OVERNIGHT HEALTH: House could vote on 'doc fix' next week

The House could consider legislation related to Medicare's flawed physician payment formula next week, although it is unclear whether the chamber will weigh a permanent or a short-term "doc fix." House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced that the chamber could hold a vote pertaining to Medicare's sustainable growth rate (SGR) in the final work week before the holiday recess.

Physicians who accept Medicare payments are facing a pay cut of about 25 percent  on Dec. 31,  when the current fix is set to expire, putting pressure on Congress to act before next year. There are signs that lawmakers could move forward on a permanent fix this month, though final passage appears unlikely as lawmakers rush to finish other work. Elise Viebeck at The Hill reports.

Repeal and replace: House Republicans are touting growing support in their conference for a bill that would repeal ObamaCare and replace it with a conservative alternative. The American Health Care Reform Act, sponsored by Reps. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), now boasts 117 co-sponsors — the majority of the GOP conference — after picking up about a dozen House Republicans in the last two months. Jonathan Easley at The Hill reports.

Bluegrass battle: Sen. Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) criticism of President Obama's healthcare reform law will haunt him in next year's midterm elections, the governor of Kentucky predicted Thursday. Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear said the law is benefitting people across the state, who will remember those benefits as they head to the polls next November.

"I have a U.S. senator who keeps saying, 'Kentuckians don't want this.' Well, the facts don't prove that out," Beshear said during a press briefing in the Capitol. Mike Lillis at The Hill reports.

Go directly to jail: Rep. George Holding (R-N.C.) has proposed legislation that would require federal officials and others who use ObamaCare data to commit identify theft serve a five-year prison term. His No Identity Theft in Health Care Act, H.R. 3652, is yet another response to the troubled ObamaCare rollout. Over the last week, reports have surfaced quoting computer security experts who said HealthCare.gov has virtually no data security measures in place. Pete Kasperowicz at The Hill reports.

State by state:

The Florida Supreme Court will hear a medical marijuana case, The Miami Herald reports.

Alabama insurers hope HealthCare.gov’s problems are behind them, The Montgomery Adviser reports.

Reading list:

Media interest in problems with the HealthCare.gov website is waning, writes Alex Seitz-Wald at The National Journal.

Tevi Troy at Commentary says the administration broke three promises with the healthcare law.

Ryan Cooper at The PlumLine says millenials will come around on ObamaCare.

What you may have missed at HealthWatch:

White House official blogs cancer fight.

Controversial Toronto mayor slams ObamaCare.

Comments / complaints / suggestions?

Please let us know:

Jonathan Easley/ jeasley@thehill.com / 202-407-8014 / @joneasley

Elise Viebeck/ eviebeck@thehill.com / 202-628-8523 / @eliseviebeck