OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Poll finds bipartisan support for exchanges

A strong majority — 55 percent — said creating an exchange should be the top healthcare priority for their governors and state legislatures in 2013. Another 31 percent said it's important, if not a top priority. A meager 5 percent said it should not be done — a stark contrast to the Republican governors who are almost unanimously opposed to building exchanges.

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Creating exchanges — which the Obama administration now refers to as "marketplaces" — won a majority of support among both Democrats and Republicans, according to the Kaiser survey.

Support for participating in the healthcare law's Medicaid expansion was slightly weaker — 52 percent said the program should be expanded, compared with 42 percent who said it should be kept as is. But the issue fell much more strongly along partisan lines.

The full results are here.

CPI unchained: Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus made clear Thursday they won't accept any entitlement cuts — including "chained CPI" for Social Security — as part of a deficit-reduction deal. Some Democratic leaders had opened the door to chained CPI in earlier negotiations, and to raising the eligibility age for Medicare in the round before that. But progressives said Thursday that any entitlement cuts are a deal-breaker.

“The Congressional Progressive Caucus remains strongly opposed to any cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Using the chained CPI to reduce Social Security cost of living adjustments is a cut that middle class families cannot afford.

“The CPC and I will do everything in our power to oppose these cuts," Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said in a statement. "The American people have been clear — they want us to defend and strengthen Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. We pledge to stand by the American people and to always protect the interests of middle class families.”

Hatch's way: Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said Thursday that a package of five changes to Medicare and Medicaid should be able to gain bipartisan support in Congress, casting the proposals as a way to reform entitlements without the dramatic changes Republicans have also supported.

The five ideas:

1. Raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67
2. A Medicaid per-capita cap
3. Limits on Medigap plans
4. A new cost-sharing structure for Medicare
5. More competitive bidding in Medicare

Healthwatch has the details.


Thursday's agenda

The annual "March for Life" will take place on the National Mall.

Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee will lobby staff on the Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act.


State by state

Arizona could make the Medicaid expansion an immigration fight

GOP legislation would bar Tennessee from expanding Medicaid

Virginia may have to return Medicaid overpayment

Lobbying registrations

The Michael Lewan Company / Medtronic

The Satcher Group / self-registration


Reading list

Senators introduce mental health first aid bill

US researchers tracking flu through Twitter

Americans want federal deficit trimmed without Medicare cuts

Reports question $125 million in Medicare payments for inmates, illegal aliens [free reg. req'd]

Penalty could keep smokers out of health overhaul

We don't know if half our medical treatments work


What you might have missed on Healthwatch

Amgen pushes back on charges of special deal in 'fiscal cliff' bill

Hospitals tout economic contribution

US mental health chief says treatment cuts the risk of violence

Energy-drink makers bolt to K Street




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