OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Senate to join mental-health debate

It's worth remembering that the original charge of "death panels" in the Affordable Care Act stemmed from a proposal to simply reimburse doctors for consulting with patients about their wishes for end-of-life care, so Congress probably isn't going to wade back into that arena any time soon.

Orszag's full op-ed in the Financial Times is here.

Specialists defend imaging: The American Medical Group Association came to the defense Wednesday of medical imaging — a sector that could be targeted for Medicare cuts in upcoming budget talks. 

"We are concerned about actual and conceptual legislative proposals that are being discussed on Capitol Hill related to advanced diagnostic imaging services, once again," AMGA members wrote. "Many of these proposals are transparent attempts to channel resources to certain markets and will negatively impact some of the nation’s most well-respected health care institutions and the patients that they serve."

Medicaid support: Registered voters in seven states want their governors to participate in the Medicaid expansion under President Obama's healthcare law, according to polling released Wednesday by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). The survey found majority support for the Medicaid expansion in each of the seven states surveyed, some of which are on the fence about the expansion. Healthwatch has the details.

Time for an upgrade: Most states are in the process of modernizing their Medicaid eligibility and enrollment systems as required by the Affordable Care Act, the Kaiser Family Foundation said Wednesday. According to a 50-state survey, 42 states have undertaken technical changes to their systems, while 47 have received or applied for federal funding to begin their efforts. President Obama's healthcare law requires that all Medicaid programs move toward Web-based, paperless enrollment processes, whether states decide to pursue the law's Medicaid expansion or not. Forty-five states now interface electronically with the Social Security Administration to verify applicants' citizenship; 37 offer an online application for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program; and 28 allow beneficiaries to renew enrollment online, these survey said. Healthwatch has more.

Thursday's agenda

Americans United for Life will hold a legal conference on Roe v. Wade.

The Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health will hold a joint briefing on a new survey of American attitudes on health policy issues.

State by state

Missouri lawmakers hear the case for participating in the ACA's Medicaid expansion.

Arizona will tax hospitals to help cover the cost of its Medicaid program.

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger wants her state to work with the federal government on a partnership exchange.

Lobbying registrations

Mason Consulting / American Association of Nurse Practitioners

Quinn Gillespie & Associates / International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists

Reading list

Smoking takes about a decade off your life, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Oklahoma is a staunch "ObamaCare" opponent, but has used funding under the law to modernize its Medicaid system, The Washington Post reports.

The fight over New York City's ban on large sodas had its day in court, The New York Times reports.

What you might have missed on Healthwatch

Dem bill named for Gingrich targets Medicare tax loophole

Rep. Ruppersberger spotted in a wheelchair

Scientists to resume high-risk bird flu studies

Dem bill would undo big lobbying win for drug maker Amgen

Washington state moving on pot legalization after Holder meeting

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