Overnight Healthcare: HHS funding bill advances for first time in six years

The House Appropriations Committee approved a spending bill for President Obama's health department on Wednesday that would slash billions of dollars in discretionary funding to the Affordable Care Act.

The provisions would not end ObamaCare's subsidies for buying insurance, but blocks federal employees from enforcing the law. The salaries of those workers are paid through the appropriations bill.


The measure also includes a proposed $1.1 billion increase to the National Institutes of Health and a $140 million increase to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – a priority for many top Republicans on the committee.

The GOP-led committee held strong against one area of NIH funding – gun-violence research. Members voted 32-19 to defeat an amendment from ranking member Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) that would have reversed a nearly 20-year-old ban on CDC funding for gun research. Read more here.   

WALKER: I'M NOT SAVING OBAMACARE: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker issued a threat to the Obama administration on Wednesday that if the Supreme Court rules against healthcare subsidies, states will not take steps to save the law.

"Governors across the country have been clear: If the Supreme Court strikes down the Obama executive overreach, we will not bail out Obama at the expense of the American people," Walker wrote in an op-ed for CNN.com on Wednesday.

The looming court case, which Walker called "a turning point" for the law, could come as early as Thursday. If the administration loses, 6.4 million people could lose their financial aid under ObamaCare because they don't live in the dozen or so states that run their own healthcare exchanges.

Walker has already said that he would not set up a state exchange, even if it means that 200,000 people in his state would no longer receive subsidies -- which he acknowledges is "a big problem." Read more here.  

DOCTOR NETWORKS SHRINKING: The number of doctors available in many healthcare plans is shrinking under ObamaCare, forcing some patients to pay more or switch providers, according to a new report.

Four in 10 healthcare plans sold through the government's marketplace have so few options that their networks are described as "small" or "extra small," according to a report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

A small network means that plans cover fewer than 25 percent of doctors in the area, while extra small covers fewer than 10 percent, according to the group's definition.  Read more here.

Thursday's schedule

A coalition of groups including America's Health Insurance Plans and the American Academy of Actuaries will hold a briefing on 2016 premium rates.

The Supreme Court will announce another round of opinions, which could include King v. Burwell. 

State by state

Feds say hospital funding deal reached 'in principle'

Wisconsin leader: Walker would sign abortion bill without exemptions

Plan advances to overhaul Medicaid in North Carolina

What we're reading

A ruling against Obama would damage, not negate, a healthcare legacy

NIH expands Ebola research into new countries in search for vaccine

FDA reform bill flounders on offset concerns

Conservative groups bracing Republicans for ObamaCare ruling

What you might have missed from The Hill

ObamaCare chief wins GOP raves

Lobbyists mobilize for ObamaCare ruling

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