OVERNIGHT HEALTH: HHS defends Medicaid flexibility, but GOP criticism continues

A legal win for healthcare reform: A district court in Mississippi threw out Thursday a challenge to the healthcare reform law's individual mandate. 

Medicare hearing announced: Ways and Means Chairman David Camp (R-Mich.) will hold a hearing next Thursday on healthcare reform's impact on Medicare and Medicare beneficiaries. 

Abortion Hill Fight, Round 1: The Energy and Commerce health subcommittee has scheduled a hearing for next Wednesday on chairman Joe Pitts' (R-Pa.) bill banning federal abortion funding in the healthcare reform law.

Liberal group defends Planned Parenthood: MoveOn.org is criticizing some media organizations — including The Hill, the Wall Street Journal and NPR — for not delving into the controversial background of the conservative activist group that filmed a controversial Planned Parenthood video, which was made public Tuesday. 

Primetime viewing: Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) will join with almost a dozen anti-abortion groups in a webcast Thursday night to drump up support for his bill that would strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood. The webcast starts at 8:30 p.m. and can be seen here.

Liberals fight back: The ACLU is asking supporters to contact House members to oppose H.R. 3, which would establish a permanent prohibition on federal subsidies for abortion and for healthcare plans that cover abortion.

Patent reform raises drug-price concerns: The generic drug industry says a new patent reform bill from Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyCongress should build on the momentum from spending bill Overnight Tech: Zuckerberg grilled by lawmakers over data scandal | What we learned from marathon hearing | Facebook hit with class action lawsuit | Twitter endorses political ad disclosure bill | Uber buys bike share Overnight Cybersecurity: Zuckerberg faces grilling in marathon hearing | What we learned from Facebook chief | Dems press Ryan to help get Russia hacking records | Top Trump security adviser resigning MORE (D-Vt.) and Charles GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley renews complaints about History Channel Republicans divided over legislation protecting Mueller The Hill's Morning Report: Inside the Comey memos MORE (R-Iowa) would weaken penalties for deceptive patent applications. The bill unanimously cleared the Judiciary Committee on Thursday. 

"Weakening current inequitable conduct standards will simply result in providing innovators with a greater incentive to be less than honest when seeking patents, thereby making it harder for companies to challenge dubious patents and bring affordable generic medicines to consumers," argues the Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA).

The brand-name drug industry, on the other hand, loves it.

Drug management bill dropped: Sen. Kay HaganKay Ruthven Hagan2020 Dems compete for top campaign operatives Senate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Politics is purple in North Carolina MORE (D-N.C.) has a new bill allowing seniors with a single chronic condition to review their medications with a pharmacist or other health care provider in a one-on-one session. The bill builds on the healthcare reform law's Medication Therapy Management program for seniors with multiple conditions by expanding eligibility.

Whoops: Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonOvernight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes Scott ramps up spending to million in Florida Senate race Overnight Energy: Trump NASA pick advances after drama | White House office to investigate Pruitt's soundproof booth | 170 lawmakers call for Pruitt to resign MORE (R-Fla.), who is asking the Supreme Court to expedite a ruling on the healthcare reform law, incorrectly tells ABC News that the law includes a severability clause for the individual mandate. 

Happy anniversary: One day before the two-year anniversary of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) reauthorization, HHS released a report showing 2 million more children were served by Medicaid or CHIP at some point in the past year. In total, 42 million children are served by both programs, HHS said. 

HHS also announced $40 million in new grants to states, community-based organizations, school systems and others to support outreach and enrollment activities.

Florida Dems pick on the governor: The six remaining Democratic members of Florida's congressional delegation joined hands to criticize Gov. Rick Scott and Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty's decision to return a $1 million federal grant for implementation of the healthcare reform law. 

HHS unveils healthcare fugitive list: HHS's Office of Inspector General released a first-ever list of the top Medicaid and Medicare fraudsters who are on the run. 

Legal roundup: A new 32-page Congressional Research Service report sums up the legal questions surrounding the individual mandate. 

Reading list:

Health IT czar David Blumenthal is leaving the Obama Administration this spring, Kaiser Health News reports. 

Wisconsin will continue to implement the reform law, even though the attorney general indicated otherwise in the aftermath of the Florida ruling, the Associated Press reports.

The North Carolina House passed a bill that would block the individual mandate, the Associated Press reports

Tompkins associates lists the Top 11 priorities for the drug industry in 2011. 

Gooznews' Merrill Goozner tackles health sector consolidation and rising prices for the Fiscal Times

The cost of healthcare is a concern for survivors of the Tucson shooting tragedy, The New York Times reports.

The deficit-reduction mantra is taking over the high school curriculum, says Remapping Debate. 

What you might have missed on Healthwatch

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) accused Energy and Commerce Chair Fred Upton (R-Mich.) of going on a "fishing expedition" and "abuse of the oversight process" with his investigations into the healthcare reform law. http://bit.ly/fi4p9z

A new Republican ad is out linking Sen. Joe Machin (D-W.Va.) to President Obama the day after the centrist freshman voted against repealing the healthcare reform law. http://bit.ly/hQoHQB

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidGOP poised to advance rules change to speed up Trump nominees Dems walk tightrope on Pompeo nomination The Memo: Teens rankle the right with gun activism MORE (D-Nev.) attacks GOP for wasting time on repeal vote. http://bit.ly/hguNss

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) is asking for an expedited Supreme Court ruling on the healthcare reform law. http://bit.ly/gl5Rzc

GOP plans 'unrelenting' healthcare repeal effort despite Senate defeat. http://bit.ly/eq5Ydp

Efforts to repeal a new medical device tax are picking up. http://bit.ly/f133O9

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

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