OVERNIGHT HEALTH: GOP pulls ObamaCare bill

Harkin's hold is the first real roadblock for Tavenner, who sailed out of the Senate Finance Committee with a bipartisan voice vote and an endorsement from Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.). Harkin, though, is deeply upset that the White House keeps cutting the prevention fund, which he had championed. Most recently, the administration has said it plans to tap the fund to help implement a federal insurance exchange and pay "navigators" to help people use the exchanges.

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What does the White House need to do for Harkin to lift his hold? A spokeswoman said only that Harkin "expects an ongoing conversation about the future of the prevention fund."

Healthwatch has the details.

Cantor weighs in: @GOPLeader: @SenatorHarkin is right, slush fund shouldn't help implement ObamaCare. Confirm Tavenner & join House Rs to #HelpSickAmericansNow.

Another repeal vote? Some of the conservative Republicans who opposed Wednesday's bill on high-risk pools said the House needs to vote again to repeal all of ObamaCare. The freshman class wasn't able to take part in the 30-plus repeal and defunding votes of the past two years, they noted, arguing that freshmen need to be able to point to a full repeal vote before they start agreeing to modify the law. They acknowledged the vote would be purely symbolic. The Hill has more.

No furloughs: Federal agencies are furloughing their workers across the board to cope with the sequester — but guess which office isn't cutting hours and pay? The one implementing most of ObamaCare. Gary Cohen, the director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight said Wednesday that his office is under a hiring freeze and can't replace employees who leave, but is not furloughing the employees it has.

"We're talking about at least a 15 percent furlough of current air-traffic controllers, resulting in delays and perhaps safety concerns, but yet this has been a selective political item by the administration," Rep. Greg Harper (R-Miss.) said.

Read the full exchange between Cohen and Harper.

Change in plans: President Obama pushed back his speech to a Planned Parenthood gala from Thursday to Friday. Abortion-rights opponents implied a connection to the trial of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, but the White House said the delay is simply to give Obama more time to meet with people injured last week by a massive fertilizer explosion in West, Texas. He'll be in Texas anyway for a fundraiser and the dedication of George W. Bush's presidential library. Healthwatch has the details.


Thursday's agenda

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will appear before the House Appropriations subcommittee on HHS to talk about her budget request.

Food and Drug Administration officials will discuss the safety of the nation’s drug supply at the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Health.

The House Oversight subcommittee that governs healthcare will discuss the lack of data on prices, medical mistakes and patient outcomes in U.S. medicine.

The Wilson Center and National Public Radio will hold an event on U.S. drug policy and how to reform it for the 21st century. Gil Kerlikowske, director of Drug Control Policy at the White House, will deliver the keynote speech.

The Secular Coalition for America will hold a summit featuring remarks by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). The event will also feature a panel on "Religious Liberty vs. Health and Safety."


State by state


Maryland offers glimpse at ObamaCare insurance math

Report says Pennsylvania would profit by expanding Medicaid access

How one mistaken vote killed Montana's Medicaid expansion

Motorcycle deaths climb as states repeal helmet laws


Reading list


New tobacco chief promises US action as industry waits

Study: Aging population to drive up heart-related costs

Long-term view of youth-obesity-prevention policies urged


What you might have missed on Healthwatch


Deadline, delays loom over ObamaCare rule

Sebelius takes new heat from Baucus 'train wreck' remark

Obama seeks new approach to the war on drugs

Medicare whistleblower program increases reward

Food safety rules get comment extension

HHS unveils standards for languages, cultures


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