OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Obama talks entitlements

The Hill has more.

Goodwill tour: Obama wasn't the only one making the rounds on Capitol Hill today. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sat down with members of the Senate Finance Committee for a closed-door update on Affordable Care Act implementation. Several senators who attended the meeting didn't want to talk specifics, but there were clearly some frustrations vented during Thursday's session and a series of one-on-one meetings the day before.

"I've got real issues with some of the things they're doing over there, on rules and regulations and timing," Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) told Healthwatch.

We have more details here.

Another win for Planned Parenthood: A federal judge in Tennessee ruled Thursday that the state could not exclude Planned Parenthood from programs designed to prevent the spread of syphilis and HIV. The state attempted in 2011 to terminate a contract with Planned Parenthood for syphilis and HIV testing, after awarding its funds through a competitive bidding program and despite years of involvement from Planned Parenthood.

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“This court ruling means politicians will not be allowed to interfere with people’s access to the critical preventive care that Planned Parenthood health centers provide," Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards said in a statement.

Taxes, premiums: Ahead of tomorrow's Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on the healthcare law, Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) unveiled legislation that would require insurers to report their Affordable Care Act taxes to policyholders. Walden's bill would have each plan report the amount paid per tax on consumers' annual benefit summaries.

"If the federal government is going to play such a big role in our healthcare going forward, we have the right to know just how much it costs us," Walden said in a statement.

Republicans argue that health insurance premiums will spike as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Democrats say the law will slow premium growth and ensure more care for every dollar. Read more about the bill at Healthwatch. 

Managing meds: A new bill from Sens. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) would expand a Medicare program that helps chronically ill seniors manage their medications. The Medication Therapy Management (MTM) Empowerment Act would allow a Medicare patient with only one chronic condition access to additional help instead of just those with several chronic conditions. Under the bill, seniors struggling to keep their pills straight will be able to meet with a pharmacist to review a plan of action — a strategy the lawmakers said saves money.

"Expanding this already successful program is a commonsense, fiscally responsible way to improve seniors’ health and reduce preventable trips to the hospital," Hagan said in a statement. “MTM programs save lives and have already saved tens of millions of dollars in North Carolina alone."

Wednesday's agenda

America's Health Insurance Plans will continue its conference on exchanges.

The House Energy and Commerce Health subcommittee will hold a hearing on the healthcare law's impact on premiums.


State by state

Perry asks Texas delegation to fight for flexibility on Medicaid

Minn. exchange bill advances without abortion restrictions

Federal officials intrigued with Florida's alternative Medicaid plan

Iowa Democrats continue Medicaid expansion push


Reading list

Democrats slow to back Obama on Medicare cuts

Crack down on cannabis, world body tells US

Medicare revises readmissions penalties — again


What you might have missed on Healthwatch

Republicans grapple over how to deal with healthcare reform

Dan Elling to join Alston & Bird lobby shop

Senate rejects amendments to freeze hiring, add Health and Education appropriations

House bill would create 15K new residency positions

Speaker Boehner: 'So far, so good' on Senate's continuing resolution bill

Slaughter bill seeks to fight 'superbug' threat


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

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

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