OVERNIGHT HEALTH: GOP budget allocation hits health hard

Planned Parenthood: A federal judge in Indiana declined on Wednesday to stop the implementation of a state law that cuts off federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) signed the measure Tuesday. Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union immediately sued, seeking a court order to stop the law from taking effect.

“We are deeply disappointed that the judge decided not to stop this unconscionable law from impacting Hoosiers seeking preventive, reproductive health care,” Planned Parenthood of Indiana said in a statement.

Pediatric champions: Reps. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) and Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) got together for a rare bit of Energy and Commerce bipartisanship by co-sponsoring a bill reauthorizing annual appropriations for the Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education Payment Program. President Obama has called for ending the program in his 2012 budget to save $330 million per year.

Medicaid bill delayed: The House Energy and Commerce Committee didn’t have time Wednesday to begin taking up a bill that would repeal Medicaid eligibility rules in the healthcare reform law. The panel’s Health subcommittee will instead begin marking up the “maintenance of effort” bill on Thursday.

CBO has the score: The Medicaid maintenance of effort bill would shave $2.8 billion off the federal deficit between next year and 2016 but add 300,000 people to the uninsured rolls, says the Congressional Budget Office.

Coordinating care: Health and Human Services sought to stave off Medicaid cuts by promising closer collaboration between Medicare and Medicaid to save states millions. Healthwatch has more.

Rate review push: Consumer advocates and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) made the case Wednesday for a bill that would let the federal government block insurers’ rate hikes. The healthcare law lets the Health and Human Services Department review rates, but it can’t stop them from taking effect. Healthwatch has the story.

AC-Noes: Group practice physicians tell HHS that Accountable Care Organization regs need a complete overhaul. Healthwatch's Julian Pecquet has the story and the letter.


Thursday’s agenda:

The House Ways and Means Health subcommittee holds a hearing on alternatives to the formula that Congress uses to set Medicare payment rates for doctors. The Energy and Commerce Health panel held a hearing on the same issue last week.

Reps. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) will announce the formation of the Congressional Affordable Medicines Caucus, which will advocate on behalf of generic drugs. The Generic Pharmaceutical Association announced the new group.

Families USA releases an analysis of the national effect of House Republicans' proposed Medicaid cuts on long-term care.

The Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy hosts a Capitol Hill briefing drawing attention to recent research linking vaccines to autism.

The Conference Board of Canada releases a new report titled, “How Canada Performs – Hot Topic: Health Spending.”


What you may have missed on Healthwatch:

Federal funding for the National Institutes of Health generates tens of billions of dollars in economic activity and supports more than 480,000 jobs, advocates for NIH funding said.

HHS highlighted the effect of healthcare reform on women's health.

Community health centers seen as key to reducing emergency-room costs.

Cuccinelli sounds upbeat on healthcare challenge despite legal drubbing.


Lobbying registrations:

Dutko Worldwide / Care.com (connecting caregivers and families)

McGuireWoods Consulting / SSC Disability Services (veteran disability claims)

SmithBucklin Corp. / Physician Hospitals of America

Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families / self

Tonkon Torp / Dechra Veterinary Products USA (development and marketing of licensed branded pharmaceuticals)


Reading list:

In a USA Today op-ed, Mitt Romney makes the case for repealing the healthcare law — a day before he’s scheduled to give a major speech on the issue.

Aetna is cutting prices for health insurance plans in Connecticut, citing the federal healthcare law, the Connecticut Mirror reports.

The free market Center for Medicine in the Public Interest has new reports saying Comparative Effectiveness Research would hurt medical innovation. They're available here and here.

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