OVERNIGHT HEALTHCARE: Insurance giant to brief Congress on cyber hack

The country's second-largest health insurance company will meet with the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Friday to discuss a massive data breach that affected as many as 80 million customers.

The digital intrusion into Anthem Inc.'s system could be the largest healthcare breach to date, experts say. Customers' names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, home addresses and salary data have been possibly exposed.

ADVERTISEMENT

Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) pledged to double down on cybersecurity with promises to hold more hearings. He added that the hack "underscores the increasing magnitude and evolving nature of cyber crimes." Read more here.

White House's cyber czar is alarmed: Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel called the massive data breach "quite concerning," though he cautioned that it was too early to draw broad conclusions from the Anthem incident. 

... but HealthCare.gov is safe: While Anthem insures millions of people though the federal marketplace, a government spokesman said Thursday that its website appears to be safe.

The rebuttal to GOP's new replacement plan:  Two Democratic senators are mocking the latest Republican plan to replace ObamaCare, arguing it could result in "millions and millions" of people losing insurance.

Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyOvernight Defense: 1,500 troops heading to Mideast to counter Iran | Trump cites Iran tensions to push through Saudi arms sale | Senate confirms Army, Navy chiefs before weeklong recess Senators say Trump using loophole to push through Saudi arms sale Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' MORE (D-Conn.), who spearheads the Senate's "ACA Works" campaign, dismissed the new GOP replacement plan as a "nonstarter" and knocked Republicans for releasing a nine-page outline instead of a full legislative proposal.

"My Republican friends have had five years and they still haven't produced actual legislation," he said. Read more here.

Dem: We don't need a plan for SCOTUS:  One of the top defenders of ObamaCare said Thursday that he doesn't believe his party needs a response to the looming Supreme Court case that threatens to torpedo the law.

"Should we be preparing for an adverse decision from the Supreme Court? I don't think we need to at this point because I just think it would be an unprecedented overreach from the Supreme Court if they decide against the government," Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told reporters Thursday.

The GOP has pressed the Obama administration to show its hand on how it would respond to King v. Burwell, a case that could erase billions of dollars in healthcare subsidies. Read more here

Longtime FDA leader steps down: Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg will step down after nearly six years as one of the Obama administration's top public health officials.

Hamburg oversaw drug approvals, food safety, tobacco control and other health initiatives during a tenure that made her one of the longest-serving FDA chiefs in modern history. Read more here

 

Friday's schedule: 

The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues will meet to discuss the ethics of the Ebola emergency response. 

 

State by state

Arkansas' 1st-in-the nation Medicaid expansion survives

California Gov. Jerry Brown appears open to restricting vaccine waivers

Kentucky officials overstated Medicaid expenses, audit finds

Missouri advances abortion bill that would require video screening 

Groups renew push to expand Medicaid in North Carolina

  

What we're reading

6 of 7 who killed Insure Tennessee are on state health plan

Half-million U.S. women affected by female genital mutilation

IMF grants $100 million debt relief to Ebola-hit countries

Adults are skipping their vaccinations, too – for lots of diseases

UN says secret burials thwarting efforts to stamp out Ebola

 

What you might have missed from The Hill

House Dem wants more people to qualify for ObamaCare subsidies

GOP bill hits ObamaCare risk corridors

Health costs for Alzheimer's to skyrocket

Medicare to cover lung cancer screenings

White House stresses treatment in new $133M fight against drugs

 

Please send tips and comments to Sarah Ferris, sferris@thehill.com, and Elise Viebeck, eviebeck@thehill.com.

Follow on Twitter: @thehill@sarahnferris@eliseviebeck