OVERNIGHT HEALTH: ObamaCare unscathed in fiscal deal


After shutting down the federal government in an attempt to defund ObamaCare, Republicans ultimately did not win any changes to the healthcare reform law as part of an agreement to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling.

The agreement does not repeal, delay or defund any part of the healthcare law. Its only ObamaCare-related provision is a minor one: requiring reports from the Health and Human Services Department about the process for verifying that consumers are eligible for ObamaCare's tax subsidies. The HHS is already required by the healthcare law to verify consumers' income and eligibility, and the fiscal deal does not make any changes to the verification requirements. It simply requires the department to certify that it's doing what the law requires before providing any subsidies. It also requires a report on the process from HHS's Office of Inspector General.

ADVERTISEMENT
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the leader of the move to defund the law, rejected the premise that conservatives came away with nothing after pushing the government into a shutdown over ObamaCare.

Cruz said the "American people rose up" and rejected the Affordable Care Act, and he praised the House for embracing the shutdown and voting repeatedly to delay or dismantle parts of the law.

Healthwatch has the story.

Reax from the GOP: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said the fight over ObamaCare "has just begun." Former Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said the GOP should have focused on delaying ObamaCare rather than defunding it. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said Republicans will shift their focus to oversight of what he called ObamaCare's "really huge problems." Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.), a leader of the original defund movement, said he'll vote against the deal and that Democrats will agree to delaying the law soon. GOP Rep. Paul Broun, who is running for a Georgia Senate seat, said his colleagues should share his "courage to oppose any deal that does not defund and delay ObamaCare." 

Enrollment targets: The HHS had hoped to enroll roughly 500,000 people in ObamaCare's new insurance exchanges during the month of October, The Associated Press reported Wednesday. That target could be difficult to meet, given the technical problems that plagued the launch of healthcare.gov. 

The department has refused to disclose enrollment targets for the first month, but the AP obtained an internal memo setting enrollment expectations for the first month at 500,000. 

Read the AP report here.

'Still not satisfied': In Cincinnati Wednesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said she's "still not satisfied" with ObamaCare's glitchy enrollment site. "Hardware has been added to boost capacity," she said. “There is a team working constantly not only to make the early entrance to the site seamless, but to make sure that as volume rises, people are able to go all the way through and shop." Read more at The Cincinnati Enquirer

No distractions: White House press secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday that an expected push on immigration reform would not distract from the administration's "around the clock" focus on fixing glitches with the implementation of ObamaCare. Carney told reporters that the problems that had affected the website were "unacceptable," but also argued that "healthcare reform is more than a website." The White House spokesman also revealed that the first enrollment numbers for the system would be revealed in "mid-November." Read more at The Hill.

Coverage gap: The Kaiser Family Foundation has a new issue brief on people who would be qualified for Medicaid under ObamaCare's expansion but live in states that refuse to accept the policy. The report pegs that number at more than 5 million people. Read more here.

Less than 1 percent: Less than 1 percent of people who visited healthcare.gov in its first week actually enrolled for coverage under ObamaCare, according to a new analysis. The consulting firm Kantar US Insights estimated that only about 36,000 people completed the enrollment process by Oct. 5, out of about 9.5 million unique visitors to the glitchy ObamaCare portal. The analysis also found that traffic to healthcare.gov plummeted 88 percent between Oct. 1 and Oct. 13 as users encountered problems with the system. Healthwatch has the details.


State by state

Wash. Medicaid increases dental coverage for adults

Kasich's Medicaid expansion expected to pass Controlling Board

Hospital group reports increase in uninsured in Pa.


Lobbying registrations

Hall, Tender, Killian, Heath & Lyman / Ascension Health

Hall, Tender, Killian, Heath & Lyman / Hendricks Regional Health

Hall, Tender, Killian, Heath & Lyman / Lourdes Medical Center

Hall, Tender, Killian, Heath & Lyman / Ministry Health Care

Hall, Tender, Killian, Heath & Lyman / Our Lady of Lourdes Memorial Hospital

Hall, Tender, Killian, Heath & Lyman / Saint Agnes Hospital

Hall, Tender, Killian, Heath & Lyman / Saint Mary's of Michigan

Hall, Tender, Killian, Heath & Lyman / Saint Thomas Health Services

Hall, Tender, Killian, Heath & Lyman / Seton Healthcare Network

Hall, Tender, Killian, Heath & Lyman / Via Christi Health System

Hogan Lovells US / Auxilium Pharmaceuticals

Jackson Lewis / Mining Awareness Resource Group

Jackson Lewis / Veris Gold Corp.

Polsinelli PC / athenahealth

TwinLogic Strategies / McGovern and Associates


Reading list

Seven alternatives to healthcare.gov

Did Obama exempt 1,200 groups from ObamaCare?

Exchange hitches hinder launch of insurance co-op


What you might have missed on Healthwatch


USDA: Shutdown hasn't affected salmonella response

Club, Heritage: Vote no

White House: Obama supports deal

Sens. Cruz, Lee say they won't block deal


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