OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Entitlements fight intensifies

Reforms to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security don't belong in a deal on the looming "fiscal cliff," Sen. Dick Durbin (R-Ill.) said Tuesday. Durbin, a senior member of Senate Democratic leadership, said entitlement programs can be reformed down the road, but not as part of a deal to avert spending cuts and tax hikes set to take effect at the end of the year.

“Progressives should be willing to talk about ways to ensure the long-term viability of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, but those conversations should not be part of a plan to avert the fiscal cliff,” Durbin said at during a speech to the Center for American Progress Action Fund. 

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The Hill has more on Durbin's comments.

'Drop McCain': The right continues its debate over how to proceed on matters of abortion, with abortion-rights activists slamming Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) call to "leave the issue alone." Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said that McCain should remember his own reasons for opposing abortion rights.

"The folks that have taken the stand on this issue have taken it because we're talking about defending vulnerable human life. If it's not about that, it's not about anything," she said.

Personhood USA was more direct, telling the GOP to "drop" McCain and "all Republican candidates who want to maintain the status quo on abortion." Healthwatch has more from both statements.

Recess nudity: A group of protesters stripped naked in Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) Longworth office to highlight threats to cut AIDS research funding. Three women were arrested and charged with lewd and indecent acts while chanting "Boehner, Boehner, don’t be a d---, budget cuts will make us sick ... the budget cuts are really rude, that’s why we have to be so lewd." Some protesters were HIV-positive and told reporters that they depend on government programs like Medicaid for treatment. Read more about the event at Twitter Room.


Wednesday's agenda

The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on healthcare fraud.


State by state

Arizona launches site to dissuade women from having abortions

High court weighs Georgia hospital merger

Lawmaker plans to push medical marijuana bill


Reading list

Democrats resist significant changes to Medicare, other entitlement programs

Study leaves women with conflicting advice on mammograms

Taking aim at restrictions on medical questions about gun ownership


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CDC: Most young people with HIV don't know it

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

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

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