Morning CheckUp: March 23, 2012

Happy birthday: “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — the health care overhaul law that President Obama championed and Republicans rejected — turns two on Friday. The law is headed to the Supreme Court on Monday, where the Justices begin hearing three days of arguments about the constitutionality of the law.” [NPR]

Health insurance premium hikes called ‘excessive’ by federal regulators: “Health insurance premium hikes in nine states as high as 24 percent are ‘excessive’ and should be blocked, the federal Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday. The agency will have to depend on states to take action, however, because the federal government lacks the authority.” [Huffington Post]

Mitch McConnell to prioritize repeal: “Planning for a GOP takeover, McConnell and other top Republicans have begun shaping an early legislative agenda for 2013 aimed initially at repealing Obama’s health care law. Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who wants to be the No. 2 Senate Republican, said the “most obvious way” to kill the law would be to wait until there’s a GOP Senate and push repeal via a 51-vote, simple majority through the budget reconciliation process. With the economy showing signs of life and the prospect of gas prices coming back to earth, McConnell signaled it may make more sense to focus on health care as a campaign tactic.” [Politico]

Women’s health advocates seize on Etch A Sketch comments: “About 20 demonstrators with the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) gathered outside a hotel where GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney planned fundraising remarks Thursday and used Etch A Sketch toys recently mentioned by the Romney campaign as part of their protest.” [CNN]

Paul Ryan’s health care fantasy: “The Ryan plan does not, in fact, offer a serious vision of health care reform or balanced budgets. Instead, it is a conservative fiscal fantasy, albeit one that would dramatically erode access to medical care for America’s most vulnerable populations.” [Health Affairs]

The history behind the women’s health storm brewing in Texas: “In the battle between state leaders and the Obama administration over Texas’ decision to oust health care providers affiliated with abortion clinics from a five-year-old contraception and cancer-screening program, both sides believe they are the victims.” [NYT]

ACLU may sue over Utah’s new 72-hour abortion waiting period: “Both the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah and Planned Parenthood Association of Utah had asked Herbert to veto HB461, which triples the current waiting period between the initial consultation and the procedure to 72 hours. The organizations are now considering the constitutional concerns raised by law “and what our next course of action might be,” said Marina Lowe, legislative and policy counsel for ACLU Utah. Asked if the parties planned to file a lawsuit to stop the law from taking effect, Lowe said, a legal review is under way. “I can’t commit further than that at this point.” [KSL]