By Sarah Ferris and Peter Sullivan - 01/05/16 07:00 PM EST
President Obama is pressuring congressional Republicans to make good on their promise to fix the nation's broken mental health system, which the GOP has frequently blamed for gun violence.
As part of his wide-reaching efforts to rein in gun violence, Obama on Tuesday called for a half-billion dollars in new mental health spending, taunting the GOP on their failure to pass a mental health reform bill since pledging to do so in 2013.
"For those in Congress who so often rush to blame mental illness for mass shootings as a way of avoiding action on guns, here's your chance to support these efforts. Put your money where your mouth is," Obama said during an emotional speech at the White House.
Unlike his other proposals, which will be made through executive actions, the $500 million allocation must come from Congress -- something that Obama said Republicans should be obligated to support.
In a briefing after the speech, White House spokesman Josh Earnest reiterated that he doesn't expect the GOP to support the funding request because the party is unwilling to support the president's health efforts generally.
AETNA LEAVING AHIP Aetna, one of the nation's largest health insurers, announced Tuesday that it is leaving the insurer trade group America's Health Insurance Plans, dealing a blow to a powerful Washington lobbying group.
"Aetna has decided not to renew our AHIP membership for 2016," said Aetna spokeswoman Cynthia Michener. "We will continue to partner with groups that are working, as we are, toward expanding access to high-quality, affordable health care."
Aetna is the third largest health insurance company in the United States, and is attempting to merge with Humana, another top-five insurer.
The move comes after another large health insurer, United Healthcare, left AHIP in June, saying its interests and those of its customers were "no longer best represented by AHIP."
Both then and now, AHIP defended itself as a powerful force. Read more here.
STUDY: ACA NOT SHIFTING WORKERS PART-TIME ObamaCare has not caused employers to shift workers into part-time work, according to a new study.
The study, released Tuesday in the journal Health Affairs, examines the claim made by critics of the law that employers will make more people work part-time in order to avoid having to give them health insurance.
The law mandates that employers provide health insurance for people working 30 hours or more per week. That sparked reports that some employers would cut hours to avoid paying out insurance.
However, the study, which looks at data from the Current Population Survey, does not find evidence to support suggestions the law would have such an effect. Read more here.
ON TAP TOMORROW
The House will vote on a bill to repeal much of ObamaCare and defund Planned Parenthood for one year.
WHAT WE'RE READING:
Medicaid programs fall short when it comes to helping smokers quit (NPR)
E-cigarettes ads' wide reach among U.S. youth alarming, CDC says (Reuters)
Ted CruzTed CruzStephen Hawking: Trump a 'demagogue' Dems to Clinton: Ignore Trump on past scandals Meet the billionaire donor behind Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker MORE's best idea for overhauling the FDA (National Journal)
IN THE STATES:
Obama, Wendy Davis ask Supreme Court to reject Texas abortion law (Texas Tribune)
In Kentucky and Arkansas, access to healthcare improves, study says (NY Times)
ICYMI FROM THE HILL:
Dems weigh in on looming abortion battle
Poll: Many insured people have trouble paying medical bills
HHS launches test program for non-health needs