OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Celebs in talks to sell ObamaCare

The White House is working to recruit Hollywood stars for efforts to promote the healthcare reform law, a top celebrity political adviser said Tuesday. Trevor Neilson, a Clinton White House veteran who now runs Global Philanthropy Group, represents celebrities like Eva Longoria and John Legend. He said that some of his clients are "looking at ways to be involved" in selling ObamaCare.

"I think the White House is very wise to identify partners to help market the Affordable Care Act," Neilson said. "Just like any good product, when people are aware of the many benefits it provides, there will be increased demand."

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The news comes on the heels of an announcement by federal Health 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 that she's pursuing partnerships with major sports leagues, including the NFL, to tout the law. The efforts mark the final stage of implementation, as the administration seeks to court uninsured patients for the new exchanges. Advertising campaigns will especially target young, healthy men because their enrollment will help stabilize the new marketplaces.

Read more about the Hollywood recruitment at Healthwatch.

No 'rate shock' in Montana: The Obama administration got more good news Tuesday on insurance premiums under the Affordable Care Act. Montana's insurance commissioner said policies in the state's insurance exchange will be less expensive than they would have been without the healthcare law. The average cost of a plan sold through the exchange will be $273 per month, according to the commissioner's office.

Premiums in several states have come in lower than expected, even before accounting for new tax credits to help low-income people cover their costs. It's a big talking point for the White House as it tries to boost enrollment in the exchanges amid GOP warnings of massive "rate shock."

The Billings Gazette has the story on Montana's rates.

Abortion-rights challenge: The Center for Reproductive Rights filed suit Tuesday against two laws in North Dakota that curb abortion rights. One would ban abortion in the very early stages of pregnancy and another would outlaw procedures based on sex selection or fetal anomaly.

“Plain and simple, these laws will endanger women’s lives and deny them rights that are supposed to be guaranteed to all Americans under the U.S. Constitution. We intend to stop them from going into effect before that happens," said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, in a statement.

The first law is known as a "heartbeat" ban and would prohibit pregnancies from being terminated once cardiac activity can be detected in a fetus. 

Read Healthwatch's past coverage of the North Dakota law here.

Cantor plugs health funding bill: House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorBottom line Virginia GOP candidates for governor gear up for convention Cantor: 'Level of craziness' in Washington has increased 'on both sides' MORE (R-Va.) brought three of his Republican colleagues to a children’s hospital in Washington on Tuesday to increase federal funding for pediatric care. Cantor's bill would eliminate federal funding for presidential campaigns and give the savings — about $130 million — to the National Institutes of Health.

The Hill has more details on Cantor's appearance Tuesday.


Wednesday's agenda

The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on reforming Medicare's benefit structure.

The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on care quality measures.

The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing on challenges facing U.S. business under ObamaCare.

The Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing on the federal budget's impact on children.

The Senate Special Committee on Aging will hold a hearing on the federal government's role in encouraging patients to plan for their end-of-life care.


State by state

Democrats in Maine are looking to GOP proposals as a back door to expanding Medicaid in the state.

Arkansas officials released a new proposal for the state's privatized Medicaid expansion.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is trying to build support for the Medicaid expansion, but he won't call a special session.


Reading list

Humana's CEO on massive undertaking of health reform

Sen. Grassley: Who approved these hospital CEO bonuses?

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Providers likely to feel pressure as Medicaid gets new enrollees [free reg. req'd]


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