OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Mandate moves forward

Medicaid exception: One particular mandate exemption has gotten a lot more important in the past year: People who would be eligible for Medicaid, but live in a state that rejects the law's Medicaid expansion. Realistically, anyone in that situation probably would have qualified for one of the law's income-based exceptions, but Wednesday's regulations clarified that they won't have to pay the law's penalty for going uninsured. Healthwatch has the story here .

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Families 'glitch' persists: Family plans still don't have a place in the ACA's definition of "affordable" healthcare coverage. Wednesday's regulations reiterated the administration's position that the threshold for affordability (9.5 percent of household income) applies only to individual policies, meaning families aren't eligible for subsidies — no matter what that policy costs — if the parents can buy an affordable individual policy through work. Healthwatch has the details.

Expensive art, in one chart: If you have $15,000 to $20,000 sitting around, you could be the proud owner of an Andy Warhol illustration of medical inflation. Really. It's a drawing of a chart, labeled "Medical Inflation." And it's very optimistic — it shows inflation dropping by maybe 5 percentage points in just one year. Take a look here.

Saving money: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Wednesday that it will expand competitive bidding for equipment within Medicare, a move with projected savings of $25.7 billion for the Part B Trust Fund and $17.1 billion for beneficiaries between 2013 and 2022. The Medicare Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive Bidding Program has "already saved millions for taxpayers and beneficiaries while maintaining access to care," said CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner in a statement. The announcement noted that small businesses constitute more than half of the winning suppliers in 91 major metropolitan areas.

Thursday's agenda
Families USA will begin its annual health action conference at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. A variety of lawmakers, administration officials and experts are scheduled to speak, including: Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.); Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.); Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.); Gary Cohen with the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight; Cindy Mann with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Anton Gunn with the Health and Human Services Department; and Gene Sperling with the National Economic Council.

The American Enterprise Institute will host a discussion of chained CPI with AEI scholar Andrew G. Biggs and David Certner, legislative counsel and director of legislative policy for government affairs at AARP.

The Alliance for Health Reform will hold a press-only briefing with congressional staff on the state of play for debates on Medicare, Medicaid and healthcare reform implementation.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will deliver remarks at the swearing-in ceremony of Dr. Carissa Etienne as Pan American Health Organization Director.

State by state
GOP, Dem leaders in Fla. divided on 'ObamaCare' decisions

Lawmakers in NC want to block Medicaid expansion

Texas systems latest to launch ACOs [free registration required]


Lobbying registrations
McDonald & Harden / Catholic Health Partners

Jenkins Hill Consulting / Health Elements

Crossroads Strategies / WH Interactive


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Sam Baker: sbaker@thehill.com / 202-628-8351

Elise Viebeck: eviebeck@thehill.com / 202-628-8523

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