OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Dems say no to 'risk corridors' repeal

Democrats are warning Republicans that they would not accept a debt-ceiling bill that repeals a controversial program in ObamaCare. House Republicans contend the “risk corridors” provision in the healthcare law amounts to a federal bailout of the insurance industry, and have discussed making its elimination a condition for hiking the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling.

But Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said Democrats would not go along with the GOP’s “political crusade against the Affordable Care Act.”

“Repealing this program would disrupt coverage for millions of Americans who have now gained it thanks to the Affordable Care Act, and would punish families across the country with more uncertainty and higher prices,” Murray said in a statement to The Hill.

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Top House Republicans emerged from a leadership meeting Monday afternoon saying no decisions had been made on a debt-ceiling measure, and that the issue would be discussed further at a meeting of the full conference Tuesday morning.

"It's all about getting to 218," said Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), vice chairwoman of the GOP conference.

Customer service?: Changes to the tax provisions in President Obama’s healthcare law could hurt the IRS’s ability to tell taxpayers what’s required of them, a new Treasury audit says.

Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration said that the IRS, which is scheduled to become the public face for healthcare customer service in 2015, has sufficient programs in place to inform taxpayers about ObamaCare’s tax requirements. But alterations to the Affordable Care Act — like the administration’s decision last July to delay the so-called employer mandate for a year — could put a crimp in those customer service efforts, the inspector general said.

The Hill's On the Money blog has more details.

Competing for the top spot: Reps. Anna Eshoo (Calif.) and Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.) are squaring off to replace retiring Rep. Henry Waxman (Calif.) as the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. In separate statements on Monday, both Democrats said that they had consulted with other lawmakers to seek the post on one of the House's most powerful panels.

The announcements sets off an intriguing race between the two candidates, who will be vying for the support of their fellow Democrats. Decisions on ranking members and chairmen of panels are made by each party after the elections. Read more at The Hill's Hillicon Valley blog.

White House vows help: The White House on Monday vowed to help the tens of thousands of ObamaCare enrollees who contend that the HealthCare.gov website improperly enrolled them during the sign-up process to purchase new insurance.

"We are going to get them help," White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

On Sunday, The Washington Post reported that approximately 22,000 Americans had filed appeals with the government to correct errors with their enrollment data. The complaints charge that the ObamaCare marketplace had charged them too much for insurance, incorrectly enrolled them or didn't enroll them at all.

According to the report, the administration has not been able to address the complaints yet because of persisting issues with the enrollment system.

The Hill has more from Carney's presser.

Two more bills: The House Ways and Means Committee will meet Tuesday morning to mark up two ObamaCare bills that could be heading to the House floor in the coming weeks.

One of these is the Save American Workers (SAW) Act, H.R. 2575, which would repeal ObamaCare's definition of "full-time employee." The law requires companies to offer healthcare plans to their workers if they have more than 50 full-time employees, and says anyone working 30 or more hours a week is classified as full time.

Rep. Todd Young (R-Ind.), who sponsored the SAW Act, is one of dozens of Republicans who argue that this definition creates an incentive for companies to only allow people to work 29 or fewer hours a week. Supporters of the current standard say that changing it will expose even more workers to hour cuts. The Hill's Floor Action blog has the story.


Tuesday's schedule

The House Ways and Means Committee will mark up a bill on Tuesday to repeal ObamaCare's 30-hour definition of full-time work.

The House Oversight subcommittee on government operations will debate the Obama administration's policy on marijuana.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Tuesday will consider the nomination of Vivek Hallegere Murthy for surgeon general.


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