LIMIT HIKE TO REPEAL OF ACA PROVISION. Members support tying increase to the elimination of the risk corridors and reinsurance fund, which lower risk for insurance companies and prevent premium spikes. (Jake Sherman, Politico)
REPUBLICANS JUMP ON PROBLEMS WITH STATE-RUN ACA EXCHANGES. The GOP plans to use continuing problems with exchanges such as Oregon, Maryland, and Minnesota against Democratic candidates for governor and legislative seats later this year. (Abby Goodnough, New York Times)
REPEALING OBAMACARE WOULD MEAN HIGHER COSTS. Health experts say the law has already taken such hold, it may be impossible to get rid of now. (Kelly Kennedy, USA Today)
JOINING GOP TREND, U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE URGES FIX, NOT REPEAL OF OBAMACARE. "We're not going to get rid of that bill, and so we're going to have to devise ways to make it work," said Chamber President Tom Donohue at a recent press conference. (Eric Whitney, Kaiser Health News)
MARYLAND LEADERS ACCUSED OF POLITICAL MOTIVES OVER LONG REVIEW OF HEALTH EXCHANGE PROBLEMS. The exchange administrators haven't been clear about how they would investigate, and legislative leaders are suggesting an audit. (Jenna Johnson and Mary Pat Flaherty, Washington Post)
KENTUCKY CLINIC OFFERS EARLY GLIMPSE AT REALITIES OF HEALTH CARE LAW. Newly insured and visiting the doctor more regularly, the Affordable Care Act could mean a healthier population in the state. (Stephanie McCrummen, Washington Post)
IN RURAL GEORGIA, FEDERAL HEALTH INSURANCE MARKETPLACE PROVES UNAFFORDABLE TO MANY. Expensive chronic conditions among the state's population, little hospital competition, and few consumer choices of health insurance plans mean higher premiums for the state's residents. (Jordan Rau, Washington Post)
HEALTH INSURANCE AND SMALL BUSINESSES: SAVINGS FOR SOME BUT FOR OTHERS ONLY CONFUSION. Rhode Island's health insurance exchange website is functioning well. But small employers are wary of the new plan offerings, and weighing whether to buy insurance or send employees to the exchanges. (Felice Freyer, Providence Journal)
EVEN WITH OBAMACARE, WEST VIRGINIA HAS A LONG ROAD TO GOOD HEALTH. Tens of thousands of the state's residents are enrolling in Medicaid, but experts caution the culture will have to change. (Ankita Rao, USA Today)
Happening This Week
SENATE TO CONSIDER NOMINATION OF VIVEK MURTHY TO BE NEXT U.S. SURGEON GENERAL. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will meet at 10:30 a.m. to discuss Murthy's appointment. The co-founder and president of pro-Obamacare Doctors for America would be the first Indian-American surgeon general.
HOUSE OVERSIGHT SUBCOMMITTEE HOLDS MARIJUANA HEARING. The Government Operations Subcommittee will meet at 1:30 p.m. in 2154 Rayburn to examine the increased use of marijuana in states that have legalized the drug for medicinal or recreational purposes.
ISSA GATHERS HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE FOR INSURANCE COMPANY BAILOUT DEBATE. The California Democrat will convene his committee at 9:30 a.m. in 2154 Rayburn to examine Obamacare's increased premiums, the plan details of health insurance on the exchanges and potential insurer bailouts.
HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS OVERSIGHT SUBCOMMITTEE MEETS WITH IRS COMMISSIONER JOHN KOSKINEN. The hearing will be held at 9:30 a.m. in Longworth 1100 to discuss the IRS's responsibilities in implementing the Affordable Care Act, including income verification and tax credit reconciliation.
HOUSE ENERGY AND COMMERCE SUBCOMMITTEE ON HEALTH LOOKS AT FOOD SAFETY. The committee will gather at 10 a.m. in 2322 Rayburn to examine the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act and the effect of the Food and Drug Administration's regulations on preventing foodborne illness.
HOUSE OVERSIGHT SUBCOMMITTEES EXAMINE OBAMACARE HEALTH INSURANCE CO-OPS. Republicans Jim Jordan and James Lankford will gather their subcommittees at 2:00 p.m. to review the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan, the financial viability of these insurance companies and how the government awards the loans.