Pelosi Touts ACA; Sebelius to Louisiana
MIDTERM MADNESS: Want to see what it would look like if Democrats really were committed to campaigning on Obamacare? Tune in to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi's press conference this morning. Pelosi is expected to highlight the Affordable Care Act, on the heels of a positive enrollment update and ahead of the law's fourth anniversary over the weekend. But Democrats declare themselves "on offense" over Obamacare about as often as Republicans insist they're serious about coming up with an alternative. Neither ever seems to materialize.
Speaking of which: HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will be in New Orleans today to promote Obamacare enrollment. She'll be joined by Mayor Mitch Landrieu -- but not, according to the official schedule, by the mayor's sister, Sen. Mary Landrieu.
Top Health Care News
REPORTS, EXPERTS SHOW MEDICARE ADVANTAGE ADS MISLEADING: The latest SEC filings from insurers dispute the claims being made by lobbying group America's Health Insurance Plans in their ads. (Kelly Kennedy, USA Today)
RIKERS ISLAND SEES SURGE IN MENTAL ILLNESS AND VIOLENCE: About 40 percent of the nearly 12,000 inmates have a diagnosed mental illness, up from 20 percent eight years ago. (Michael Schwirtz, New York Times)
Medicaid expansion could help increase pretrial diversion and treatment once prisoners are released. (Sophie Novack, National Journal)
CONGRESS PLANS TO USE ANOTHER BAND-AID FOR 'DOC FIX': With a week and a half to go before Medicare doctors take an automatic pay cut, the Hill has resorted to its tried-and-true short-term patch. (Clara Ritger, National Journal)
CBO ESTIMATES COST OF SENATE 'DOC FIX' BILL WITH MEDICARE EXTENDERS: The plan sponsored by Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden will cost some $180 billion over 11 years.
GOT OBAMACARE, CAN'T FIND DOCTORS: Narrow networks mean limited options for who will see you when you're sick. (Tami Luhby, CNN Money)
OBAMACARE'S HIDDEN WINNERS: THE SATISFIED UNSUBSIDIZED: "For some veterans of the individual market who don't qualify for tax credits, the post-ACA insurance landscape looks good." (Andrew Sprung, The Atlantic)
DOCTORS WORRY ACA RULE WILL LEAVE THEM WITH UNPAID BILLS: "If an enrollee in a subsidized plan falls behind on their premium payments, the Affordable Care Act requires insurers to cover their medical bills for 30 days. But for the next 60 days, insurers may 'pend,' or hold off paying the claims -- and ultimately, deny them if the patient doesn't catch up on his premiums. That means doctors don't get paid for their services. If the insurer ends up canceling the policy after 90 days, doctors can bill patients directly but may face difficulty collecting." (Roni Caryn Rabin, Kaiser Health News)
HALF OF AMERICANS BELIEVE IN MEDICAL CONSPIRACY THEORIES: A new survey also finds more than one-third of people believe the FDA is deliberately keeping cancer cures off the market. (Nancy Shute, National Public Radio)
AN INTRODUCTION TO JOB JOCK: "To most health economists, 'job lock,' the idea that workers work more or face constraints in job mobility due to provision of work-related health insurance, is a real and important phenomenon. It's one reason why many advocate limiting or ending the exclusion of ESI from taxation, among other reforms." This is the first post in a series that will address questions related to the issue. (Austin Frakt, The Incidental Economist)
SPEAKING THE LANGUAGE OF HEALTH CARE: Translation apps and other technology seek to eliminate language barriers for patients uncomfortable with English. (Sophie Quinton, National Journal)
Abortion and contraception
HOW THE GOP IS USING OBAMACARE TO RESTRICT ABORTION COVERAGE: Some 22 states have passed bills banning coverage of abortions in health plans under the law since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law four years ago. (Dylan Scott, Talking Points Memo)
POLL: MAJORITY OPPOSES EMPLOYERS OPTING OUT OF CONTRACEPTION MANDATE: The latest NBC News/WSJ poll found 53 percent say employers should not be exempt from the requirement that health plans offer coverage for birth control, compared with 41 percent who say they should. (Mark Murray, NBC News)
IN HEALTH CARE, WHAT MAKES MAINE DIFFERENT? The northern part of the state is poor, but residents rank high on measure of health. The coordination among businesses and health workers is seen as a model. (Noam Levey, Los Angeles Times)
THE SIX STATES THAT CAN'T DECIDE ON MEDICAID EXPANSION: The "road to yes," as Matt Salo—executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors—calls the decision, is complex and unique to each state. In those still deciding, there are a number of factors—political, financial, ideological—to consider, and various ways the program can be implemented. Here's what's going on in New Hampshire, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Utah, Missouri, and Indiana. (Sophie Novack, National Journal)
IN ACA MARCH MADNESS, OBAMA'S BRACKET IS JUST A ROLE PLAYER: Beyond his picks, he's got an ulterior motive--getting young people signed up for coverage. (Scott Horsley, National Public Radio)
THIS GUY WAS THE FIRST TO PREDICT ACA ENROLLMENT WOULD HIT 5 MILLION MONDAY: Now Charles Gaba is predicting the final enrollment tally will hit 6.22 million. (Jason Millman, Washington Post)
Meanwhile, The Washington Post is holding a contest to guess the final enrollment number. (Colby Itkowitz and Al Kamen, Washington Post)
VIDEO: HOW OBAMACARE'S INDIVIDUAL MANDATE WORKS: Ezra Klein explains the logic of the Affordable Care Act penalty for going without insurance. (Ezra Klein, Vox.com)
14 WAYS TO AVOID THE OBAMACARE TAX: Hardship exemptions will get some Americans out of paying the individual mandate penalty. (Scott Gottlieb, Forbes)
NANCY PELOSI HOSTS A PRESS CONFERENCE ON THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT: With the four-year anniversary of the president's health law on Sunday, the Democratic leader is discussing its effect on Americans during her weekly press conference at 9:45 a.m. in the Capitol, HVC Studio A.
DRUG INDUCED LIVER INJURY CONFERENCE: The FDA, C-Path, and PhRMA are sponsoring a conference called "Predicting Serious Drug-Induced Liver Injury in Patients: Who Gets it? Who Doesn't? Why?" on March 19 and 20 from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in College Park.
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION CONFERENCE ON HEALTH CARE COMPETITION: The FTC will hold a public workshop, titled "Examining Health Care Competition," on March 20 and 21, in the FTC Conference Center.