OVERNIGHT HEALTH: More retiring Dems pile on Obama for healthcare focus

Miller voted for the healthcare bill — as did Frank and Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), who reopened the inter-party dispute earlier this week.

Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.) also criticized his party’s handling of the issue, saying the bill should have been done “in digestible pieces that the American public could understand and that we could implement.”

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Bishops back in the spotlight: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and the White House finally found something they can agree on — the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops doesn’t speak for the entire Catholic Church.

During the debate over the Obama administration’s contraception mandate, the White House tried to downplay the USCCB’s criticism by peeling off other Catholic organizations, while Republicans kept the focus squarely on the USCCB. But Ryan found himself sounding the same notes as the White House on Thursday, in response to the USCCB’s criticism of his budget proposal.

“These are not all the Catholic bishops, and we just respectfully disagree,” Ryan told Fox News.

The USCCB has criticized Ryan’s budget for its cuts to programs that serve children and low-income families, including food stamps and nutrition programs. The Hill has more on Ryan’s pushback.

Budget bickering continues: Republicans hammered away Thursday at Senate Democrats’ decision to forgo a budget resolution until after the November elections. Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) announced Wednesday that his committee wouldn’t mark up a budget before November. The panel’s top Republican, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) criticized the move on the Senate floor Thursday, saying Democrats are unwilling to tackle tough questions about the country’s fiscal future.

"You can spin it any way you want to, but the Democratic majority in the Senate is incapable of uniting behind a plan that the American people would see as credible," Sessions said.

The Hill has the story.

OSHA overload: Unions, public health scholars and Washington watchdogs pushed Thursday for a simpler and more transparent regulatory process for creating workplace health and safety rules. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is bogged down under more procedural requirements and higher evidence standards than other agencies, witnesses argued at a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing. Healthwatch has more.

Mind the gap: About 25 percent of U.S. adults have experienced a gap in their insurance coverage as they lost or changed jobs — and the healthcare law will help close those gaps, the Commonwealth Fund said in a report Thursday. The study says people who temporarily lose coverage are less likely to keep up with preventive treatments, and often can’t afford to buy a stop-gap policy even when they try. Read the Healthwatch post.


State by state

Three regional Planned Parenthood branches in Texas merged to form the eighth largest affiliate in the country.

The Kentucky House passed legislation allowing police to easily identify and charge doctors who overprescribe painkillers and anti-anxiety drugs.

The Albany region is among seven sites chosen by the federal government to test a payment model that rewards doctors for keeping patients healthy and out of hospitals.


Bill tracker

Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation "to provide coverage and payment for complex rehabilitation technology items under the Medicare program." (H.R. 4378)

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced legislation to "permit manufacturers of generic drugs to provide additional warnings with respect to such drugs in the same manner that the Food and Drug Administration allows brand names to do so." (H.R. 4384 / S. 2295)

The legislation, championed by the trial lawyers' lobby, would amend FDA regulations so manufacturers of generic drugs could initiate labeling updates to reflect current health and safety information under the same circumstances that apply to manufacturers of branded drugs.

Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) introduced a bill "to establish new procedures and requirements for the registration of cosmetic product manufacturing establishments, the submission of cosmetic product and ingredient statements, and the reporting of serious and unexpected cosmetic product adverse events, and for other purposes." (H.R. 4395)

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) has legislation to amend the tax code "to allow a deduction for expenses paid for household and dependent care services necessary for gainful employment and to increase, and make refundable, the credit for such expenses." (H.R. 4397)

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has a bill to amend the Controlled Substances Act to make any substance containing hydrocodone a schedule II drug. (S. 2297)


Lobbying registrations

Tauzin Consultants / Committee to Save Independent HME Suppliers

National Group / Chinese hospital

Drinker Biddle & Reath / March of Dimes Foundation

Arnold & Porter / Wockhardt USA

Winning Strategies Washington / Volunteers of America – Greater New York

Arnold & Porter / International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists


Reading list

Businesses and employees are increasingly turning to “account-based” healthcare policies, Reuters reports.

Kaiser Health News has an update on the debate over the White House’s contraception mandate.

The Veterans Administration is beefing up mental health services for veterans, The New York Times reports.


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

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

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