OVERNIGHT HEALTH: House advances bill to delay ObamaCare mandate

The House on Thursday advanced a bill to delay enforcement of the individual mandate under ObamaCare for five years, amid Democratic complaints that the bill would raise insurance premiums and leave millions uninsured.

In a 228-184 vote, members passed a rule allowing floor consideration of the bill, which the House is expected to pass Friday. It was supported by three Democrats.

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The legislation, H.R. 4015, started as a bill to repeal scheduled cuts to Medicare physicians — members of both parties support this "doc fix" proposal. However, Republicans have added language to pay for the fix by delaying the individual mandate penalties, a change that many Democrats were expected to oppose. Pete Kasperowicz at The Hill reports.

Doctors renounce the bill: Doctors are taking the unprecedented step of reversing their support for a permanent "doc fix" to Medicare after Republicans said they would pay for the reform by undoing a central provision of ObamaCare. The American Medical Association (AMA), which has pushed for a decade for an overhaul to Medicare's flawed physician payment formula, renounced the legislative package due for a House vote this week in a letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). Elise Viebeck at The Hill reports.

Dem wants delay: A House Democrat is proposing a one-month delay to the March 31 deadline to enroll in ObamaCare. Rep. Kurt Schrader (Ore.) introduced legislation Wednesday to let states running their own exchanges extend enrollment through the end of April. Schrader said the bill would give his home state a chance to recover from glitches in the enrollment process. Pete Kasperowicz at The Hill reports.

Pelosi: Republicans are “wasting their time” using ObamaCare as an electoral issue, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said Thursday. Days after the healthcare law was seen as a decisive issue in her party’s special election loss in Florida, Pelosi insisted GOP attacks would backfire and that Democrats would embrace ObamaCare on the campaign trail. She said Democrat Alex Sink’s loss to Republican David Jolly in Florida on Tuesday was an anomaly and blamed low turnout for her party’s loss of what was seen as a winnable race. Mike Lillis at The Hill reports.

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