OVERNIGHT HEALTH: McConnell mum on ObamaCare shutdown threat

The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service said in a report Tuesday that the administration is not relying on appropriations for most of its implementation work — meaning it could continue implementing most of the law even during a shutdown. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), a vocal critic of the shutdown strategy, requested the report. Healthwatch has the details.

Orszag v. Dean: Former White House budget director Peter Orszag hit back Tuesday against an op-ed in which Howard Dean criticized the healthcare law's cost-control board. Dean called the Independent Payment Advisory Board a "rationing body" and said it wouldn't succeed in holding down Medicare costs.

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Orszag, who championed the IPAB during the healthcare debate, defended the board in his own op-ed Tuesday, making the case that Medicare prices are set by the government no matter what: it's just a question of whether the power falls to Congress or the IPAB.

"[Dean argues] that the board would use a bureaucratic rate-setting process to bluntly lower payments," Orszag wrote. "Which is exactly what Congress does today. The board, in contrast, is mostly meant to navigate — outside the political realm — the two-steps-forward and one-step-back process of testing new payment structures."

Orszag's op-ed is online here.

Cost of delay: Delaying ObamaCare's employer mandate for a year cost the government about $12 billion, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday. The budget office, in its first update since the White House decided to delay the employer mandate, said the government will lose $10 billion in penalties from employers that don't provide insurance and will spend another $3 billion on more subsidies for people who buy insurance through the law's exchanges. Healthwatch has the story.

Part D premiums steady: Premiums for Medicare's prescription drug benefit will remain steady next year, the Health and Human Services Department said Tuesday. The average premium for drug coverage will be roughly $31 per month in 2014. Premiums have held steady at $30 per month for the past three years.

“Seniors are benefiting from improved benefits and low premiums, thanks to a competitive and transparent marketplace for Medicare drug plans,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.

Happy birthday: Tuesday marks the 48th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson signing Medicare and Medicaid into law. Sebelius took the opportunity to praise the Affordable Care Act, nothing that is expanded Medicaid eligibility and added new benefits to Medicare, as well as extending the solvency of the Medicare trust fund.

"I call on all of you to join me in renewing the promise our nation made 48 years ago to our parents, aunts, uncles, and neighbors — and to our children — that Medicare and Medicaid will be there to help them live healthier lives, with security and peace of mind," Sebelius said.


Wednesday's agenda

The House Energy and Commerce Committee reconvenes its markup of a bipartisan bill to replace Medicare's payment formula for doctors.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's healthcare panel holds a hearing on the IRS's implementation of ObamaCare's insurance subsidies.

The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on energy drinks and how they are marketed to young people.

Rep. John Conyers Jr. (R-Mich.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) hold a press conference to argue for a single-payer healthcare system.

The House Ways and Means Committee's Human Resources subcommittee holds a hearing on improving safety net programs.


State by state

The Michigan Senate is expected to vote Wednesday on ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion.

Premiums in Florida's individual market are going up.

County officials in Wisconsin want Gov. Scott Walker (R) to reverse course and accept federal healthcare funds.


Lobbying registrations

Steve Buyer Group / Gilead

Tarplin, Downs & Young, LLC / AbbVie Inc.

Tarplin, Downs & Young, LLC / Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals

UnityPoint Health (self-registration)


Reading list

Lawmakers and their staffers are still waiting to hear exactly what it means for ObamaCare to apply to them, The New York Times reports.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is hitting the road to sell ObamaCare in Republican-led states, Bloomberg reports.

Doctors are trying to keep track of healthcare data patients collect at home, the Boston Globe reports.


What you might have missed on Healthwatch

Florida says premiums will rise under ObamaCare

CBO punts on bill to stop IRS from implementing ObamaCare

Appeals court rules against New York soda ban

Gingrich challenges Harry Reid to debate ObamaCare funding

White House: ObamaCare has not stifled job growth


Comments / complaints / suggestions?

Please let us know:

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

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