OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Supreme Court begins health law review

The other forum: While the stately lawyers debated inside, Healthwatch captured several scenes outside the high court that offered an early glimpse of the circus-like atmosphere expected Tuesday.

Presidential candidate Rick Santorum visited the court to once again pummel rival Mitt Romney for being "uniquely disqualified to make the case" against the federal law, which was inspired by the former governor's reforms in Massachusetts. 

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House Republicans warned liberals to beware the actions of a future "redneck president" if the court upholds the mandate. 

Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) launched a new ad timed to the arguments to tout his opposition to President Obama's healthcare reform law.

And liberal Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) used the case to once again call for a single-payer system.

ACA's big day: All in all, though, Monday's oral arguments and political rhetoric were merely the opening act to Tuesday's crucial debate on the individual mandate and the limits of executive power. The breakdown wasn't lost on would-be court watchers, many of whom gave up their chance to witness Monday's arguments in order to get a seat on Tuesday. Healthwatch has that story here.

The scene will be just as interesting outside the court. The Tea Party Patriots host a press conference in front of the Supreme Court with Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and other conservatives just as arguments get under way. And in the afternoon, Americans for Prosperity spearheads a "Hands Off My Health Care" rally with Bachmann, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and others.

The other court: The healthcare law remains unpopular in the court of public opinion, and many want it struck down.

According to the latest poll for The Hill, just 42 percent of respondents said the court should uphold the law, with 50 percent saying it should be struck down. And a new CNN/ORC poll finds that 43 percent of respondents want the court to strike down only some provisions of the law, while 23 percent think the court should leave the whole thing as it is.

Meanwhile, of nearly 400 former Supreme Court clerks and roughly 240 attorneys who have practiced before the high court, 65 percent said they expect the Justices to uphold the mandate, according to a new poll. 

Tax pain: In non-SCOTUS news, the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) released a report that argues the healthcare law's industry tax would cost nearly 39,000 jobs and more than $8 billion in economic output. Healthwatch's Julian Pecquet has more on that here.


Tuesday's agenda

The House Education and Workforce Committee at 10 a.m. holds a hearing dedicated to "learning the lessons" of the Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 miners in West Virginia two years ago. Here's the media advisory.

At the same time, the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on the Food and Drug Administration's regulation of cosmetics and whether a national uniform standard for ingredients is needed. Here's the background memo.

And the nonprofit National Committee for Quality Assurance presents its annual Health Quality Awards in the evening. Here's the agenda.


State by state

The New Mexico official charged with creating a health exchange has resigned, citing resistance from top officials.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott tells NPR member station WUSF that the state isn't doing anything to implement the healthcare reform law "because we believe it's unconstitutional."

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) held a field hearing on Medicare and Medicaid fraud in Providence.


Bill tracker

A group of six bipartisan senators — Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) — unveiled a discussion draft of legislation that would shift the burden to manufacturers to prove a drug is safe when entering the United States instead of waiting for a complaint. According to Bennet, the bill would "strengthen manufacturer quality standards, enhance the FDA's ability to protect Americans through improved tracking and oversight of foreign manufacturing sites, require manufacturers throughout the supply chain to register with the FDA, and increase the penalty for counterfeiting drugs."

Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) introduced a bill that would repeal the healthcare reform law but retain many of its consumer protections, including the prohibition on discrimination against pre-existing conditions; the ban on lifetime and "unreasonable" annual limits; and the extension of dependent coverage to children up to age 26 on their parents' plan (H.R. 4242).

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) introduced legislation requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs to reimburse eligible veterans who are entitled to Medicare benefits for Medicare deductibles and other expenses (H.R. 4245).

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) introduced bills to expand and simplify the credit for the employee health insurance expenses of small employers (H.R. 4252/S. 2227).

Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) has legislation to "enhance" Medicare Advantage program integrity (H.R. 4254).


Lobbying registrations

DLA Piper / Advanced Medical Technology Association (advice on tax reform)


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Comments / complaints / suggestions? Please let us know:

Julian Pecquet: jpecquet@thehill.com / 202-628-8527

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

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