OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Both parties gird for fight over Ryan budget

The Hill has full coverage of Democrats' plans to make the Ryan budget a centerpiece of the 2014 Senate races. And in case you missed it, our story on Ryan's plan to once again assume the repeal of most of the ACA is here.

Mountain Don't: Chalk up another win for the beverage industry. A New York state judge on Monday blocked New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan to ban sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces. Judge Milton Tingling said the ban was "fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences" and would turn into "an administrative Leviathan." Bloomberg's office says it will appeal the ruling, which came less than 24 hours before the ban was set to take effect.

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Healthwatch has more on Monday's ruling.

New on the Twitters: @Sebelius

Pushing back: Local pharmacies are challenging calls for additional regulation in the wake of a fungal meningitis outbreak that has killed 50 people around the country. The outbreak was covered in a recent episode of "60 Minutes," where experts said additional federal oversight is needed to ensure compounding pharmacies — the source of a tainted steroid infection that sickened more than 700 — operate safely. The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) demurred Monday, calling the Massachusetts compounding pharmacy in question a "rogue entity" separate from mainstream compounders.

"The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy had adequate authority to take action against [the New England Compounding Center]," said NCPA Chief Executive B. Douglas Hoey. "Sadly, they did not."

Read more from the NCPA's response at RegWatch.

'Deadly consequences': State attorneys general are pushing the Food and Drug Administration to ensure that generic opioids are reformulated to be tamper- and abuse-resistant just like their brand-name counterparts. Forty-eight AGs wrote to federal regulators Monday cautioning that "deadly consequences" could arise if addicts can still find relief from generic prescription painkillers. The FDA issued draft guidance in January to assist drugmakers in developing abuse-resistant medications. Read more from the AGs' letter at Healthwatch.

Pre-conclave shot:
The archbishop of Boston, a possible papal contender, is pressing lawmakers to support a bill weakening the Obama administration's birth-control coverage mandate. Cardinal Sean O'Malley appeared to have fired off a letter to Congress shortly before departing this weekend for Rome, where he will participate in the papal election starting tomorrow. O'Malley told members that a new measure from Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) would preserve the "vitally important traditions of religious freedom and the right of conscience" by establishing a wide exemption to the birth-control policy for any employer with religious objections.

"Providers of healthcare, as well as those who offer or purchase insurance, should not face an unacceptable choice between preserving their religious and moral integrity and participating in our healthcare system," O'Malley wrote.

Read more from the letter here.

Wednesday's agenda

America's Health Insurance Plans will launch its summit on dual eligibles.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network will hold a forum on the future of U.S. healthcare featuring Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas).

The Center for American Progress will hold an event on improving the healthcare system through greater transparency.


State by state

John Kasich faces Tea Party protest over Medicaid decision

Florida Medicaid expansion rejected by key committee

Missouri bill would give health workers broad conscience exemptions


Lobbying registrations

Barbour Griffith & Rogers / Zogenix

Tauzin Consultants / VGM Group

Strategic Health Care / Western Health Advantage

Strategic Health Care / Physicians Plus Insurance Corporation

Strategic Health Care / Health New England

Strategic Health Care / Health First Health PLans

Strategic Health Care / Health Alliance Medical Plans

Strategic Health Care / FirstCarolina Care Insurance Company

Strategic Health Care / Community Care of Oklahoma

Strategic Health Care / Chinese Community Health Plan

Strategic Health Care / Advantage Health Solutions

Strategic Health Care / Federal Wildland Fire Service Association


Reading list

Essential benefit rules raise concerns about disability discrimination

Health law impacting healthcare real estate

Cuts in the sequester hit vaccinations, research

Colonoscopy may be overused in older adults, study finds


What you might have missed on Healthwatch

Week ahead: Ryan readies new Medicare plan

Report: Conn. stops implementing new healthcare regulations

Heritage: Poor workers will pass up better jobs to keep 'ObamaCare' benefits

US investigating blood thinner Plavix

McConnell says rising healthcare costs show GOP was right about 'Obamacare'


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