By Julian Pecquet and Sam Baker - 03/20/12 10:45 PM EDT
Ryan lite: As expected, House Budget Committee Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) unveiled a House budget that transforms Medicaid into a block grant and offers seniors a choice between traditional Medicare and subsidies to buy private coverage. A preliminary analysis by the Congressional Budget Office found that Medicare benefits would likely shrink under Ryan's proposal, while the number of people without health insurance could be "much higher" than under current law because it calls for repealing Obama’s healthcare law.
Healthwatch's Sam Baker has more here.
A few nuggets in the details: the budget cuts Medicaid by $810 billion over 10 years, far less than the $1.8 trillion in savings achieved under similar "block-granting" legislation introduced this month by the conservative Republican Study Committee. Healthwatch has that story here.
And the Medicare subsidy — or "premium support" — would grow more slowly than under last year's Ryan-Wyden proposal. Healthwatch has the story about Wyden's reaction here.
The Budget Committee will mark up the budget starting at 10:30 a.m.
Replacement plan: Republican governors on Wednesday will roll out seven principles for replacing Obama’s healthcare law. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert will present the principles at an event sponsored by the American Action Forum. Congressional Republicans have said they’ll have a replacement plan ready once the Supreme Court rules on healthcare, after struggling for the past year with the "replace" part of their "repeal and replace" agenda.
Happy Birthday, take two: The Obama administration and its allies continued to celebrate the second anniversary of the healthcare reform with a focus on women.
Today's data point: More than 45 million women — including 20.4 million women with private health insurance and 24.7 million women with Medicare — are eligible for recommended preventive services with no cost-sharing thanks to the law. And more than one million young-adult women have already gained health insurance coverage, while 13 million more women will gain coverage by 2016. Read the report here.
SCOTUS rules: The Supreme Court added to everyone's busy day with a ruling invalidating patents on diagnostic tests that measure the body's natural reactions in order to evaluate the potential toxicity and effectiveness of medicines.
"Medical innovations that provide insight into natural human biology must remain freely accessible and widely disseminated," the American Medical Association said in a statement. "Blocking this information from physicians and researchers inhibits future discoveries."
The Biotechnology Industry Organization declared itself "surprised and disappointed" by the ruling.
"BIO will work with the Administration and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to ensure that the future application of this opinion does not irrationally restrict the ability of innovators to protect inventions that lead to cures, medical breakthroughs, and other technologies that make our lives and our environment cleaner, safer and healthier," the group said in a statement.
No candles, but plenty of sparks will fly when the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hosts its own healthcare reform birthday bash with a face-off between Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.). Steve Larsen, the director of the Health and Human Services office tasked with putting in place the law’s insurance reforms, will also testify. Here's the agenda.
In the afternoon, the House Judiciary subcommittee on Courts, Commercial and Administrative Law will hold a hearing on Obama regulations. Cass Sunstein, the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, will testify. Here's the agenda.
And Medicare's acting administrator, Marilyn Tavenner, teams up with Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Administrator Mary Wakefield for a healthcare reform announcement.
Your SCOTUS briefing fix: The conservative American Action Forum hosts a briefing with Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, Executive Director of the NFIB Small Business Legal Center Karen Harned and former Supreme Court clerks Steven Engel and John Bash.
And the Pacific Legal Foundation hosts a conference call on the SCOTUS arguments in the afternoon.
State by state
Connecticut could move forward with a health exchange even if the healthcare law is struck down.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie thinks the birth-control debate is "silly."
New Jersey hospitals lag the national average in heart-attack treatment times.
All told, lawyers have made as much as $7.8 million writing amicus briefs in the healthcare case, Reuters reports.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure is still struggling to regain donors after its brief attempt to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood, The Huffington Post reports.
The website factcheck.org says Republicans distorted CBO's most recent cost estimates for the healthcare law.
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