OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Healthcare law gets $50 billion price cut

"This new estimate shows that the health care law is rapidly increasing Medicaid spending, because it is forcing many more Americans into this mismanaged, government run health program," Sen. Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziLobbying world Cheney on same-sex marriage opposition: 'I was wrong' What Republicans should demand in exchange for raising the debt ceiling MORE (R-Wyo.), the top Republican on the Senate HELP panel, said in a statement. "The CBO analysis is one more example of the President breaking his promise that Americans can keep their insurance if they like it.  According to CBO, 4 million fewer people will have access to employer health insurance under this new law."

Final filing: All the guesswork about costs and savings will be moot if the Supreme Court strikes down the healthcare law this summer. The 26 states that sued over the law filed their final brief Tuesday on the issue of severability — how much, if any, of the law’s other provisions can remain intact if the individual mandate is ruled unconstitutional. The states, along with the National Federation of Independent Business, say the court should toss out the whole thing.

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“The individual mandate is at the heart of the federal health care law; if the mandate is unconstitutional, the entire act must be invalidated,” Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said in a statement.

The states’ brief is available here.

IPAB vote set: The House will vote next week to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board — the controversial cost-cutting panel established under healthcare reform. CBO says repealing the board would cost the government about $3 billion in lost Medicare savings, and Republicans have decided to offset those costs with a bill that limits jury awards in medical malpractice cases. The Hill has the story on next week’s vote.

Mitt-igating circumstances: Mitt Romney doesn’t deserve quite so much credit/blame for the similarities between his healthcare law and President Obama’s, according to a new book. Obama’s version is very similar to the law that Romney signed as Massachusetts governor, which doesn’t sit well with conservatives. But the book’s authors say Romney’s Democratic successor, Deval Patrick, made big changes during the implementation process; Obama’s healthcare law reflects Patrick’s policies more than Romney’s initial vision, they argue. Healthwatch has more.


Wednesday's agenda

Research!America hosts its annual National Health Research Forum. Panelists include National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins; Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg; and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden. Here's the agenda.

The Commonwealth Fund unveils the first-ever scorecard ranking health system performance in 306 U.S. communities, which found wide variations between and within states. The scorecard will be available here tomorrow.

The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press releases findings from its latest political poll, which includes the public's views of the 2010 healthcare law and what should be done about it.

Former Reps. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) and Jim Ramstad (R-Minn.) discuss the Mental Health Parity Act at a National Press Club luncheon.


State by state

Arizona is considering legislation that would permit employers who object to covering birth control to ask their employees for proof they're not using the prescriptions for medical reasons other than contraception.

West Virginia has become the first state to pledge tax revenue to help finance its retiree healthcare burden, according to Stateline.org.

Public Citizen is calling on Wyoming's Department of Health to require notification and screening of patients who could have been exposed to improperly sterilized equipment at Sheridan Memorial Hospital.

A glitch with Connecticut's Medicaid program is keeping patients from getting the medicines they need.


Bill tracker

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead Biden move to tap oil reserves draws GOP pushback MORE (R-S.C.) introduced a bill authorizing the Department of Health and Human Services to award abstinence education grants (S. 2185).


Reg watch

The healthcare reform insurance exchange regulations released Monday allow certain patients to keep private coverage instead of joining Medicare. Healthwatch has the story.

The federal Medicaid agency awarded $75 million in funding Tuesday for a program that looks for cheaper, more effective ways to treat mental illness. Healthwatch's Sam Baker has more.


Lobbying registrations

VENG Group / National Health Law Program (Medicaid; contraception)

Duane Morris Government Strategies / LifeBridge Health


Reading list

The Journal of the American Medical Association launches coverage of the 2012 US presidential campaign on its blog.

Texas Democrats are negotiating with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen SebeliusKathleen Sebelius65 former governors, mayors back bipartisan infrastructure deal Fauci: 'Horrifying' to hear CPAC crowd cheering anti-vaccination remarks The Memo: Biden and Democrats face dilemma on vaccine mandates MORE to see if they can find alternative funding for a program that provides health screenings and contraceptive services to 130,000 Texas women on Medicaid, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Unlike in America, Canadian hospitals that spend more on healthcare consistently get better results, Bloomberg reports.


What you might have missed on Healthwatch

Obama administration launches health partnership in developing countries

Gingrich: Romney a 'dead loser' because of Mass. healthcare law

Petition calls on White House to allow Limbaugh to remain on military radio


Comments / complaints / suggestions? Please let us know:

Julian Pecquet: jpecquet@thehill.com / 202-628-8527

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

Follow us on Twitter @hillhealthwatch