OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Anti-fraud proposals target doctors, Cuba

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL PRO-Choice America, said the abortion-rights group has added on average 1,000 names per day to its activist e-mail chain since House Republicans voted two weeks ago for a seven-month spending bill that strips away Title X family planning funds.

“This should send a very strong message to self-described moderates who vote on bills like H.R. 3,” Keenan said. 

Anti-abortion groups pressure Senate: Not long after the upper chamber passed a noncontroversial two-week stopgap measure to keep the government running, anti-abortion advocates pressed the Senate to include a ban on Planned Parenthood funds in the next long-term spending bill. But Senate Democrats consider the defunding of Planned Parenthood and healthcare reform to be nonstarters as they look to negotiate a long-term spending measure with House Republicans. Read the Healthwatch story

Medicare fraud 'easy,' a pro says: Aghaegbuna "Ike" Odelugo, who faces sentencing this spring for Medicare fraud, told the House Ways and Means oversight subpanel it didn’t take “more than a month” to develop a scheme that swindled Medicare out of nearly $10 million over a three-year period. Read the Healthwatch story.

Healthcare reform opponents want full court for appeal: Plaintiffs who unsuccessfully challenged the healthcare reform law's constitutionality in a Washington, D.C., federal court are asking for the entire appellate court to hear their appeal — not just the standard three-judge panel. 

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler became the third federal judge to uphold the law's individual mandate late last month. The plaintiffs — individuals who have gone without health insurance for years — filed an "en banc" petition in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Tuesday.

FDA weighs in on breast implant risks: The Food and Drug Administration has asked two plastic surgery organizations to discontinue webinars that appeared to downplay the link between breast implants and a rare form of cancer.

Who's watching granny?: Ninety-two percent of nursing facilities employ at least one individual with a criminal conviction, according to a new report from the HHS Inspector General. Over all, 5 percent of nursing facility employees had at least one conviction.


Thursday's agenda:

Vinson watch continues: U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson has yet to say whether he meant to halt implementation of the healthcare reform law with his Jan. 31 ruling that struck it down. As of Monday night, both sides had filed their arguments, and Vinson has promised to weigh in “promptly.”

Sebelius back on the Hill: HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will defend healthcare reform and the department’s 2012 budget request before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday morning.

Talking constitutionality: Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) will give the keynote address at an American Constitution Society for Law and Policy panel on healthcare reform’s constitutionality.

Essential benefits, Day 2: The Institute of Medicine (IOM) continues its two-day meeting on recommendations for essential benefits under healthcare reform. This session, however, is just for committee members and IOM staff.

Reading list:

Colorado's Democratic state lawmakers are ignoring GOP requests to join a handful of states that want to form an interstate compact to develop their own healthcare reforms, The Associated Press reports

A bill requiring women to undergo counseling before having an abortion cleared the South Dakota Senate and is headed to the governor, reports KSFY.com.

The Food and Drug Administration ordered manufacturers of roughly 500 unapproved cold and cough prescription drugs to stop producing them, The Wall Street Journal writes

Pennsylvania shut down a subsidized insurance program for working adults, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports

Nebraska lawmakers gave their initial approval to a bill that would ban private insurers from paying for abortions unless customers buy a separate additional coverage, the Lincoln Journal Star reports. The bill would also restrict insurance coverage of abortion on the state's health insurance exchange.


What you might have missed on Healthwatch:

As of Dec. 31, 2010, almost 5,500 employers covering 61,000 people had been accepted into a temporary early retiree insurance program included in the reform law. 

House Republicans accused President Obama of "playing politics" on 1099 repeal after he announced his opposition to the GOP pay-for. 

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) grilled federal officials Wednesday about their decision to postpone the use of private contractors to recoup fraudulent Medicaid claims.

Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the healthcare reforms initiated by Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts are too similar to congressional Democrats' reform law.

Comments / complaints / suggestions? 

Please let us know:

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

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