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.

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 RyanPaul RyanRift opens in GOP over budget strategy Overnight Defense: Pentagon sees signs of chemical weapons activity in Syria | House votes to reaffirm NATO defense pact | Saudis refuse to ease Qatar demands Overnight Finance: GOP divided over welfare cuts in budget | Lawmaker loses M on pharma stock he pitched | Yellen says another financial crisis unlikely in our lifetimes MORE (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 CornynJohn CornynSenators urge Trump to do right thing with arms sales to Taiwan Cornyn: Key vote to advance health bill likely Wednesday GOP ObamaCare fight faces do-or-die procedural vote MORE (Texas), Rob PortmanRob PortmanGOP governors could help bring down Senate health bill Overnight Healthcare: Senate delays ObamaCare vote past recess | Trump says GOP 'very close' to deal | Three more senators come out against bill Three more GOP senators announce opposition to healthcare bill MORE (Ohio), Thad CochranThad CochranOvernight Finance: CBO finds 22M more uninsured under Senate health bill | GOP agrees ObamaCare taxes must go | Supreme Court to look at Dodd-Frank whistleblower protections | More tax reform hearings | Green light for partial travel ban | Senate Dems set principles for potential budget negotiation Defense hawks gird for budget brawl MORE (Miss.), Saxby ChamblissSaxby ChamblissFormer GOP senator: Let Dems engage on healthcare bill OPINION: Left-wing politics will be the demise of the Democratic Party GOP hopefuls crowd Georgia special race MORE (Ga.) and Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonFood Network star honors veterans with dessert feast The Hill's Whip List: GOP undecided, 'no' votes pile up on ObamaCare repeal bill Georgia special election runoff: live coverage MORE (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

Reading list

Survey: Employers eye new health plan reimbursement approaches [free registration required]

No stopping sequestration cancer cuts, says CMS

Birth control pill tied to lower ovarian cancer risk

What you might have missed on Healthwatch

Toomey calls on Sebelius to change 'flawed' organ donation policy

ObamaCare rule lowered premiums, analysis finds

Analysis: Subsidies will offset ObamaCare 'rate shock'

Authorities credit ObamaCare for healthcare fraud busts

ObamaCare more unpopular than ever

Judge intervenes in transplant case

Markey pounces on Gomez's abortion comments during Mass. Senate debate

Rep. Labrador abandons House immigration bill over healthcare

Interior issues new healthy food standards for national parks

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