OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Medicare Advantage lobbying heats up

The arguments begin around 11 a.m. Healthwatch previewed the case over the weekend.

Arkansas Medicaid update: Arkansas's novel approach to the healthcare law's Medicaid expansion would cost the federal government more than traditional Medicaid, according to a new estimate from the state's health department. Arkansas has raised eyebrows through the health policy world with its plan to cover low-income residents through private plans in the state's insurance exchange, rather than by accepting the law's Medicaid expansion. Because the federal government will subsidize most exchange plans, the approach would cost the feds 13 to 14 percent more than simply expanding Medicaid in the state. The Arkansas Times has a copy of the full analysis.

Bloomberg's latest: First big sodas, now tobacco products. A new plan from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) would ban retailers from displaying tobacco products — an attempt to reduce smoking among young people. Cigarettes, chewing tobacco and other products would have to be out of sight except in stores explicitly devoted to tobacco. The proposal is already coming under fire from industry and some NYC residents who say Bloomberg is taking it too far.

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"It's like New York has become a mini-Russia, a dictatorship," one local woman, a smoker, told The Associated Press.

Antibiotic measure riles advocates: A version of the Senate's Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA) released Monday doesn't include reporting requirements on antibiotics used in livestock, disappointing advocates who pushed for that provision. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has "neglected its mission" to protect public health, said Laura Rogers, with the Pew Charitable Trusts. "Antibiotic overuse in meat and poultry production is breeding superbugs that threaten human health, but we have no information that reveals in which animals and for which purposes these drugs are administered so widely," she said.

In February, a vast coalition of consumer, agricultural and health groups urged the committee to require detailed data collection on drugs used in farm animals. Read more about that campaign here.

More on the doc shortage: Lawmakers from both chambers and both sides of the aisle have reintroduced a bill to expand the number of medical residencies supported by Medicare. The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act would bring the total number of slots available to 102,000 over five years — an increase of 15,000. It echoes a similar measure introduced last week by Reps. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) and Aaron Schock (R-Ill.).

"Nevada faces a shortage of physicians which undermines our healthcare system and leaves patients without access to quality care," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who sponsored the Senate bill. "I am pleased to join my colleagues to ensure the next generation of physicians has the best training possible."

Tuesday's agenda

The House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology subcommittee will look at wireless innovations as they relate to healthcare.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on retirement savings.


State by state

Compounding pharmacies feel more heat

Measure would expand abortion clinic protest 'bubble' in San Francisco

Is Florida really No. 2 in uninsured?

Miss. Democrats say rejection of Medicaid expansion could affect state finances

Health reform pre-empts Mo. law on contraception coverage


Lobbying registrations

Tiber Creek Health Strategies / Peck Madigan Jones

Peck Madigan Jones / AbbVie

McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies / The Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Downey McGrath Group / Federation of State Medical Boards

American Association of Nurse Practitioners / self-registration

Wheat Government Relations / Hospital Hill Economic Development Corporation

Deborah Senn Expert Services / Integrative Health Policy Consortium

Constantinople & Vallone Consulting / QSAC

International Hearing Society / self-registration

Emmer Consulting / self-registration


Reading list

'Organized chaos' in building DC's exchange

Obesity drug results underwhelm investors

External review an example of a nuanced regulatory approach


What you might have missed on Healthwatch

Week ahead: Budget bills head to House and Senate floors

Insurers: Hospital prices rising steeply

Planned Parenthood slams GOP self-critique

HHS touts Obama health law's free preventive care

Agency: IRS failed to tally paperwork burden from healthcare mandate

New regulations limit waiting periods for employer health plans

Anti-abortion-rights group criticizes RNC reboot



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

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

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