OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Short history of a cancer bill

Hospitals say no cuts: U.S. hospitals are the latest healthcare interest to weigh in against potential year-end cuts. The American Hospital Association (AHA) released a new poll finding that 69 percent of voters reject the idea of cutting hospital reimbursements for Medicare and Medicaid patients. The opposition cut across party affiliation, gender, race, age and region, according to AHA. The poll found that a slight majority (51 percent) supported keeping the payment system the way it is after hearing the view opposite view — that cuts would update an "outdated bureaucratic rule" and save money. Read more about the poll here.

Medicaid warnings: Twenty national groups sent a letter to President Obama and congressional leaders warning that Medicaid provider cuts would devastate the program. Authors of the memo included AARP and the American Health Care Association (AHCA), which advocates for nursing homes.

"Cutting or eliminating provider assessments while the economy continues to struggle threatens the still fragile state recoveries and the Medicaid safety net program," the groups wrote. "We agree that we must find ways to make Medicaid more sustainable ... [but] arbitrary cuts to provider assessments do nothing to achieve programmatic efficiencies or improve quality of care." Read the letter here and Healthwatch's story on an AHCA poll on cuts here.

Praise for MLR: A new report from the Commonwealth Fund says the healthcare law's medical loss ratio (MLR) provision, which requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of their premiums on medical costs, is working. Insurers in the large-group market cut their administrative costs by more than $785 million last year because of the MLR, Commonwealth said, while individual and small-group plans cut their overhead by $200 million. The report is here.

More fees: The IRS finalized regulations Wednesday that implement a new fee in the healthcare law to fund the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), a new organization that will compare medical treatments to see which is most effective. PCORI will be funded by a $2 fee tacked on to insurance policies each year. The IRS regulations implementing that fee are available here.

And rate hikes: A tax on coverage in the healthcare law will raise families' insurance costs by as much as $7,000 over a decade, according to a study conducted by the firm Oliver Wyman on behalf of America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the insurance industry's leading trade group. Premium increases will vary from state to state, Oliver Wyman said. But on average, the cost of a family plan sold through a large employer could cost about $7,200 more over 10 years — about $720 per year. Read more at Healthwatch. 

Thursday's agenda

The American Enterprise Institute will host an event on conservatism in the 113th Congress that will likely turn to the Affordable Care Act. The panel discussion will feature the current and future chairmen of the Republican Study Committee, Reps. Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Steve Scalise (La.).

State by state

S.D. governor rejects health law's Medicaid expansion

Changes to California children's healthcare won't be delayed, official says

Medicare-Medicaid experiment aims to save on care

Maryland state legislators to look at problem of drug shortages

Reading list

Medicare changes loom as 'fiscal cliff' negotiations pick up

Industry rips device tax as regs arrive [reg. req'd]

Inside Planned Parenthood’s campaign strategy

What you might have missed on Healthwatch

Whitehouse to Obama: Find savings in healthcare delivery

House votes to strike 'lunatic' from US law

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

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

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