OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Sequester closes in

Healthwatch has more.

CBO boosts Amgen: Senate Republicans are defending a piece of last year's "fiscal cliff" deal that benefited Amgen. Armed with new figures from the Congressional Budget Office, they're making the case that the provision has the potential for long-term savings, contrary to a New York Times report that said it would cost Medicare about $500 million.

The fiscal-cliff deal delayed Medicare price controls for certain dialysis drugs. Although the provision applied to a whole class of drugs, Amgen was the biggest winner, and the Times framed the provision as a major lobbying coup for the drug maker at taxpayers' expense.

But CBO estimates released by Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchRead Senate GOP's tax bill Senate panel to start tax bill markup on Monday Senate set for clash with House on tax bill MORE's (R-Utah) office show that extending the delay would save Medicare money. CBO didn't re-score the fiscal-cliff provision, but looked at options for extending the delay in price controls. Another two years would save Medicare roughly $1.3 billion, Hatch's office said, and permanently avoiding the price controls would save as much as $4 billion.

“This was always good policy, but this good policy for taxpayers and for Medicare patients was overlooked by sensationalistic reporting,” Hatch said in a statement.

In a publication near you: A coalition of more than 40 specialty groups and other advocates is launching advertisements in Beltway publications urging Congress not to allow sequester cuts for graduate medical education. The ad features a female patient sitting on an exam table with the headline, "If there's no doctor, what will you do?" According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, automatic federal spending cuts set to hit Friday will jeopardize important medical education programs as the U.S. healthcare sector rests on the edge of a doctor shortage.

Tuesday's agenda

The House Ways and Means Health subcommittee will hold a hearing on Medicare's benefit structure.

The Global Health Technologies Coalition will unveil a report on U.S. investments in global health research at a Capitol Hill briefing.

The Advanced Medical Technology Association will hold a press briefing on issues facing the industry this year.

National Journal and the Partnership for the Future of Medicare are sponsoring an event on Medicare costs and delivery-system reform. Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) will speak, along with Mark McClellan, the former Medicare chief.

State by state

Could ObamaCare make Medicaid more Republican?

Fla. economists discuss cost of Medicaid expansion

Calif. county call center faces changes under health reform

N.J. to freeze health insurance enrollment

Lobbying registrations

Ernst & Young / Employers for Flexibility in Health Care Coalition

National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans / self-registration

Pitcock Consulting / State of Indiana

Arent Fox / Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

Amedisys / self-registration

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta / self-registration

Drinker Biddle & Reath / American Foundation for the Blind

Nathanson+Hauck / Freelancers Insurance Company

Nathanson+Hauck / Independent Workers Services

Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough / Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina

Thorn Run Partners / Abbot Laboratories

Thorn Run Partners / AbbVie

Thorn Run Partners / Affymax

Thorn Run Partners /  Childrens Hospital Colorado

Thorn Run Partners / Pacific Pulmonary Services

Twenty-First Century Group / LeadingAge

Reading list

Congress targets Medicare before sequestration deadline

Cancer drugs proving worth earlier in testing

Despite growth, EHR adoption seen as uneven [free reg. req'd]

What you might have missed on Healthwatch

Lew: White House opposes higher Medicare age, Medicaid cuts

Anti-abortion-rights groups demand protections in CR bill

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

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

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