OVERNIGHT HEALTH: GOP defends repeal effort

Both outgoing-House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) told The Hill that Democrats are unlikely to support repeal.

"I'm not worried about a large number of Democrats voting for repeal," Hoyer said.

One Dem likely to support repeal: So far, Rep. Dan Boren (Okla.) is the only Democrat who voted against the reform law to recently signal support for repealing it. Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) has also expressed support for repeal in the past. http://bit.ly/eKD6k4

Incoming GOPer expects 'struggle' after rejecting insurance: Rep.-elect Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), who will reject congressional health benefits, said buying individual insurance will be a “struggle” for him and his wife, who has a pre-existing condition. Liberal groups have been pressuring incoming Republicans, who campaigned against health reform, to drop government-backed insurance. "I feel I was sent to Washington to be something different," Walsh said on CNN Tuesday morning. http://bit.ly/gDv7es

Senior Dem supports Walsh: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) praised the incoming congressman’s principled stand and urged Republicans opposing the reform law to follow suit. "I don't agree with his views on healthcare, but at least he is being fair and consistent,” Schumer said.

Reform boosts primary care: The reform law provides a number of provisions to improve primary care, according to a new brief from the pro-reform Commonwealth Fund. The reform’s highlights, according to the group, include boosted Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement; 32 million more insured people; Medicare and Medicaid patient-centered home pilots and professional support.

Foundation orders study on prescription drug compliance: The National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation has put out a request for proposal aimed at studying "primary medication non-adherence." Selected researchers will examine efforts to reduce instances when a patient fails to fill or pick-up their newly prescribed medications, a $290 billion-a-year problem that happens in the case of nearly one in four newly prescribed medications according to a new study. http://bit.ly/fQ2wh6

Need to buckle up: About one in seven drivers and passengers regularly don’t use seatbelts, while an adult is treatment by an emergency department for crash-related injuries every 14 seconds, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. http://bit.ly/i0qFTg

Rep. Pomeroy joins Alston & Bird: Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.), a Blue Dog defeated in the mid-term elections, has joined the law firm Alston & Bird's healthcare practice. Pomeroy's chief of staff, Bob Siggins, is also joining the firm.

On the agenda for Wednesday:

New HHS data boost Dems' anti-repeal message: Expect House Democrats to tout the benefits of healthcare reform for their individual districts as Republicans get ready to vote for repeal. To help make the case against repeal, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is releasing new data on the national and state-by-state repercussions if the bill's consumer protections are repealed. 

“American residents, providers, small businesses and other employers would be denied critical new benefits of the law, from protections against insurance industry abuses to new coverage options and millions of dollars in support so the United States can deliver quality, affordable health care options to all of its residents," say department documents obtained by The Hill. http://bit.ly/gsm2F5

Congress opens with controversial vote: As the 112th Congress opens Wednesday, the House will vote on Republican budget rules that allow the new majority to ignore the deficit impact of repealing the reform law. Democrats have accused the GOP of violating campaign promises to reduce the deficit because the Congressional Budget Office said the reform law will save $124 billion over the next 10 years. However, Cantor questioned those figures Tuesday afternoon. http://bit.ly/eIID1j

Supreme Court to weigh in on data-mining: The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to decide this week whether to hear a challenge to state laws banning the publication and distribution of physicians' drug prescription practices. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York struck down a Vermont law in November on the grounds that it violates the right to free speech, but the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston has upheld similar statutes from Maine and New Hampshire.

 Around the Web:

Gov. Bobby Jindal, an expected Republican candidate for the 2012 presidential race, said Louisiana will shuffle its budget to avoid Medicaid cuts, the Associated Press reports. http://bit.ly/i32Jmc

Meanwhile, newly elected New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to propose $2.1 billion in Medicaid cuts to help close a $9 billion budget gap, Reuters reports. http://reut.rs/hAYuaQ

New York City councilman cites health concerns in bid to remove fluoride from drinking water, the New York Daily News reports. http://nydn.us/hCRYT1

The Food and Drug Administration's deputy chief is leaving to head Maryland’s health department, the Washington Post reports. http://wapo.st/hXwYam

A new study finds that one in five heart defibrillators may be implanted unnecessarily, the Associated Press reports. http://n.pr/eSgUAZ

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

Jason Millman: jmillman@thehill.com / 202-628-8351

Correction: An earlier version said Mario Cuomo was New York's newly elected governor. It is actually Andrew Cuomo, whose father, Mario, is a former New York governor.