Overnight Healthcare: No Planned Parenthood cuts in GOP funding bill

Republicans have not included any measures related to defunding Planned Parenthood in their most recent offer to Democrats on the spending bill, according to a Democratic aide.

But Republicans argue that they are not abandoning their efforts to eliminate federal funding for the organization, even if it won't be part of this month's funding bill debate. A GOP aide pointed out that a separate bill repealing ObamaCare that is expected to get a vote in the Senate on Thursday does defund Planned Parenthood.

"The fight over Planned Parenthood is focused on the Senate and the reconciliation process," the GOP aide said.  

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That legislation will not become law, however, as President Obama is certain to veto it if it reaches his desk. Republicans do not have the votes to override Obama in the House or Senate.

The issue of defunding Planned Parenthood has faded since the summer, when it was brought to the fore by the release of undercover videos denouncing the group.

Even members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which previously vowed to oppose any spending bill with funding for Planned Parenthood, said Wednesday that they now support a compromise that would allow states to decide whether to defund the group. Read more here.

HEALTHCARE SPENDING TOPS $3 TRILLION: The total cost of healthcare in the U.S. jumped by 5.3 percent last year, marking the largest increase since 2007 as millions of people gained coverage under ObamaCare.

Healthcare spending topped $3 trillion last year, an increase that health officials say was largely driven by the flow of customers into the healthcare law's new marketplaces in 2014.

Medicaid spending alone increased at a rate of 11 percent, nearly twice its growth rate the previous year, as millions of people were added to its rolls. Spending on private health insurance increased 4.4 percent, compared to 1.6 percent before the marketplace was launched.

The rising cost of prescription drugs is also taking a toll: The total spending on prescription drugs increased by 12.2 percent last year.

Still, the Obama administration touted the figures as evidence that the healthcare law is helping to rein in controls.

"Millions of uninsured Americans gained health care coverage in 2014," the agency's acting head, Andy Slavitt, wrote in a statement. "And still, the rate of growth remains below the level in most years prior to the coverage expansion, while out-of-pocket costs grew at the fifth lowest level on record." Read more here.

WHITE HOUSE DELIVERS VETO THREAT ON OBAMACARE BILL: The White House on Wednesday made official President Obama's intention to veto a bill to dismantle ObamaCare, hitting Republicans for "refighting old political battles."

Both sides have long known that Obama would veto a bill to gut his signature domestic achievement, but Republicans have moved forward with the process so that they can at least get the bill to his desk and make him reject it.

They are using the fast-track process, known as reconciliation, which allows a measure to get through the Senate with 51 votes instead of the usual 60, and a vote is expected Thursday.

"Rather than refighting old political battles by once again voting to repeal basic protections that provide security for the middle class, Members of Congress should be working together to grow the economy, strengthen middle‑class families, and create new jobs," the White House said in a statement. Read more here.

ON TAP TOMORROW

The Senate is set to vote on its ObamaCare repeal reconciliation bill, after votes on amendments.

WHAT WE'RE READING:

Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSenate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick Koch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads Romney, Collins, Murkowski won't attend GOP convention MORE: Less than 4 percent of Wisconsin residents on ObamaCare subsidies (Politifact)

John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMcCain's reset: US-Vietnam relations going strong after 25 years Senate outlook slides for GOP Juan Williams: Time for boldness from Biden MORE reluctantly supports ObamaCare repeal bill that guts Medicaid in his state (Huffington Post)

Utah Republican may back Senate bill to undo much of ObamaCare (Bloomberg Politics)

9/11 responders crashed Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell in talks with Mnuchin on next phase of coronavirus relief Pelosi: 'We shouldn't even be thinking' about reopening schools without federal aid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Argentum - All eyes on Florida as daily COVID-19 cases hit 15K MORE's office (Huffington Post)

IN THE STATES:

More women getting breast screenings in states that expanded Medicaid, study finds

HHS: Tennessee will lose $1.77 billion without Medicaid expansion in 2016

Brooklyn pizzeria adds, then quickly removes, 3 percent ObamaCare surcharge

Judge allows Planned Parenthood in Missouri to hold onto abortion license

ICYMI FROM THE HILL:

Abortion groups: Investigate Planned Parenthood shooting as 'domestic terrorism'

GOP lawmaker who banned gun control research has regrets

 

Send tips and comments to Sarah Ferris, sferris@thehill.com, and Peter Sullivan, psullivan@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @thehill@sarahnferris@PeterSullivan4