OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Next chapter for the Affordable Care Act

For the healthcare world, Tuesday’s speech comes down to one thing: ObamaCare.

President Obama’s fifth State of the Union address will allow him to set the tone for healthcare reform’s most significant year yet while recasting the narrative around its rocky rollout last fall.

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The White House is at a critical juncture as election season approaches. Problems with the Affordable Care Act’s implementation have seriously damaged Obama’s poll numbers and opened a new front for Republican attacks on vulnerable Democrats. As a result, critics hope the president will signal a new willingness to repeal or restructure controversial parts of the law.

Read more at HealthWatch.

BREAKING: House votes to limit abortion coverage under ObamaCare.
The House voted Tuesday to permanently ban federal spending on abortion, and to block the flow of federal subsidies to ObamaCare insurance plans that cover abortion.

Members voted 227-188 to pass the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, H.R. 7. The bill is similar to one the House passed in 2011 with the help of 16 Democrats — this time around, only six Democrats voted with the GOP.

The legislation would make permanent the ban on federal spending on abortion, something that has been approved each year for decades through the Hyde Amendment, a policy rider attached to the Health and Human Services spending bill. Republicans said this policy has been renewed with bipartisan support since the late 1970s, and that Congress should have no qualms about making it permanent. Pete Kasperowicz reports.

Coburn: Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said Tuesday he lost his cancer specialist after signing up for ObamaCare. The Oklahoma senator has been battling a recurrence of prostate cancer and plans to resign at the end of the year, forgoing his final two years in office. Like all members of Congress, Coburn now receives his federal health coverage through the D.C. ObamaCare exchange. Jonathan Easley at The Hill reports.

More SOTU: Republicans on Tuesday sought to highlight the personal stories of Americans who have been adversely affected by ObamaCare.

Nearly a dozen GOP lawmakers have invited people who say they've been harmed by the healthcare law to the chamber as their guests for the State of the Union address. In addition, the Republican National Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee are holding a joint press conference Tuesday afternoon, where four Republican lawmakers and their guests will recount the troubles individuals and small-business owners say they’re having under the Affordable Care Act.

Democrats are pushing back, inviting their own guests, who they say have benefited under the law. Jonathan Easley at The Hill reports.

30 hour: Retail, restaurant and other business groups blasted ObamaCare's definition of full-time work Tuesday after lawmakers tangled over the merits of changing it. The National Retail Federation and several peer trade groups said the current rule will cause businesses to cut employee hours to avoid offering them health insurance.

The 30-hour definition, which comes as part of ObamaCare's employer mandate, "discarded more than a half-century of established labor policy," said Peter Anastos, owner of the Maine Course Hospitality Group. His statement was circulated by the International Franchise Association. Anastos testified Tuesday before the House Ways and Means Committee in a hearing that probed the possible unintended consequences of the 30-hour rule.

Elise Viebeck at The Hill reports.

Issa: House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) accused the Obama administration of lying about the security of the HealthCare.gov website at a hearing on Tuesday. Issa said the administration’s claims that the website was adequately tested before its launch, that it's tested on an ongoing basis, and that nobody in the administration pushed for a delay of the rollout over security issues conflicts with the administration’s insistence Issa not release documents from a contractor, because they could be used as a roadmap for hackers. Jonathan Easley at The Hill reports.

State by State:

Answers sought on families' Medicaid problems
.

Herbert squares off over Medicaid expansion
.

Beebe warns against ending healthcare program
.

Reading List:

A plan to replace ObamaCare, by Sens. Coburn, Burr, and Hatch.

The GOP is still obsessed with ObamaCare, by Rep. Steve Israel.

What you may have missed at HealthWatch:

Dems blast GOP alternative to ObamaCare.

Congress thrusts itself into ‘birth control mandate’ court fight.