OVERNIGHT HEALTH: ObamaCare enrollment hits new record

Roughly 9.5 million consumers have chosen health plans or reenrolled in their old coverage on ObamaCare's marketplaces since Nov. 15, an increase over last year's final count. The new figure puts the federal health department's 2015 sign-up target within striking distance. The Obama administration is hoping to achieve at least 9.1 million paid enrollments for this year.    


While HHS appears to have hit its enrollment goal at first glance, it is not clear how many people who have chosen plans will pay their first premium — the threshold for full enrollment. Anecdotally, insurers predict that 80 to 85 percent of people who sign up for plans will finalize their coverage by paying their first bill.

The announcement, which included plans picked on the state-based marketplaces, arrives as federal health officials engage in a final push to encourage consumers to visit HealthCare.gov before the Feb. 15 deadline. Read more here.

Indiana to expand Medicaid: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) has struck a long-awaited deal with the White House that allows the state to move forward with its own plan to expand Medicaid while still receiving a windfall of federal dollars. Pence announced Tuesday that he has received a green light for the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0, which he called the "first-ever consumer-driven health care plan for a low-income population."

The plan comes with a conservative twist, bucking the federal government's blueprint for Medicaid expansion by requiring participants to pay a monthly premium to help offset costs. Indiana will become the 29th state that has expanded Medicaid under ObamaCare. Read more here.

Back to the mental health debate: Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) is attempting to unite mental health advocates around his plan to reshape the nation's treatment and prevention systems, vowing to work with those who "are mired in the old ways." Murphy, who is trained as a child psychologist, said he plans to reintroduce his bill in the next few weeks "after we do some other polishing and tinkering on this." He said he believes the bill will reach the Senate, with Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) taking the lead with support from Sens. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntSenate GOP mulls speeding up Trump impeachment trial Biden calls for revoking key online legal protection GOP threatens to weaponize impeachment witnesses amid standoff MORE (R-Mo.), Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyIran resolution supporters fear impeachment will put it on back burner Parnas pressure grows on Senate GOP Democrats request briefing on intel behind Trump's embassy threat claim MORE (D-Conn.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiRepublicans will pay on Election Day for politicizing Trump's impeachment GOP threatens to weaponize impeachment witnesses amid standoff Paul predicts no Republicans will vote to convict Trump MORE (R-Alaska).

The legislation, "Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act," was authored in early 2013 in the wake of the deadly elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn. The bill would create new, strict guidelines for state governments, including a controversial provision that makes it easier to require people with severe mental illnesses to seek treatment and take medication. Read more here.

Next step for 21st Century Cures: Leading members of the House Commerce and Energy Committee on Tuesday unveiled a sweeping set of proposals Tuesday aimed at speeding up the discovery of new treatments and cures across the U.S.

As part of the bipartisan "21st Century Cures" initiative, lawmakers released a 13-page document outlining plans to streamline clinical trials, speed up the production of certain drugs and better incorporate patients' experiences when designing new treatments.

Among the dozens of line items, Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) and G.K. ButterfieldGeorge (G.K.) Kenneth ButterfieldHouse poised to hand impeachment articles to Senate Democrat makes case for impeachment in Spanish during House floor debate Democrats likely to gain seats under new North Carolina maps MORE (D-N.C.) want to reward companies who create treatments for rare diseases by giving them six months of exclusive rights to the product. Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), would ask the National Institutes of Health to create a strategic plan, while Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) wants to increase funding for brain research. Read more here.

Groups weigh in on subsidy case: Leading medical groups including the American Cancer Society and American Heart Association are ringing the alarm about the upcoming Supreme Court case that threatens to erase $28 billion in ObamaCare subsidies.

The advocacy groups, which worked closely to shape the Affordable Care Act during years of debates, argued the original law intended for people in every state to qualify for subsidies, regardless of whether they used the federal marketplace or created their own. That argument attempts to debunk the premise of the conservative-backed lawsuit, King v. Burwell, which argues that only people using state exchanges are allowed receive subsidies under the law. Read more here.

Speaking of King v. Burwell... Senate Republicans are preparing a legislative plan of action in case the Supreme Court strikes a major blow against ObamaCare and rules subsidies provided to people on the federal exchange are illegal. GOP senators are confident the justices will rule in their favor, and they want to be ready to act if millions of people lose their subsidies to buy insurance through the healthcare law.

"If the Supreme Court were to say the law says what the law says, we would like to be ready with a response to that that makes practical sense for the 5 or 6 million Americans who would be affected," said Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderGOP threatens to weaponize impeachment witnesses amid standoff Trump's trial a major test for McConnell, Schumer Trump Jr. to stump for ex-ambassador running for Tennessee Senate seat MORE (R-Tenn.), who is heading the effort along with Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchKey Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock Trump awards Medal of Freedom to racing industry icon Roger Penske Trump holds more Medal of Freedom ceremonies than predecessors but awards fewer medals MORE (R-Utah) and Republican Policy Committee Chairman John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoSenate GOP mulls speeding up Trump impeachment trial Green groups raise alarms about alleged Pentagon incineration of 'forever chemicals' House passes sweeping bill to target spread of toxic 'forever chemicals' MORE (R-Wyo.). Read more here.

Wednesday's schedule

The Senate Finance Committee will mark up legislation to exempt veterans who have health insurance through the Defense or Veterans Affairs departments from ObamaCare's employer mandate.

Families USA will hold a Capitol Hill press conference before filing amicus briefs in the King v. Burwell case. Later in the day, groups including the Center for American Progress will hold a phone briefing to discuss its own amicus briefs about the case.

State by state

Tenn. Senate will debate proposed Insure Tennessee plan

AG says Tenn. would have right to cancel Medicaid expansion

Kansas House committee working on plan to expand Medicaid

Judge: California Medicaid backlog violates law

Wyo. lawmakers introduce bill to expand Medicaid

Calif.'s epidemic of vaccine denial, mapped

Reading list

Surgeon general: 'Desperate need of clarity' on e-cigarettes

Medicare's payment reform push draws praise and fears

Scientists ask if Ebola immunizes as well as kills

Joan Rivers's daughter sues clinic over comedian's death

What you might have missed at The Hill

US pledges $1B for global vaccination campaign

Obama eyes new funds to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria 

Surgeon general makes ObamaCare pitch to millennials

Senate GOP plots plan B for ObamaCare

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