OVERNIGHT HEALTH: GOP ObamaCare bill hits a snag

Two powerful conservative groups broke with House GOP leaders Thursday to oppose a bill that would increase funding for part of President Obama's healthcare law. The Heritage Foundation and the fiscally conservative Club for Growth both said they oppose the bill, which passed out of a House committee yesterday.

The bill would take $4 billion out of the reform law's prevention and public health fund and use the money to bolster high-risk pools for the uninsured. House Republicans say it's a way to help people in need, because the high-risk pools have stopped accepting new patients. But some conservative activists aren't on board.

"We are opposed to federal high risk pools and don't believe Congress should be expanding Obamacare programs," Heritage action said on Twitter.

The Club for Growth said the high-risk pools were too expensive even for Obama. The group urged lawmakers to defeat the GOP bill and said the vote would count as a "key vote" in the Club for Growth's scorecards.

"Fiscal conservatives should be squarely focused on repealing ObamaCare, not strengthening it by supporting the parts that are politically attractive," the group said.

Healthwatch has the story on conservative opposition.

Why is this happening? House Republicans have voted repeatedly to eliminate spending in the Affordable Care Act, including the prevention fund. This proposal is different because it would reinvest the savings back into a separate ObamaCare program — an unusual move for a caucus that has been so committed to defunding the whole law. So, why is this bill on the table? 

Healthwatch has some answers.

BPC looks at Medicare reform: The Bipartisan Policy Center released new recommendations Thursday for overhauling Medicare's benefit structure. The think tank called for a new option called "Medicare Networks" — an integrated system seniors could choose instead of traditional Medicare or Medicare Advantage. Seniors would get a discount on their premiums if they choose a Medicare Network, and providers in a network would share in the savings they yield for Medicare. The full BPC report is here.

Train wreck: Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) shot back Thursday at Sen. Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusGreen Party puts Dem seat at risk in Montana Business groups worried about Trump's China tariffs plan Farmers hit Trump on trade in new ad MORE (D-Mont.) after Baucus said he's afraid the implementation of the Affordable Care Act will turn into a "huge train wreck." If it's a train wreck, Pompeo said, Baucus is the conductor.

"You drafted it, you twisted arms to get it passed, and, until now, you have lauded it as a model for all the world," Pompeo wrote in a letter to Baucus. "Your attempts to pass the buck to President Obama’s team will not work, nor will they absolve you of responsibility for the harm that you have brought via this law."

Baucus, as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, was a key architect of the Affordable Care Act. Most of its major provisions were crafted in his committee, and the Finance draft was consistently treated as the primary bill even as other Senate and House committees worked on their own proposals.

Healthwatch has more.

Friday's agenda

The Susan B. Anthony List and the Pennsylvania Family Institute will host a briefing and screening of a documentary film about abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, who is charged with the deaths of seven babies and one mother. Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) are the event's honorary co-hosts.

State by state

Critics call Branstad's health plan 'IowaCare on steroids'

Nevada's work on health exchange sets example

Conn. to proceed with small-business exchange

Lobbying registrations

FaegreBD Consulting / Health Quality Partners

The Kate Moss Company / CVS Caremark

Reading list

Grassley shifts focus of probe on source of Medicare leak

FDA chief defends budget, says agency is taxpayer 'bargain'

Want to cut health costs? Show doctors a price tag

What you might have missed on Healthwatch

Study: 26M will be eligible for 'game changer' ObamaCare subsidies

FDA given green light to ask docs about drug advertising

Senate votes 95-2 for bipartisan mental health amendment

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