By Sam Baker and Elise Viebeck - 02/14/13 11:39 PM EST
Friday is the deadline for states to decide whether they're interested in a partnership exchange between the state and the federal government. The Obama administration has pushed the partnership model aggressively, especially for states that weren't entirely opposed to a purely state-run exchange but simply didn't have the time to get one ready.
The partnership is an attractive model, at least on paper — it allows states to retain some control over their exchange, which will be the anchor for many states' individual and small-group markets. But it doesn't require Republican governors to fully buy into "ObamaCare," a law that remains deeply unpopular with their base.
Rough day: Gary Cohen, Health and Human Services's top implementation official, caught some friendly fire from Senate Democrats on Thursday. Cohen was grilled about several perceived holes in the implementation effort, and about the White House's bargaining position during recent debt talks. Rep. Bill NelsonBill NelsonTop Dem welcomes industry TV box plan Congress must resolve net neutrality once and for all Senators seek state revenue sharing for offshore drilling MORE (R-Fla.) was upset that the White House offered up health insurance co-ops as a source for cuts in the year-end tax deal. And Sen. Maria CantwellMaria CantwellOvernight Finance: Obama signs Puerto Rico bill | Trump steps up attacks on trade | Dodd-Frank backers cheer 'too big to fail' decision | New pressure to fill Ex-Im board Senate Dems urge Shelby to take up Ex-Im nomination Menendez rails against Puerto Rico bill for 4 hours on floor MORE (D-Wash.) took up states' frustration with the slow progress implementing the law's Basic Health Plan. Healthwatch has a full report from Cohen's rough day before the Senate Finance Committee.
Liberals lobby Obama on Social Security: Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said pressure from congressional Democrats caused the White House to drop its support for raising the Medicare eligibility age, and she's hoping to repeat that success with the "chained CPI" in Social Security. Obama is open to the Social Security cut, but Schakowsky said she's trying to make the case to White House officials that chained CPI will have a real impact on seniors — especially in tandem with Medicare cuts the administration also supports. Healthwatch has more.
Sequester and the flu: Democratic leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a "Dear Colleague" letter Thursday warning that budget sequestration would endanger vital public health work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the panel's ranking member, and subcommittee ranking members Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) highlighted federal work to track and inhibit the seasonal flu virus — the subject of a hearing this week. "Advances like these and other essential public health services will be threatened if we don’t act quickly to prevent sequestration," the lawmakers wrote.
Bill surge: Congress is flooded with new and returning health bills. Here are a few:
• From Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), a Medicare-for-all bill
• From Sens. Ben CardinBen CardinMcConnell tees up House Puerto Rico bill GOP senators: Brexit vote a wake-up call Dems take over floor to protest Senate inaction on gun control MORE (D-Md.) and Susan CollinsSusan CollinsThe Trail 2016: Meet and greet and grief Senators press Obama education chief on reforms GOP senator: Trump endorsement could depend on VP MORE (R-Maine), bills to permanently repeal caps on therapies from skilled nursing centers
• From Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioPoll: Rubio holds massive lead in primary Rubio: Turkey attack 'directed' by ISIS Trump: Rivals who don't back me shouldn't be allowed to run for office MORE (R-Fla.) and Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen (R-Fla.), bills to prohibit the transportation of minors across state lines to procure abortions
• From Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), a bill to provide grants for comprehensive sex education programs
• From Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Lautenberg, bills to fine pharmacists that refuse to fill prescriptions they disagree with
• From Sens. Patty MurrayPatty MurraySenate Dems: No August break without Zika deal Senators press Obama education chief on reforms Overnight Finance: Senate sends Puerto Rico bill to Obama | Treasury, lawmakers to meet on tax rules | Obama hits Trump on NAFTA | Fed approves most banks' capital plans MORE (D-Wash.) and Jon TesterJon TesterBernie Sanders’s awkward return to the Senate Senators roll out bipartisan gun proposal Congress should stop government hacking and protect the Fourth Amendment MORE (D-Mont.), bills to allow veterans' kids to stay on their parents' VA health insurance until they turn 26
• From Sen. Mike EnziMike EnziJudd Gregg: The silver lining Judd Gregg: A little change Lobbying World MORE (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.), resolutions designating March as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.) will hold a press conference on her Mental Health in Schools Act, joined by Los Angeles Laker Metta World Peace and other lawmakers.
State by state
Liberal groups push for lower Medicare drug prices
CDC finds rise in use of 'morning-after' pill
MedPAC chief warns of Medicare payment crisis
Insurance lobby huddles with White House on ‘reasonable rates’ requirement
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