OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Obama's not very good day at the Supreme Court

One of the key stumbling blocks for the administration, Baker writes: the law's so-called essential benefits provision, which requires everyone to have high-quality health plans that cover a wide array of services many people know they'll never need.

GOP rejoices: Republican lawmakers who attended Tuesday's arguments were generally upbeat on their way out.

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"I would say today the government had a tough day," said Sen. Mike JohannsMike JohannsTo buy a Swiss company, ChemChina must pass through Washington Republican senator vows to block nominees over ObamaCare co-ops Revisiting insurance regulatory reform in a post-crisis world MORE (R-Neb.).

"It was almost as if [Elena] Kagan, [Stephen] Breyer and [Sonia] Sotomayor were bailing out the solicitor general," offered Rep. Bill Cassidy (D-La.). "And, frankly, it seemed like the only argument they could offer is one of expediency."

"I'm happier coming out than I was going in," added Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who filed his own lawsuit against the reform law on the day it was passed two years ago. 

Healthwatch's Julian Pecquet has that story here.

Not so fast: Senate Majority Harry ReidHarry ReidBlack Caucus demands Flint funding from GOP Report: Intelligence officials probing Trump adviser's ties to Russia White House preps agencies for possible shutdown MORE (D-Nev.) ripped into legal affairs pundit Jeffrey Toobin and others who predicted the law was in "grave, grave trouble" after Tuesday's arguments. 

"I've been in court a lot more than Jeffrey Toobin and I had arguments, federal, circuit, Supreme Court and hundreds of times before trial courts," Reid said. "And the questions you get from the judges doesn’t mean that’s what’s going to wind up with the opinion."

Healthwatch has the story.

Next up: The Supreme Court on Wednesday takes up the issue of whether the law can still stand if the mandate is struck down. Insurers and the law's opponents say prices would spiral out of control if healthy people can wait until they're sick to buy coverage; the law's defenders argue that some key consumer protections — including the requirement to cover people with pre-existing conditions — would have to go, but that most of the law can stand.

In the afternoon, the law's Medicaid expansion to some 17 million more people comes under scrutiny. That provision is widely expected to pass constitutional muster, because states can opt out of Medicaid if they so choose.

Budget fight: House centrists will offer a budget plan Thursday based on the recommendations of President Obama's fiscal commission, including urging bipartisan cooperation to limit growth of Medicare and other health entitlements like Medicaid to gross domestic product growth plus 1 percentage point. Read The Hill's story.

Interstate abortions: The House Judiciary Committee passed legislation that would make it a federal crime to transport a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion without parental consent. Healthwatch has more.

Regulate this: The cosmetics industry testified at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee in favor of federal regulation. The rationale? It's better than 50 different state standards. The LegalTimes has the story.


Wednesday's agenda

The Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies holds a 10 a.m. hearing on the National Institutes of Health's $30.7 billion budget request for FY 2013. NIH Director Francis Collins is scheduled to testify.

At the same time, the subcommittee on Defense is also slated to hold a hearing on the healthcare budget for the Department of Defense.

Sens. Ron WydenRon WydenOvernight Finance: McConnell offers 'clean' funding bill | Dems pan proposal | Flint aid, internet measure not included | More heat for Wells Fargo | New concerns on investor visas US wins aerospace subsidies trade case over the EU Wells CEO Stumpf resigns from Fed advisory panel MORE (D-Ore.) and Ron Portman (R-Ohio) pair up to lead an expert panel on "Can Medicare Save Money by Keeping Seniors Healthy?" Here's the press release.


State by state

Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna, a centrist Republican and a party to the healthcare reform law challenge, is hoping the Supreme Court doesn't end up striking down the entire law.

Supreme Court arguments over the federal health law are largely irrelevant in Massachusetts.

Alabama's Medicaid commissioner has resigned over budget controversies.


Bill tracker

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) introduced legislation requiring that any facility engaged in manufacturing, packing, or holding a cosmetic product or a cosmetic formulation be registered annually with the Department of Health and Human Services (H.R. 4262).

Sen. Michael BennetMichael BennetSenate rivals gear up for debates Grassley pulling away from Dem challenger The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Colo.) introduced his bill to expedite the development and evaluation of drugs designated as breakthrough drugs (S. 2236).


Lobbying registrations

Amelia Consulting Group / The Pew Charitable Trusts (Health risks in food, medical and consumer products / overuse of antibiotics)

FORGE Federal Affairs / Lilly USA (prescription drug user fees)


What you might have missed on Healthwatch

Bachmann vows continued fight against 'socialized medicine' at rally

GOP doctors decry health law's 'very bad medicine'


Comments / complaints / suggestions? Please let us know:

Julian Pecquet: jpecquet@thehill.com / 202-628-8527

Sam Baker: sbaker@thehill.com / 202-628-8351

Follow us on Twitter @hillhealthwatch