GOP Knocks Obamacare Ahead Of SOTU
TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: President Obama probably won't break much new ground on health care policy during tonight's State of the Union address, but he'll surely have to address the issue somehow -- most likely on the "we're not going back" refrain, or possibly to address the failures of HealthCare.gov. For their part, Senate Republicans introduced an Obamacare replacement bill yesterday, and House Republicans are kicking off State of the Union Day with a hearing on HealthCare.gov security, and another on the law's employer mandate and its definition of a "full-time" worker. The law requires large employers to offer coverage to everyone who works at least 30 hours per week.
Top Health Care News
REPUBLICANS UNVEIL THEIR OBAMACARE REPLACEMENT. The plan is to lower national health care costs by making people to pay more of their health care. (Sam Baker, National Journal)
State of the Union
OBAMA TO LAY OUT GO-IT-ALONE APPROACH. "Obama will make clear in his 9 p.m. address that he is willing to bypass U.S. lawmakers and go it alone in some areas by announcing a series of executive actions that do not require congressional approval." (Steve Holland, Reuters)
GUESTS INCLUDE THOSE WHO BENEFITTED FROM OBAMACARE. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, who has led the state's successful implementation of the health law, will be in attendance. (Anita Kumar, McClatchy Washington Bureau)
FLORIDA DECISION TO OPT OUT OF MEDICAID EXPANSION HURTS COUNTY WITH HIGHEST UNINSURED RATE. In Hendry County, 35 percent of the 33,000 residents under age 65 are uninsured, and over a quarter of residents are below the poverty level. But since Florida is not expanding Medicaid, most will not see their situation change under the law. (Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News/USA Today)
MARYLAND HOUSE TO VOTE ON BILL TUESDAY TO HELP RESIDENTS WHO STRUGGLED TO SIGN UP FOR COVERAGE ON THE STATE EXCHANGE. "The measure would enable people who can show they tried to get through the exchange for coverage Jan. 1 to enroll in a separate state insurance pool for residents without insurance." (The Associated Press)
FLORIDA SUPREME COURT APPROVES INITIATIVE TO PUT MEDICAL MARIJUANA ON BALLOT. The state's voters will decide in November whether to legalize medical marijuana. (Bill Cotterell, Reuters)
LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN TEXAS PURSUE ACA SIGNUPS. "The number of uninsured people that we have here in Harris County, 1.1 million, yeah, that's a public health emergency," said Ben Hernandez, deputy assistant director for the Houston Department of Health and Human Services. "That's why it's easy for us to say, 'Let's treat it like we'd treat a hurricane.'" (Becca Aaronson, The Texas Tribune/Kaiser Health News)
THESE HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE WINNING AT OBAMACARE. Competition between different plans in the marketplaces varies state to state. (Jeffrey Young, The Huffington Post)
CONSUMERS WITH CANCELED INSURANCE PLANS SHIFTED TO NEW ONES WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION. The California Department of Insurance is exploring whether any laws were broken when insurance companies withdrew money from consumers' accounts for plans they didn't select. (Charles Ornstein, ProPublica)
HERE'S THE DEAL WITH OBAMACARE'S BAILOUT. An explainer about what risk corridors are and why they're not a bailout for insurance companies. (Sarah Kliff, Washington Post)
Contraception and Abortion
HOW SCOTUS COULD DECIDE THE FUTURE OF OBAMACARE'S CONTRACEPTION MANDATE. The Court is entering the debate over whether religious nonprofits and business owners have to provide contraception coverage to women. (Sophie Novack and Clara Ritger, National Journal)
WHITE HOUSE VOICES OPPOSITION TO THE NO TAXPAYER FUNDING FOR ABORTION ACT. "The legislation would intrude on women's reproductive freedom and access to health care; increase the financial burden on many Americans; unnecessarily restrict the private insurance choices that consumers have today; and restrict the District of Columbia's use of local funds, which undermines home rule," The White House said in a statement regarding the bill scheduled for a House vote this week. (Elise Viebeck, The Hill)
FIFTY-FOUR PERCENT SAY FIXING AND KEEPING THE ACA SHOULD BE A PRIORITY. However, 34 percent view the law as a good idea, while 48 percent see it as a bad idea. (Mark Murray, NBC News)
FORTY-FIVE PERCENT KNOW MARCH 31 IS DEADLINE TO ENROLL IN COVERAGE THROUGH OBAMACARE. The rate of correct responses was the lowest among those ages 18 to 29, those with incomes below $30,000, and those without college degrees. (James Hamblin, The Atlantic)
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS HEARING. The committee will hold a hearing on the impact of the ACA employer mandate's definition of full time employee at 10 a.m. in 1100 Longworth.
HOUSE OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM COMMITTEE HEARING. The committee will hold a hearing on "A Roadmap for Hackers? - Documents Detailing HealthCare.gov Security Vulnerabilities" at 10 a.m. in 2154 Rayburn.
STATE OF THE UNION. Obama will deliver his State of the Union address at 9 p.m. ET.
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