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Obama Defends Latest Delay - Health Care Edge: Brought to you by Coalition for Medicare Choices

Obama Defends Latest Delay 

By Sam Baker, Sophie Novack and Clara Ritger

 

TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: President Obama yesterday defended the latest partial delay in the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate, saying companies simply need a little extra time to comply. The latest change, which delays the mandate for some businesses and phases it in for others, follows a yearlong delay already in place. Obama said at a White House press conference that as mid-sized businesses try to comply with the coverage requirement, "it may take them some time, even if they're operating in good faith." Meanwhile, the House passed a 'clean' debt ceiling bill free of any Obamacare provisions. It will likely head to the Senate for a final vote this week.

Top Health Care News

OBAMA DEFENDS EMPLOYER MANDATE DELAY: The president dismissed calls from Republicans to delay the individual mandate as well, saying the delay for employers is consistent with changes that have been made to the law for individuals. (David Morgan, Reuters)

HOUSE PASSES HEALTH-FREE DEBT LIMIT EXTENSION: House Republicans had previously considered tying repeal of the ACA's "risk corridors" provision, or a "doc fix" deal to the legislation. (Paul Kane, Robert Costa and Ed O'Keefe, Washington Post)

 

BAD NEWS FOR MAMMOGRAMS: One of the largest, most extensive mammogram studies ever done found that annual screenings do not reduce death rates from breast cancer, and that 22 percent of cancers found through mammograms were overdiagnosed. (Gina Kolata, New York Times)

Implementation and Coverage

OBAMACARE'S EMPLOYER MANDATE KEEPS GETTING DELAYED. WHAT HAPPENS IF IT GETS KILLED? Not a lot, most health economists say. (Sarah Kliff, Washington Post)

HOW OBAMA KEEPS HURTING OBAMACARE: Republicans have huffed and puffed, but it's the White House that has come closest to blowing the law down. (National Journal, Sam Baker)

OBAMA'S ARBITRARY HEALTH CARE FLEXIBILITY: In the Affordable Care Act's never-ending revisions, the only pattern is chaos. (Major Garrett, National Journal)

 

A PROLONGED BREAK-UP WITH THE OBAMACARE CONTRACTOR: "After denigrating the work of CGI and replacing it as the largest contractor on the federal health care website, the Obama administration is negotiating with the company to extend its work on the project for a few months...Under the agreement, about 58 of the 189 CGI employees now involved in the project would stay on the job until the end of March. The agreement is likely to include an option for three dozen CGI employees to stay on through April." (Robert Pear and Ian Austen, New York Times)

HOW OBAMACARE BENEFITS WOMEN MORE THAN MEN. "Women are more likely to have mental health diagnoses, more likely to be unable to afford healthcare, and more likely to experience healthcare-related "marriage lock." (Olga Khazan, The Atlantic)

Congress

GOP STRATEGISTS: DON'T BET THE HOUSE ON OBAMACARE: Party insiders say a single-issue campaign could fall short in 2014. (Alex Roarty, National Journal)

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ANOTHER DEMOCRAT APOLOGIZES FOR OBAMACARE: Rep. Joe Garcia of Florida says the law needs to be fixed, not repealed. (Beth Reinhard, National Journal)

CAN WENDY DAVIS HAVE IT ALL?: A look at the Texas Governor candidate's biography. (Robert Draper, New York Times Magazine)

States

RURAL MARYLAND HOSPITALS USE TELEMEDICINE FOR ICU CARE: Studies have shown patients leave sooner and do better in ICUs managed by critical care doctors, but they are in short supply and expensive. Connecting the doctors to small ICUs through telemedicine could be a good alternative. (Rita Rubin, Kaiser Health News/Baltimore Sun)

LATINOS COULD GAIN A LOT FROM OBAMACARE. A federal report released Tuesday says that if all states expanded Medicaid, 95 percent of eligible, uninsured Latinos could qualify for federal assistance, from Medicaid, CHIP, or federal subsidies on the exchanges. (Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News)

COVER OREGON SHOULD BE RUNNING BY THE END OF THE WEEK, KIND OF, MAYBE: "More than four months after Oregon's $170 million health insurance exchange was supposed to go live, officials say it could be up and partially running later this week--though it won't be open to the public." (Nick Budnick, Oregonian)

REPUBLICANS BLOCK SOUTH DAKOTANS FROM VOTING ON MEDICAID EXPANSION. The GOP said allowing voters to make decisions left up to the legislature would set a bad precedent. (Dylan Scott, Talking Points Memo)

VIRGINIA SENATE NARROWLY VOTES TO REPEAL MANDATORY ULTRASOUND LAW: The bill would repeal the 2012 law that requires women to have an ultrasound before getting an abortion. The legislation will now go to the Republican-dominated Virginia House.

Advertising

INSURERS NOW OUTSPENDING KOCH GROUP ON OBAMACARE ADS. Between Dec. 1 and Feb. 8, companies such as Cigna and Kaiser Permanente have poured $40 million into Obamacare advertisements. (Sandhya Somashekhar, Washington Post)

#BROKEN PROMISES IS BEATING #GETCOVERED: Anger is contagious on social media, and it has been easier to use Twitter and Facebook to stoke opposition to Obamacare than to implore people to sign up. Social media experts say supporters of the president's health law just haven't been as effective as the seething anti-Obamacare forces in getting out sharp, clear messages." (Paige Winfield Cunningham, Politico)

Drugs and Medicine

FDA PANEL: NO CHANGE TO PAINKILLER LABELS: "The committee vote was 16-9 that naproxen, sold as Aleve by Bayer AG, can't be convincingly proven to have greater cardiac safety than ibuprofen, Celebrex and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Ibuprofen is sold under brand names including Advil and Motrin. The vote means Bayer and others selling naproxen won't have a marketing advantage that a change in the drug's labels would have allowed." (Thomas M. Burton, Wall Street Journal)

Olympics

BOB COSTAS IS RIGHT: GOING TO WORK SICK IS A TERRIBLE IDEA. Employers estimate that it costs them $150 billion each year. (Sarah Kliff, Washington Post)

SHAPE UP SOCHI! Russian group uses Olympic spirit to persuade fellow countrymen and women to quit vodka and cigarettes. (Betsy McKay, Wall Street Journal)

Happening Today

FORMER SENATORS LAUNCH ALLIANCE FOR CONNECTED CARE. Tom Daschle, Trent Lott, and John Breaux join Farzad Mostashari of the Brookings Institution at 8:30 a.m. to advocate for doctor compensation for telehealth services.

QUARTERLY EARNINGS RELEASED: Hospira, Insys Therapuetics, MacroGenics, OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, WellCare Health Plans

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