OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Right digs in on defunding the ACA

Conservatives aren't backing down from their threat to shut down the federal government over ObamaCare funding, despite criticism from other Republicans. 

A prominent Tea Party group pressed GOP senators on the strategy Monday, and Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzDebbie Wasserman Schultz marks 10 years as breast cancer survivor Foreign agent registration is no magical shield against Russian propaganda Let Trump be Trump and he'll sail through 2020 MORE (R-Texas) is making the rounds promoting the strategy as well.

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"We have a fight we can win. If ObamaCare isn't working, this is our best opportunity to defund it. ... If 41 Republicans stand together in the Senate or if 218 Republicans stand together in the House, we can win this fight," Cruz said Monday on CNN.

His fellow Republicans aren't so confident. Sen. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnFormer GOP senator: Trump has a personality disorder Lobbying World -trillion debt puts US fiscal house on very shaky ground MORE (R-Okla.) has said the strategy won't work, and Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrSessions argued presidents can obstruct justice in Clinton impeachment trial Trump Jr. to meet with Senate panel amid Russia probe Trump’s Russian winter grows colder with Flynn plea deal MORE called it the "dumbest idea I've ever heard of." GOP leaders who were around for the government shutdown in 1995 say it's simply not a good strategy and gives false hope to conservative activists.

Tea Party Patriots, though, dug in on Monday, telling GOP senators it will not support them unless they back the threat to shut down the government.

Healthwatch has more on the threat.

IRS political targeting: Cause of Action, a watchdog group that has adamantly criticized the IRS over accusations of political targeting, is asking the tax agency to pay extra scrutiny to the tax-exempt status of a pro-ObamaCare group. Cause of Action asked the IRS to review the tax-exempt status of Enroll America, a group that is helping encourage people to sign up for new coverage options under the healthcare law.

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Enroll America said the attack is baseless.

“This complaint is completely without merit," National Communications Director Jessica Barba Brown said. "Enroll America is focused solely on helping to educate American consumers about the new health insurance benefits created by the Affordable Care Act."

Read more here.

ACA at work: The Health and Human Services Department on Monday touted new data on the number of seniors who have saved money on their prescription drugs because of ObamaCare. The agency said 6.6 million seniors have saved a combined $7 billion thanks to discounts the law provided. Healthwatch has the details.

Bipartisan HSA bill: A bipartisan duo in the House has introduced a new bill to roll back the healthcare law's restrictions on tax-preferred health savings accounts. The law places new restrictions on the use of flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs), such as prohibiting the use of HSAs to buy non-prescription drugs. Reps. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) and John BarrowJohn Jenkins BarrowOur democracy can’t afford to cut legal aid services from the budget Dem files Ethics complaint on Benghazi panel Barrow thanks staff in farewell speech MORE (D-Ga.) introduced a bill Friday to reopen HSAs for over-the-counter purchases.


Tuesday's agenda

The Senate Budget Committee holds a hearing on containing healthcare costs.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) discusses defunding ObamaCare at a Heritage Foundation event.


State by state

A new insurer in Connecticut cut its proposed rates for the state's insurance exchange.

Officials in Washington state are looking for ways to get young, healthy people to enroll.

Detroit is looking to ObamaCare for help with its healthcare obligations.


Lobbying registrations

Morgan Casner Associates / Matrix Health Alliance LLC

FWD Strategies International, LLC / Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies

McGuireWoods Consulting / ASL Pharmacy Holding Company, Inc.


Reading list

The Washington Post's Sarah Kliff explains how easy it is to spin ObamaCare rate filings, citing this weekend's headlines from Maryland.

The Baltimore Sun editorial board says focusing on premium increases for certain residents is misleading.

More doctors are refusing to accept Medicare, The Wall Street Journal reports.


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Please let us know:

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

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