By Sam Baker and Elise Viebeck - 09/20/12 10:31 PM EDT
Read more about Thursday's vote at Healthwatch.
Census data boosts ACA: The Census Bureau released new data on the number of uninsured Americans, following up on last week's figures that showed a drop in the overall number of uninsured. The new figures help make the case that the Affordable Care Act is helping to drive that trend: while the number of uninsured people ages 16 to 29 continued to rise, the rate for people younger than 26 fell significantly now that children can stay on their parents' plans through age 26.
Mandate messaging: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal opened up another attack on President Obama's healthcare law Thursday, citing new estimates saying 6 million people will have to pay a tax penalty for being uninsured. On a conference call organized by the Romney campaign, Jindal said the revised estimate is "yet another example of a broken promise" from Obama, describing the coverage mandate as a tax increase on low-income families. Healthwatch has the story.
AARP attack: House Republicans requested more records from AARP Thursday about the organization's role in healthcare negotiations. The GOP has been angry with AARP for years over its help pushing healthcare over the finish line, and the latest request was cast as another step in an investigation into the White House's often unsightly deal-making. The last round of inquiries from the Energy and Commerce Committee were focused on Democrats' agreement with the pharmaceutical industry. The release of internal emails helped generate new headlines, though not much new information. The letter to AARP is available here.
Broker bill takes another step: The Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday passed a long-debated bill to carve out insurance brokers' commissions from the healthcare law's medical loss ratio calculation. The bill passed 26-14; Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.) was the only member to break from either party line. The prospects for a floor vote are uncertain, given the major issues already on deck for the lame duck. The Healthwatch post is here.
The Ways and Means Committee holds a hearing on Medicare Advantage.
State by state
At the Health Affairs blog, Tim Jost asks how much Romney and a Republican Congress could actually do to weaken the ACA
The Huffington Post reports on new, more consumer-friendly health insurance paperwork
Choosing health benefits is the second most difficult choice consumers face
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