OVERNIGHT HEALTH: House wrestles with ObamaCare changes

The Vitter amendment would saddle congressional staff — many of whom are not especially well paid — with thousands of dollars in additional healthcare costs. Staffers are already required to buy insurance through ObamaCare's exchanges. Vitter's proposal would then strip away the contribution that the federal government, as staffers' employer, makes to help cover the cost of their premiums.

The Hill has the latest on the fiscal drama. 

Also, over at The New Yorker, Ryan Lizza rounds up some candid thoughts on the Vitter amendment from Hill staffers. (Spoiler alert: They are not fans.)

White House backs Sebelius: Republicans are calling for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to resign over the botched ObamaCare rollout, but the White House still has her back. Sebelius has "the full confidence of the president," White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday. His comments came after a small handful of Republicans, including Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus, said Sebelius should lose her job over the problems that faced the initial rollout of healthcare.gov. Healthwatch has the story.

Grassley weighs in: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said he never intended to make lawmakers and congressional aides cover the full cost of their healthcare plans, but that he believes it's the only fair thing to do. Grassley sponsored the provision in ObamaCare that requires members of Congress and their staffs to buy healthcare coverage through the law's insurance exchanges.

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That provision is now a football in the debate over an agreement to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling. Lawmakers disagree over whether the federal government should be able to help cover the cost of healthcare plans for lawmakers and their staffs, as most large employers do, once they move into ObamaCare's exchanges. Healthwatch has more.

Birth control at issue: Conservative House members expressed a desire Tuesday to fund the government only until Dec. 15 in order to force a fight over ObamaCare's birth control mandate. Members of the House GOP discussed a proposal that would reopen the government through mid-December, just weeks before a provision of the mandate takes effect on Jan. 1 for religiously affiliated groups.

House Republicans seemed adrift after canceling a vote on a debt-limit plan Tuesday night. But members of the party signaled concerns about letting the Jan. 1 date pass without waging a battle over contraception.

"It boils down to conscience protections that basically become compromised on the first of January, and that's bothersome to a lot of people," Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) told reporters Tuesday afternoon. Read more at Healthwatch.

Wednesday's schedule

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will promote the Affordable Care Act in Ohio.


State by state


Health exchange website still not working in Hawaii

Medicaid expansion expected to pass Ohio board

Ohio lawmakers considering bill to help Ariel Castro's victims

NH panel issues report backing Medicaid expansion


Lobbying registrations

Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville / American Cochlear Implant Alliance

Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville / American Society of Echocardiography

TwinLogic Strategies / McGovern and Associates


Reading list

DNC's Wasserman Schultz: ObamaCare needed a better rollout

Aetna CEO: 'So much wrong' with ObamaCare

Affordable Care Act a hard sell for Native Americans


What you might have missed on Healthwatch

RNC video: 'Fire Sebelius'

Right wants changes to House plan

Dems pan House GOP budget proposal

Planned Parenthood slams GOP over contraception opt-out proposal

House hopes to move own debt plan, but may not have the votes

Durbin: GOP fight over staffer insurance contributions is 'pathetic'


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