OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Mandate suit heads to court

The so-called Investing in Innovations (i2) Initiative was made possible by the America Competes Reauthorization Act of 2010, which was signed into law Jan. 4. It uses prizes and challenges to spur research and development and improve U.S. competitiveness. Read the Healthwatch post.

Medicare messaging: Democrats began their attacks on Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) budget proposal by saying his Medicare plan was too much, but that something needs to be done to rein in Medicare spending. Since their big win in New York's 26th District, however, they've drawn a harder line: no benefit cuts, period. Republicans say Medicare has to be on the table in negotiations over raising the debt ceiling, but Democrats seem to be pushing back harder on the idea of making any changes to the program.

Healthwatch's Sam Baker has the story.

Rehabilitating "Obamacare":  A prominent Democrat is trying to change the public's perception of "ObamaCare," a term many in the party view as derogatory shorthand for the new healthcare reform law. 

Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) says he's had enough of Republicans using "ObamaCare" to disparage the healthcare overhaul. The second-most senior lawmaker in the House has gone so far as to hand out buttons with the words "I [heart symbol] ObamaCare" as part of his campaign to rehabilitate a moniker he thinks Democrats should be proud of. Healthwatch's Julian Pecquet has the story.

Toxic chickens: Pfizer agreed to suspend U.S. sales of an animal drug used by poultry farmers since the 1940s after the FDA linked it to high levels of arsenic, a carcinogen. FDA said the arsenic levels it identified were "very low."

"FDA detected increased levels of inorganic arsenic in the livers of chickens treated with 3-Nitro, raising concerns of a very low but completely avoidable exposure to a carcinogen," said Michael Taylor, FDA's deputy commissioner for foods. "We are pleased to announce that the company is cooperating with us to protect the public health."

Raising hope: The Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation announced it raised a record-breaking $700,000 at its May 19 Night of Heroes gala for wounded veterans.


Thursday's agenda

Michelle Obama keynotes: The first lady is the keynote speaker for the 40th anniversary celebration of the National Partnership for Women & Families. About 1,500 corporate, congressional and other leaders are expected to attend the high-profile gala.

Partnership President Debra Ness will also discuss next steps for making the nation more "fair and family friendly" and implementing health reform. She'll also discuss anti-abortion legislation.


Reading list

In an editorial, the Los Angeles Times takes a closer look at Blue Shield's decision to cap its profits in California.

Washington Post political blogger Chris Cilizza says healthcare might not hurt Mitt Romney as much as other pundits expect.

The Medicare agency is delaying the application deadline for Pioneer ACOs, Inside Health Policy reports (subscription required).


What you might have missed on Healthwatch

House panel plans IPAB hearing.

GOP targets healthcare tanning tax.


Comments / complaints / suggestions? Please let us know:

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

Sam Baker: sbaker@thehill.com / 202-628-8351


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