OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Pelosi brushes off ObamaCare worries

"We're very pleased that we're coming to a place now where we're going into implementation," Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol. "It's going to be something so remarkable in terms of prevention and wellness; it's going to be something so great in terms of technology and ... electronic medical records."

The Hill has more on Pelosi's remarks.

Abortion inquiries: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Thursday threw his weight behind new GOP-led investigations into state abortion regulations. The inquiries were announced by the House Energy and Commerce and Judiciary committees, both of which cited the murder trial of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell as their impetus.

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Gosnell is accused of killing a woman and several infants born alive after failed abortions in the squalid clinic he ran for decades. The jury is still deliberating his case.
 
"The fact that Gosnell evaded the law for so long has raised issues about whether these clinics are being adequately inspected, and when violations of the law are discovered, whether those are being prosecuted," Cantor said Thursday.

"I commend Chairmen [Bob] Goodlatte [(R-Va.)] and [Fred] Upton [(R-Mich.)] and their committee members for seeking answers to these questions in letters sent to attorneys general and state health officials in all 50 states and the District of Columbia today."

Read more about the probes at Healthwatch.

HELP unveils compounding bill: Members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee released a bipartisan draft bill to strengthen federal regulation of certain drug compounders following a deadly meningitis outbreak that has killed 55 and sickened more than 700 since last fall. The measure responds to requests from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to clarify its authority over non-traditional compounders, which produce custom drugs on a large scale without individual prescriptions attached.

"This legislation is a significant step forward in protecting the public from unsafe compounded products," said HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (R-Iowa). "By clarifying FDA authority over high-risk compounding practices, this bill will enhance protections for patients taking compounded drugs and help prevent crises like last year’s tragic meningitis outbreak."

The spate of illnesses was linked to the now-shuttered New England Compounding Center (NECC), a non-traditional compounder that fell into a regulatory gray area because it produced custom drugs in massive quantities and shipped them across state lines. Senators praised the new bill on Thursday for empowering the FDA to oversee firms like the NECC while "preserving the states' primary role" in regulating traditional, small-scale compounders. Read a "Myth vs. Fact" document on the bill from Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) here

Kentucky signs on: Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) said Thursday that he plans to participate in the healthcare law's Medicaid expansion. With Beshear's support, every Democratic governor is now on board, as are several high-profile Republicans. The expansion will cover roughly half of the uninsured people in Kentucky, Beshear said. Healthwatch has the story.



Friday's agenda


Neurosurgeon Keith L. Black will address the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus on an experimental method of detecting Alzheimer's early.


State by state


First ObamaCare ad campaign doesn't mention ObamaCare

Medicaid decision looming for Michigan lawmakers

Calif. weighs expanded role for nurse practitioners


Reading list


Health perks for top workers could trigger ObamaCare penalties

Pediatricians: Give immigrants healthcare access

Drugmakers, health groups bring poor girls vaccine


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HHS issues new funds for ObamaCare enrollment efforts

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Angus King: Regulators could jeopardize ObamaCare

Democratic Rep. Hahn: Healthcare law will result in fewer ‘bad marriages’

Obama officials roll out climate and health data tool

GOP lawmaker: My stomach surgery could add 20 years to my life


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

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

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