OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Medicare on the table

The Hill's story on Obama's comments is here, and we have more from McConnell here.

Meanwhile, on Medicaid: Safety-net hospitals launched a campaign to protect the program's funding from further cuts under a deficit-reduction deal. The National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems argued that the low-income health insurance program is essential for a growing economy.

"[Deficit-reduction] proposals vary, but all would strip away billions of dollars from a program that already faces severe funding shortfalls," the NAPH said in a memo to the press. The group added that safety-net hospitals were left the in lurch by the Supreme Court decision on healthcare reform, which made the law's Medicaid expansion optional. Read more at Healthwatch.

Backlash: Could restaurant owners pay a price for their criticism of the Affordable Care Act? One major company seems to think so. Darden Restaurants, which owns Olive Garden and Red Lobster, downgraded its earnings expectations Tuesday, in part because it's afraid of negative publicity surrounding its response to the healthcare law. Darden had previously said it would cut workers' hours to avoid the requirement to provide insurance. Bad publicity from that move might drive down sales in 2013, the company said Tuesday. Healthwatch has more.

Wednesday's agenda

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusAligning clinical and community resources improves health Sebelius on GOP healthcare plan: 'I'm not sure what the goal is here' Obama's health secretary to be first female president of American University MORE will speak at the White House Tribal Nations Conference.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenSenate panel passes 0B defense policy bill Dems push for more action on power grid cybersecurity Senate overwhelmingly passes Russia sanctions deal MORE (D-N.H.) will hold a press conference to discuss a provision in the defense authorization bill that would cover abortions for women in uniform who are victims of rape or incest.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersNew Alexandra Pelosi documentary brings together GOP, Dem members Sanders: FBI inquiry of wife is 'pathetic' attack Why UK millennials voting for socialism could happen here, too MORE (I-Vt.) will speak at the National Press Club on the need to shield Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from cuts in a fiscal cliff deal.

State by state

Florida Senate committee takes first look at implementing health care law

Landrieu tells Jindal that doing nothing on health care isn't leadership

S.C. Supreme Court temporarily stops state employee health insurance hike

Lobbying registrations

Alan Reuther / United Steelworkers

Alan Reuther / Retirees of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company

Kountoupes Consulting / Advanced Particle Therapy

Reading list

Some health exchange plans to mirror FEHBP

Fewer poor cancer patients referred for drug trials

Safety initiative seen curbing birth injuries [reg. req'd]

What you might have missed on Healthwatch

Baucus: Don't shift health costs to seniors in 'fiscal cliff' deal

Analysis finds big state-by-state swings in prescription coverage

Study: Synthetic marijuana puts thousands in the ER

Comments / complaints / suggestions?

Please let us know:

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

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

Follow us on Twitter @hillhealthwatch