OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Vulnerable Democrats huddle over healthcare changes

The White House took the rare step of naming more than a dozen Democrats it worked “in close consultation” with ahead of a Wednesday announcement about changes to the Affordable Care Act. All of the Democrats the administration cited are up for reelection in 2014, and most are either vulnerable or find themselves early targets by the GOP for their past support of ObamaCare.

The administration announced Wednesday it would allow insurers to continue offering health plans that do not meet ObamaCare’s minimum coverage requirements. Prolonging the “keep your plan” fix to accommodate for President Obama’s broken promise about the law will avoid another wave of health policy cancellations otherwise expected in critical weeks before Election Day in 2014. 

The administration’s announcement of the delay singled out 13 Democrats that helped craft that change. 

Jonathan Easley at The Hill reports.

Delay: The White House on Wednesday announced a new ObamaCare delay that will allow some consumers to keep health plans that do not meet the law's standards until past the end of the Obama presidency. 

The unprecedented move, first reported by The Hill on Monday, will protect vulnerable Democrats in the midterm elections by staving off a wave of cancellation notices that would have hit patients in the final weeks of the campaign. 

The policy also means that one of the key features of the Affordable Care Act — minimum healthcare benefit requirements — will not be in place for all Americans when President Obama leaves office. Elise Viebeck at The Hill reports.

Bailout?: The risk corridors created under ObamaCare that Republicans have decried as a “bailout” won’t cost the federal government anything because they’ll be implemented in a “budget neutral fashion,” the Obama administration said Wednesday. Jonathan Easley at The Hill reports.

Mandate: Twenty-seven Democrats on Wednesday sided with House Republicans on a bill to delay tax penalties for failing to buy health insurance this year under ObamaCare.

The vote, which reflects growing Republican frustration with President Obama's selective implementation of the law, again shows some level of Democratic support for a legislative change to the law. Several House bills aimed at making the health law more transparent have also received support from a few dozen Democrats.

Most of the 27 Democrats voting for the bill are seen as vulnerable in the November elections, and one of them, Rep. Gary Peters (Mich.), is running for the Senate this year. Pete Kasperowicz at The Hill reports.

50: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democrats are fed up with House Republican efforts to repeal or alter the Affordable Care Act. 

Pelosi on Wednesday released a list of 50 Affordable Care Act accomplishments, as House Republicans prepared to vote on a bill that would eliminate the individual mandate penalty under ObamaCare in 2014. Democrats say Wednesday’s vote will be the 50th time House Republicans have attempted to repeal or make changes to the law that would effectively undermine it.

The minority leader is countering with 50 ways she says the law is already benefitting Americans. Jonathan Easley at The Hill reports.

State by State:

Virginia lawmakers step up Medicaid fight

'Private option' Medicaid expansion to continue in Arkansas.

Debate continues over Medicaid expansion in Maine


Reading List:

ObamaCare not worth the pain for Democrats.

Dems will regret ObamaCare delays.

Insurers expecting big ObamaCare losses in 2015.

What you may have missed at HealthWatch:

Poll finds voters warming up to ObamaCare.

Anger builds over Medicare drug limits.

GOP governor salutes Sebelius’s professionalism.