OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Obama to tout ObamaCare

President Obama will highlight his signature healthcare law Friday during a stop in California — a state the administration has pointed to as an example of the law's success. Obama's speech comes amid Democratic hand-wringing over the political consequences of an uneven rollout, and at the early stages of a massive promotional blitz designed to boost enrollment and help ensure a smooth implementation process.

The Affordable Care Act remains unpopular and deeply misunderstood, but the White House is hoping to overcome those obstacles with an intense education effort and direct appeals from Obama himself. California provides a good backdrop for the administration's pitch — the state has been a leader in implementing the Affordable Care Act, and early signs indicate that the law will likely function pretty much as intended there.

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State officials recently announced that Californians will be able to choose among 13 insurance plans on the new insurance exchange. And though rates for some policies are more expensive than the cheapest policies on the market now, they came in well below expectations. The president will likely emphasize the competition in California's marketplace; promoting competition is a key goal of the healthcare law.

Obama is scheduled to speak Friday morning.

Sick people are expensive: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a new report Thursday about one of the biggest cost centers in healthcare — people who receive both Medicare and Medicaid. These so-called "dual eligible" beneficiaries are elderly, poor and tend to be among the sickest patients in the country. It's well known in Congress that better care for dual eligibles would save the government money, but lawmakers have never agreed on a way to change the system.

So, just how expensive are dual eligibles? According to the CBO, the average beneficiary costs the government about $33,300 per year — compared with just $8,300 for the average senior who only receives Medicare.

The full report is available here.

FOIA scoop: Turns out Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) isn't the only ObamaCare opponent who has sought the law's grant funding for his constituents. At least 11 other GOP lawmakers have lobbied the Obama administration to accept grant applications from healthcare interests in their states, according to documents obtained by The Nation. The letters primarily focused on two grants established by the Affordable Care Act — one to fight chronic disease and one to expand community health centers.

The lawmakers who sought funds included Sens. John Cornyn (Texas), Rob Portman (Ohio), Thad Cochran (Miss.), Saxby Chambliss (Ga.) and Johnny Isakson (Ga.), and Reps. Michael McCaul (Texas), Hal Rogers (Ky.), Jeff Denham (Calif.), Steve Pearce (N.M.), Lee Terry (Neb.) and Kristi Noem (S.D.). 

Read more at Healthwatch. 

Abortion boycott: A former member of the Baltimore Ravens reportedly skipped the team's trip to the White House on Wednesday because he disagrees with President Obama on abortion. Matt Birk, a retired center, told KFAN-FM on Thursday that he could not attend the event because Obama recently said "God bless you" during a speech to Planned Parenthood. 

"I have great respect for the office of the presidency, but about five or six weeks ago, our president made a comment in a speech ... Planned Parenthood performs about 330,000 abortions a year. I am Catholic, I am active in the pro-life movement, and I just felt like I couldn't deal with that. I couldn't endorse that in any way," Birk told the radio station. 

Birk is known for his conservative stance on social issues like abortion and gay marriage. Read about his interview at NFL.com and about Obama's speech at Healthwatch. 


State by state

Anti-abortion group pushes clinic inspection law

NH Senate rejects Medicaid expansion

Medicaid expansion complicated by proposed election changes in Ariz. 

Neb. lawmakers put off Medicaid issue until 2014


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

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

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