OVERNIGHT HEALTH: ObamaCare officials placed on leave

Some Democrats are worried that a rocky implementation will hurt them in the 2014 midterms, but the administration has said repeatedly that the law's major components will be ready by their Jan. 1 deadline.

Judge intervenes in transplant case: A federal judge said Wednesday that a 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl in need of a lung transplant must be added to the list of adults who need organs. The judge ordered Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to suspend rules that limit the organs available to children younger than 10.

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Congressional Republicans have been pressing Sebelius to intervene in Sarah Murnaghan's case since last week. Sebelius has declined, saying she would review the policies on transplants for children but that making a one-time exception for Murnaghan would deny a transplant to another young child.

Judge Michael Baylson on Wednesday ordered Sebelius to make an exception, at least temporarily. Murnaghan is more likely to get a transplant in time to save her life because of the judge's order. NBC News has more details.

One-step, two-step: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must immediately lift restrictions on the sale of two-step emergency contraception but can wait to do the same with the one-step drug, a U.S. appeals court ruled Wednesday. The decision is the latest development in a court battle over access to the morning-after pill over the counter without age or point-of-sale restrictions. The Obama administration is challenging a federal judge's April 5 order for regulators to knock down all constraints on the sale of emergency contraception. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals said Wednesday that the FDA need not ease access to the one-step morning-after pill while the agency's appeal is in progress. Read Healthwatch's report here

Franks gets a boost: Anti-abortion-rights groups have launched a new campaign to back federal- and state-level efforts to curb abortion rights, including Rep. Trent Franks's (R-Ariz.) new bill prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks. The campaign, dubbed "Stop the Gosnells," argues that late-term abortions are equal to infanticide. Its title refers to Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortion doctor recently convicted of killing three viable infants born alive after failed abortions. The Susan B. Anthony List is spearheading the effort, which involves Concerned Women for America, Live Action and CatholicVote.org.

Thursday's agenda

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) will host a briefing on how the immigration system affects children's health. Several advocacy groups will unveil a study proposing "family-focused immigration reform" at the event in the Rayburn House Office Building. 

Children's advocates will host a briefing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on substance abuse and its impact on child welfare. 


State by state

Fla. Gov. Scott signs first abortion-related bill passed in two years

Pa. Senate clears bill banning abortion coverage under exchange

Key Senate vote looms on Medicaid expansion in NH

Va.'s SCC ramps up for new role in health insurance exchange

Doctors, hospitals, unions push to stop Medi-Cal cuts


Reading list

Obama to tout health law in Calif. speech

HHS to develop data-sharing plan for outcomes research [free registration required]

New cancer breakthroughs add pressure to control costs


What you might have missed on Healthwatch

Pot lobby seeks legitimacy

GOP group targets Shaheen on ObamaCare with first ad

Dems push for quicker White House approval of pending regs

Conservative super-PAC hits Pryor on ObamaCare support 

ObamaCare critics outspent supporters 5-1 on ads, analysis finds

GOP expands probe of Sebelius fundraising

Rep. Price to unveil bill to replace ObamaCare

Dems push to ease restrictions on legal marijuana business


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Please let us know:

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

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

Follow us on Twitter @hillhealthwatch


This post was updated at 6:48 p.m.