OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Abortion reclaims center stage in House

In other abortion news, abortion-rights advocates plan to deliver petitions with more than 130,000 signatures Thursday opposing a congressional investigation of Planned Parenthood. Healthwatch's Sam Baker has that story.

California cuts: More than a dozen House Democrats from California met recently with Medicaid boss Donald Berwick to warn him that Gov. Jerry Brown's request for deep cuts to the state/federal program would devastate healthcare providers and their patients, The Hill has learned. Healthwatch's Julian Pecquet has the story.

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Reconcile this: Using the budget reconciliation process to repeal healthcare reform would be inappropriate, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) tells Healthwatch. Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum raised the possibility during Tuesday's debate.

Messing with Texas: The advocacy group Public Citizen charged Wednesday that limits on medical malpractice suits have made the healthcare system worse in Texas. The state's alleged success with tort reform is the major component of Gov. Rick Perry's healthcare platform. Read the Healthwatch post.

Tough choices: Most Medicare beneficiaries have no idea how the federal program's rating system works, according to a new Kaiser Permanente survey. That could be a problem as the annual enrollment period begins this week. Healthwatch has more.


Thursday's agenda

The Ways and Means Committee marks up a bill to fix a "glitch" in the healthcare reform law that could make some middle-class people eligible for Medicaid.

HHS is making an announcement about how the National Health Service Corps has expanded the healthcare workforce.

A hospital executive is among the witnesses at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on arbitration in lawsuits.

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) and other Republicans host a press conference to lambast the health law's healthcare records regulations, which they say violate patients' privacy.

The NAACP and others release data on how minorities would be affected by Medicaid cuts.


State by state

A Rhode Island court upheld the state's right to regulate contracts between insurers and providers.

Officials in Arkansas are looking at setting up their own insurance exchange.


Bill tracker

Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) is the latest congressional Democrat to introduce a bill that would cut Medicare's payments for prescription drugs. Read the Healthwatch post.

Rep. David Price (D-N.C.) has legislation to expand eligibility for the healthcare law's high-risk pool by allowing people enrolled in a state health benefits risk pool to be eligible. (H.R. 3149)

Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) introduced a bill on "supplies associated with the injection of insulin, of containment, removal, decontamination and disposal of home-generated needles, syringes, and other sharps through a sharps container, decontamination/destruction device, or sharps-by-mail program or similar program under part D of the Medicare program." (H.R. 3150)

Four senators of both parties introduced legislation extending through 2012 two incentive programs aimed at improving the quality of care by attracting healthcare providers to Health Professional Shortage Areas (S. 1680)


Fraud fight

A Minnesota home health agency owner pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft in a scheme to defraud Medicaid. 

An Arkansas man pleaded guilty to fraudulently billing Medicare for arthritis kits and power wheelchairs.


Lobbying registrations

Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications / Steward Healthcare System LLC

B&D Consulting / Novamax


Reading list

ProPublica notes that HHS missed the statutory deadline to get started on a database tracking drug and device companies' payments to doctors.

Federal money that's intended to prod doctors into using electronic medical records is going largely to doctors who already use the technology, according to iWatch News.

The insurance industry is lobbying to sell private coverage to the expensive patients who receive both Medicare and Medicaid, Bloomberg reports.


What you might have missed on Healthwatch

Waxman compares Republican defenders of food marketers to tobacco champions

Harkin defies Obama, tells supercommittee to leave health law's prevention fund alone


Comments / complaints / suggestions? Please let us know:

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

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


Follow us on Twitter @hillhealthwatch