OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Baucus fears ObamaCare 'train wreck'

Healthwatch has the story on Baucus's comments.

GOP boosts risk pools: The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted Wednesday to empty the healthcare law's prevention fund and use the money to beef up high-risk pools for uninsured people. Republicans cast the measure as their best effort to help people in need, while Democrats said they support more funding for the high-risk pools, but not if it comes from the prevention fund.

Rep. Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessHarvey response puts squeeze on GOP Medicaid efficiency is needed now, more than ever In the politics of healthcare reform, past is prologue MORE (R-Texas) defended the decision to use the prevention fund to pay for expanded high-risk pools.

“We call it a slush fund; that’s really pretty accurate," he said. "And so implementation dollars that [Health Secretary Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusJohn Roberts has tough job of keeping faith in Supreme Court Price was a disaster for HHS — Time for an administrator, not an ideologue Trump says he's unhappy with Price MORE] is not getting other ways ... she’s trying to make that up by tapping the prevention fund."

'Cover-up': Republican lawmakers are attacking the major U.S. broadcasters for not devoting more airtime to the grisly trial of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell. In letters to the presidents of ABC, CBS and NBC News on Wednesday, more than 70 GOP House members accused the networks of deliberately avoiding controversial stories about abortion. 

"We see no excuse for your failure to report these stories other than blatant media bias," the lawmakers wrote. "There is nothing 'politically incorrect' about reporting the negative impacts of abortion on women and children."

The Gosnell trial, in its fifth week, is slowly gaining national attention, and has been receiving more network coverage in recent days. GOP lawmakers have been slamming the media for its approach to the case since last week.

Requests for comment were made to all three networks. CBS declined to respond to the letter. Read more at Healthwatch.

'Discouraging': The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) was among the health groups criticizing the Senate Wednesday afternoon for its failure to approve new background checks for gun purchases. The AAP called gun violence "one of the single great public health threats to children in this country" and one of the "top three causes of death among young."

"Among children younger than 15, the United States has a firearm-related death rate 12 times higher than 25 other industrialized nations combined," the group said.

The amendment to widen background checks was sponsored by Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinDemocrats scramble to contain Franken fallout  Overnight Finance: House passes sweeping tax bill in huge victory for GOP | Senate confirms banking regulator | Mulvaney eyed for interim head of consumer agency Overnight Regulation: Senators unveil bipartisan gun background check bill | FCC rolls back media regs | Family leave credit added to tax bill | Senate confirms banking watchdog MORE (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). It went down 54-46, failing to reach the necessary 60-vote threshold for passage. Read more about the vote at The Hill's Floor Action blog.

Thursday's agenda

The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Health will host Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss the budget.

The Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will host FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg to discuss her agency's budget request.

The House Ways and Means subcommittee on Social Security will hold a hearing to examine entitlement reform proposals.

The House Veterans Affairs subcommittee on Health will discuss patient-centered procurement reform at a morning roundtable.

Leaders with the Bipartisan Policy Center will unveil new proposals to contain U.S. healthcare costs.

The Kaiser Family Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will hold a forum on consumer assistance efforts related to the Affordable Care Act.

Families USA will release a major report on how many people will be eligible in 2014 for healthcare reform's premium tax credits.

State by state

Fla. Senate panel approves two proposals to expand coverage

Ala. Senate committee OKs Medicaid reform bill

Pa. House panel passes bill to restrict abortions under insurance exchange

Lobbying registrations

Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz PC / American Heart Association

Emmer Consulting / National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers

Consulting with Communities / Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch

Management and Government Resources / Aqua Health Solutions

Jeffrey J. Kimbell and Associates / Terumo BCT

Cornerstone Government Affairs / Georgia Health Science Research Institutes

Barbour Griffith & Rogers / Kidney Care Partners

Reading list

Why Boston's hospitals were ready

Infant death rate declines 12 percent in US since 2005

Study: Patient satisfaction may not be good quality indicator

What you might have missed on Healthwatch

Insurance tax in healthcare law could cost states $15B

Cigars threatened with regulations

Report links former Grassley aide to Medicare Advantage leak

Dem proposes regulation of nurse-to-patient ratios

Dems offer alternate way to fix ObamaCare's high-risk pools

Norton fires warning shot against impending DC abortion bill

Legislators endorse FDA action against OxyContin generics

Comments / complaints / suggestions?

Please let us know:

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

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

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