OVERNIGHT HEALTH: CMS nominee faces confirmation hearing

Grassley questions Medicare leak: We already know at least one subject for tomorrow’s hearing — the apparent leak of sensitive information about Medicare cuts. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said Monday he will press Tavenner about communications between agency officials and a political intelligence firm.

{mosads}The firm seemed to know ahead of time that CMS was backing off its proposal to cut Medicare Advantage plans — news the agency normally holds until after markets close. The information’s early release sent insurance companies’ stocks soaring. Grassley will ask Tavenner about the apparent leak during Tuesday’s hearing.

“I hope she comes prepared to take responsibility. I hope she comes prepared to explain how she plans to hold someone accountable,” Grassley said in a floor speech Monday.

Dems disappointed in delays: Congressional Democrats and outside stakeholders aren’t happy about delays in implementing key pieces of the Affordable Care Act. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) criticized the administration last week for a one-year delay in part of a new benefit for small businesses, and lawmakers have been complaining for months about delays in the law’s Basic Health Plan. Their criticisms — and the delays — come ahead the 2014 midterms, when Republicans are sure to make healthcare an issue.

Healthwatch has the full story.

Despite GOP pledges to focus on healthcare next year, Democrats say they’re not concerned — the issue has been litigated and people are ready to move on, they argue. ICYMI, we covered that angle a few weeks ago.

Poll finds chained CPI alienates voters: A majority of older voters opposes cost-of-living cuts for Social Security and would object to their member of Congress supporting the policy, according to a new poll. The national survey from AARP found that 66 percent of voters over 50 would be “considerably less favorable” to lawmakers that back slower cost-of-living increases in Social Security. President Obama’s new budget is expected to include a so-called chained consumer price index (CPI) proposal as an olive branch to Republicans, and the left has signaled strong opposition to the policy ahead of the budget’s roll-out Wednesday. Read more at Healthwatch.

Tuesday’s schedule

The Senate Finance Committee will meet to consider the nomination of Marilyn Tavenner to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on reauthorizing animal drug user fees.

The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare will hold a protest at the White House against President Obama’s support for cuts to Social Security.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will deliver remarks at the National Council for Community Mental Health and Addictions Conference in Las Vegas.

State by state

Florida Gov. Scott defends Medicaid stand

Maryland lawmakers approve medical marijuana

W.Va. House committee: No charging for HIV tests

Reading list

Rolling out the Affordable Care Act in the field

Four questions senators should ask Obama’s Medicare nominee

Hospital group says ‘alarm fatigue’ can be deadly

What you might have missed on Healthwatch

Administration pushes toward electronic medical records 

Supporters file nearly 350,000 comments on contraception mandate

Advocates, lawmakers rally for medical research funding 

House GOP will seek to fortify ObamaCare’s high-risk pools

Week ahead: Obama nominee to face Senate panel

Ex-Obama administration healthcare official joins lobby firm

Comments / complaints / suggestions?

Please let us know:

Sam Baker: / 202-628-8351

Elise Viebeck: / 202-628-8523

Follow us on Twitter @hillhealthwatch

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