OVERNIGHT HEALTH: On reform anniversary, more waiver scrutiny


Group calls out Rove for hypocrisy: As Rove's group, Crossroads GPS, called for waiver transparency from the administration, campaign watchdog groups pointed out that Rove's organization refuses to disclose donors. Read The New York Times story

GOP wants more transparency: Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) drew attention to a bill they introduced last week requiring HHS to disclose more information on the annual limit waivers. The lawmakers want HHS to publish the secretary's determination for each waiver request and the reason for her decision. Read the Healthwatch story.

Broker battle goes on: Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) wrote to the top Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Finance and Health committees Wednesday, urging them to oppose legislation that would decrease how much insurers have to spend on medical care under the healthcare reform law.

The letter comes as state regulators prepare to take up legislation exempting agents and brokers from the law's medical-loss ratio (MLR) calculation during their spring meeting this weekend. Bipartisan legislation with the same intent has also been introduced in Congress.

"I'm gravely concerned that a bill recently introduced in the House of Representatives would undermine the integrity of the MLR provision by allowing money that should be spent on health care costs to be spent on commissions for insurance agents and brokers," Franken wrote. "American families should not have to shoulder those fees through further increases to their health insurance premiums."

SCOTUS to review Virginia's fast-track request: The Supreme Court is scheduled on April 15 to consider Virginia's request to fast-track its healthcare reform challenge. That means the justices will likely decide by April 18, according to the ACA Litigation Blog.

Sebelius defends community health centers: Sebelius marked the one-year anniversary of healthcare reform by defending community health centers, which were cut by $1 billion under the long-term budget passed by House Republicans last month. The cut would deny care to about 10 million individuals, she told the National Association of Community Health Centers Annual policy conference. "This will threaten not just the health of our country, but also our prosperity," she said. 

GOP says they're united on defunding: Republicans remain united in their desire to defund healthcare reform despite a public split over stopgap budget bills that contain money for implementation, the leader of the Republican Policy Committee said Wednesday. They defended House Republicans' decision to pass several stopgap budget bills that provide money for the law's implementation, despite objections from some conservatives. Read the Healthwatch story.

Thursday's agenda:

No letup on reform celebration: Sebelius will celebrate the one-year anniversary in Maryland tomorrow. She'll be joined by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.).

Support for CLASS: The Urban Institute is holding an event on how to fix the "totally unsustainable" long-term care insurance program included in healthcare reform. Check out the agenda.

Cancer groups get star power: Tour de France champion and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong is appearing with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network to support funding for the National Institutes of Health.

Reading list:

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), one of healthcare reform's staunchest allies, said the Supreme Court will likely strike down the individual mandate, Talking Points Memo writes

Florida lawmakers are considering more than a dozen abortion bills, the Miami Herald reports

The State in South Carolina writes about Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-S.C.) refusal to back a doctor's application for a healthcare reform grant. 

Healthcare reform looms large over the 2012 presidential race, Fox News writes

Obama and Mitt Romney aides traded healthcare barbs via Twitter, USA Today writes

What you might have missed on Healthwatch:

A year after playing a key role in passing healthcare reform, former Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) says he is still closely tied to the law. 

The healthcare reform fight rages on a year later. 

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) promises to do whatever he can to block the law.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), in charge of promoting healthcare reform, said it will take time to build support for the overhaul. 

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) told lawmakers that the White House should fast-track healthcare reform lawsuits.

Comments / complaints / suggestions?

Please let us know:

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

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

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