OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Medicare and Romney's 47 percent

Healthwatch has a big write-up of the Toobin book.

'Majority-obese': A dramatic increase in the number of obese U.S. adults will soon trigger a massive and costly public health crisis, according to a new study from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America's Health. The report projected that 39 states will have majority-obese populations by 2030, and that billions of dollars in related healthcare costs will weigh heavily on state budgets.

Cases of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and other weight-related conditions will spike, authors wrote, unless the federal government takes steps to curb the trend. The report suggested further federal intervention to improve school lunches, encourage physical activity among children and promote preventive healthcare. "Policy changes can help make healthier choices easier for Americans in their daily lives," said Jeff Levi, executive director with Trust for America's Health, in a statement. "Small changes can add up to a big difference." Healthwatch has more.

MLR markup: The Energy and Commerce Committee is set to vote Thursday on a bill to carve out insurance agents' commissions from the healthcare law's medical loss ratio (MLR). The MLR caps insurers' profits and administrative costs at 15 or 20 percent of the premiums they collect, and the House bill would exclude agents' commissions from that calculation.

Read our post on the markup.

Disability disarray: Lax oversight is leading the government to approve disability benefits for people who can't prove that they're disabled, according to a report released Tuesday by a Senate subcommittee. The report, spearheaded by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), says more than a quarter of disability claims are approved despite inadequate or conflicting information. Healthwatch has the story.

Food stamps and soda: Federal food stamps are buying between $1.7 and 2.1 billion worth of sugary drinks every year, according to new calculations by researchers at Yale University. Authors of the study said the trend contradicts federal recommendations against unhealthy eating and recommended that Congress revise the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to encourage better habits. (One commentator whose notes accompanied the study disagreed, saying SNAP recipients might just replace high-calorie beverages with similarly unhealthy foods.)

Overall, the study found that 58 percent of the "refreshment beverages" purchased by households in SNAP were sugary drinks mostly paid for by the program. Authors also warned the figure might be low, as the extrapolations came from data collected in New England, which consumes less soda as a whole than other regions during cooler months of the years. The Los Angeles Times has the story. 

Wednesday's agenda

The House will vote on several health-related suspension bills: the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act (H.R. 733), the Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act (H.R. 4124), the National Pediatric Research Network Act (H.R. 6163) and the Taking Essential Steps for Testing Act (H.R. 6118).

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will mark up bills to reduce pre-term births, promote research on deadly cancers, adjust rules for laboratory certification and confirm nominations in the Public Health Service.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will present opening statements ahead of a markup of the Access to Independent Health Insurance Advisors Act and the Strengthening Medicare and Repaying Taxpayers Act on Thursday.

The Senate Aging Committee will hold a hearing on eliminating waste and fraud in Medicare with regard to power mobility devices.

The Heritage Foundation will host Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) at an event to "check the facts" on the Obama administration's controversial welfare policy.

More than 150 research scientists and more than 50 farmers and ranchers will release public statements that call for action against overuse of antibiotics in agriculture in coordination with Keep Antibiotics Working.

State by state

Republicans: Gov. Quinn is too slow booting Medicaid cheats in Illinois

Missouri college sues over contraception mandate

Kentucky voters favor some provisions of healthcare law but oppose "individual mandate"

Lobbying registrations

Venable / Bloom Health Corporation

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney / University of the Sciences in Philadelphia

Reading list

States seek a middle ground on Medicaid.

How paying no federal income taxes helps the poor get off welfare and into work

FDA-approved diet drug Qsymia is now available with prescription

Study suggests tie between BPA and child obesity

Stealth lobbying used to tout sugar over rival corn syrup

Health benefits of gastric bypass persist for years

What you might have missed on Healthwatch

House panel readies bill to alter health law's medical loss ratio

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

Elise Viebeck: eviebeck@thehill.com / 202-628-8523

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