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Overnight Healthcare: Feds defend ObamaCare's affordability

The Obama administration is pointing to a new report to defend the affordability of ObamaCare plans against the frequent criticism that out of pocket costs are too high.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a report Tuesday finding that the median deductible for individual plans on the ObamaCare marketplace is $850.

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Officials touted that finding as a counterweight to anecdotal reports of people who have coverage, but struggle to afford to pay thousands of dollars in a deductible before their insurance kicks in.

Pointing to high deductibles has been a leading Republican line of attack on the law.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) last month said that ObamaCare enrollees are often "left with deductibles and copays so high that they can't actually use the insurance."

The administration points out that about 60 percent of ObamaCare enrollees receive a form of financial assistance called a "cost-sharing reduction" that lowers the out of pocket costs they have to pay. Read more here. http://bit.ly/29BXdqo

It's official: Dems won't block opioid bill despite funding issues

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Tuesday said Democrats would support a deal combating the opioid epidemic and send the legislation to President Obama's desk ahead of Congress's seven-week recess.

Asked whether the caucus would support the House-passed measure, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat told reporters, "yes, [but] making the point that it's unfunded."

Last week, the House overwhelmingly passed the agreement in a 407-5 vote, though Democrats refused to sign off on the conference report.

But both Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and the White House have held off from saying they would oppose the legislation over the funding fight.

Reid on Tuesday called the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act conference report a "start" but also a "missed opportunity." Read more here. http://bit.ly/29FF3aQ

But on the other hand, still little hope for Zika funding

Senators blocked dueling proposals funding a response to the Zika virus for the second time this week with only days left before lawmakers leave for a recess that lasts until September.  

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) tried to bring up the $1.1 billion deal spearheaded by Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell objected.

The Kentucky Republican, in turn, tried to bring up a GOP-supported conference report, but Nelson objected.

"Now here we are in the same old political games," Nelson said from the Senate floor. "If Senator McConnell had a flood or an earthquake in Kentucky, we would all support him with emergency funding to meet that emergency." Read more here. http://bit.ly/29ujiLD

ON TAP TOMORROW

The Senate Finance Committee holds a hearing on implementing the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act at 10 a.m.

The House Appropriations Committee marks up the health spending bill at 10 a.m.

The House Oversight Committee holds a hearing on ObamaCare co-ops at 1 p.m.

WHAT WE'RE READING

Congress expected to leave town with no action on Zika (Associated Press)

NIH's Fauci on Combating Zika: 'You Have to Have the Resources to Act Quickly' (Kaiser Health News)

IN THE STATES

New Jersey tops 50 cases of Zika (NJ.com)

Court says Utah Governor was likely trying to 'punish' Planned Parenthood (Salt Lake Tribune)

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

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