OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Debate fallout

Healthwatch has more on the IPAB back-and-forth.

Not so fast: AARP released a statement asking the presidential candidates not to cite it to score political points. The message was almost certainly aimed at Obama, who cited AARP in the debate during arguments against Romney's Medicare policies and for the Affordable Care Act. This is the second time in a period of months that AARP has hit Obama for leveraging the group's research to criticize Romney. 

"AARP has never consented to the use of its name by any candidate or political campaign," said AARP senior vice president John Hishta in a statement Thursday. "AARP is a nonpartisan organization, and we do not endorse political candidates nor coordinate with any candidate or political party." Read more about Hishta's statement at Healthwatch.

Exchange ads: Republicans are already unhappy about state exchanges using federal grant money for public-relations campaigns. So they probably won't be too happy about the federal government signing a $3.1 million contract to boost the federal fallback exchange in states that don't set up their own. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services signed PR firm Weber Shandwick to help with the "educational effort" around the federal exchange, a spokesman from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said. Healthwatch has the details.

Business gripes: Small businesses in Washington, D.C., are protesting the district's decision to move its entire small-group market into its exchange. The D.C exchange decided that all policies for businesses with fewer than 50 employees would have to be sold through the exchange, in order to attract enough customers to make the marketplace sustainable. But small businesses say that limits their choices and could raise their costs. The Washington Post has the story.

Big fraud bust: The Department of Health and Human Services was eager to tout a major Medicare fraud bust Thursday: HHS and the Justice Department said they filed charges against 91 people in seven cities alleging roughly $430 billion in Medicare fraud. Many of the defendants are accused of billing Medicare for services they never provided. The total includes $230 million in home health fraud, $100 million from community mental health facilities and $49 million in ambulance fraud, HHS said.

"In addition to the arrests made today, HHS used new authority from the health care law to stop future payments to many of the health care providers suspected of fraud, saving Medicare resources and taxpayer dollars from being lost to fraud in the first place," HHS Secretary Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusIRS Tax Day glitch exposes antiquated tech infrastructure Trump administration's reforms could make welfare work again Pro-dependency advocates miss the mark in attacking Kansas welfare reform MORE said in a statement.

About that free birth control: A new study conducted in St. Louis linked free birth control to dramatically lower rates of abortions and teen births. Dr. Jeffrey Peipert of Washington University found that expanding a program that provides a range of free birth control methods could prevent one abortion for every 79 to 137 women using the benefit. There were about six teen births per 1,000 women in the study, compared with a national rate of 34 births to 1,000 teens. And abortion rates were found to be lower too, with 4.4 and 7.5 abortions per 1,000 women in the St. Louis project compared with almost 20 abortions per 1,000 women nationally. The Associated Press has more on the study.

Friday's agenda

AHIP will continue its 2012 state issues conference

State by state

CalPERS weighs huge premium hike for long-term care

Maine braces for coming fight over Medicaid cuts

In outbreak, meningitis is reported in five states

Lobbying registrations

Tarplin Strategies / Alegeus Technologies

Michael Salgaller / Fabiani & Company, Aura BioSciences

Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough / Truven Health Analytics

Reading list

First presidential debate marked by disagreements over taxes, Medicare and health issues

FDA: Avoid drugs from company tied to meningitis

Teen smoking linked to earlier death

What you might have missed on Healthwatch

Liberal health groups try to mop up for Obama, challenge Romney debate points

HHS signs $3 million PR contract to promote federal exchange

DNC hits Romney on pre-existing conditions

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

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

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