First Edition: September 19, 2012
Today's headlines include a series of reports detailing who makes up Romney's so-called "47 percent" who get tax breaks and what federal assistance they receive -- whether it is Medicare, Medicaid or another entitlement program.
Kaiser Health News: Medicare Battle Heats Up California House Race
Kaiser Health News staff writer Sarah Varney, working in collaboration with Politico, reports: "When Republican Rep. Dan Lungren faced a crowd of tea party supporters and Democratic detractors at a recent town hall meeting here, the arguments showed how explosive the Medicare debate can get in the hottest races in the country" (Varney, 9/18). Read the story and watch a related video about a Pennsylvania House race.
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Joint Commission Praises 620 Hospitals For Quality; Family Physicians Reject Suggestions To Have Nurses Lead Practices; Unchecked Rise In Obesity Will Be Costly To States, Report Says
Now on Kaiser Health News' blog, Jordan Rau reports on a list released by the Joint Commission: "The Joint Commission, the nation’s major hospital accreditation board, is releasing its annual list of hospitals that have excelled at adhering to basic procedures for treating common illnesses such as heart attacks and strokes" (Rau, 9/19).
Also on Capsules, Ankita Rao reports on a report released Tuesday by the American Academy of Family Physicians: "With a shortage of primary care providers looming, the idea of using nurses and physician assistants to fill the gap often appears to be gaining traction. But according to a report released Tuesday by the American Academy of Family Physicians, having more nurse practitioner-led medical practices is not a viable solution" (Rao, 9/18).
In addition, Rao reports on a new analysis of obesity trends: "A new report analyzing obesity trends warns that health care costs will increase alongside U.S. waistlines if current rates are left unchecked. It calls for mobilizing public health efforts and expanding funding to help adults and children become leaner" (Rao, 9/18). Check out what else is on the blog.
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Analysis: Romney Describes Government's Role As Dramatically More Limited Than Obama's View
Republican Mitt Romney, in describing nearly half of Americans as being docile dependents of the state, and saying it's a "foreign concept" for government to redistribute income, is outlining a philosophy that's not only sharply at odds with President Barack Obama's views. It's also difficult to square with the facts of how Social Security, Medicare, the tax code and scores of other institutions work. Romney's claim that 47 percent of Americans won't take "personal responsibility" … instantly crystallized his philosophical differences with Obama when the remarks came to light Monday (9/18).
The New York Times: Romney Says Remarks On Voters Help Clarify Position
Mr. Romney, who on Monday called the remarks inelegant, suggested on Tuesday that it was time for a full debate about dependency, entitlements and what his campaign characterized as a long history of Mr. Obama's support for "redistributionist" policies. But despite the effort by Mr. Romney to take the offensive, his campaign spent the day working to keep the episode from becoming a turning point in a campaign that until now has remained neck and neck, and trying to minimize the damage from the disclosure of another set of remarks from the fund-raiser, in which he suggested that a two-state solution for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians — longstanding United States policy — was not feasible (Rutenberg and Parker, 9/18).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Romney's 47 Percent: His Math Is Correct, But Much Federal Aid Goes To The Middle Class, Too
While it's true most of those nonpayers are poor, the numbers include many others who got tax breaks because they are old, have children in college or didn't owe taxes on interest from state and local bonds. And of those who didn't write checks to the IRS, 6 in 10 still paid Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes, and more than that paid federal excise taxes on items such as gasoline, alcohol and cigarettes, said Roberton Williams, who analyzes taxes at the center (9/18).
The Wall Street Journal: Raw Data Support – And Undercut – Romney Take On Who Gets Benefits
Federal benefits include those going to low-income Americans, such as food stamps and Medicaid, the health-care program for the poor. Other benefits from programs such as Medicare and Social Security flow to older Americans who, in most cases, paid taxes for decades before they qualified (Paletta and McKinnon, 9/18).
The Wall Street Journal: Health-Law Limits Cloud Democrats' Push For Hispanic Vote
The Department of Health and Human Services issued rules last month that said the young people wouldn't be allowed to shop for insurance policies through newly established health exchanges or receive federal subsidies toward the cost of premiums starting in 2014. They are also not eligible to enroll in the federal-state Medicaid program for low-income Americans, the department has said. The rules were first reported by the New York Times on Tuesday (Radnofsky, 9/18).
The New York Times: Wisconsin Offers Window Into Challenges Confronting Romney
Rob Jankowski, an independent voter who supported Mr. Obama four years ago but has been disappointed by his economic leadership and disapproves of his health care plan, is among the 3 percent of voters in the survey who say they are still undecided. He said he did not feel loyalty to Mr. Obama simply because he supported him last time, but he said Mr. Romney had not made his case. … The New York Times, in collaboration with Quinnipiac and CBS News, is tracking the presidential race with recurring polls in six states (Zeleny and Connelly, 9/19).
The Washington Post: Obama Up 8 Points Over Romney In Virginia
With just seven weeks of campaigning left before the November election, President Obama holds a clear lead over Mitt Romney in Virginia, buoyed by growing optimism about the state of the country and fueled by a big gender gap working in his favor, according to a new Washington Post poll (Vozzella, Balz and Cohen, 9/18).
The New York Times: Christie's Budget Faulted As Fiscal Outlook Is Called Weak
The ratings agency said it lowered its outlook because it believed the governor’s revenue projections for the current fiscal year were overly optimistic, warning that the budget was structurally unsound. In particular, the agency took note of the administration’s reliance on one-time transfers of money to fill gaps in the state's $32 billion budget. At the same time, it noted that the state will have to spend more in the coming years to meet pension and Medicaid obligations (Zernike, 9/18).
Los Angeles Times: Brown Signs Bill Revamping Workers' Compensation Insurance
Approved by the Legislature on the last night of the legislative session, the package would boost payments to permanently disabled victims of on-the-job accidents by about $740 million a year and hand employers a major break on workers' compensation insurance premiums (Castellanos, 9/19).
Politico: Study: Obesity Rate To Jump By 50% By 2030
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America's Health released a new report Tuesday projecting America's obesity rates through 2030. If current obesity rates continue, every state could have an obesity rate above 44 percent by 2030, and most states could have rates higher than 50 percent, the report found (Smith, 9/19).
Los Angeles Times: More Than 45% Of Californians May Be Obese By 2030, Report Says
If you think America is fat now, just wait 20 years. So says a state-by-state projection of the nation's future obesity rates that has arrived at some terrifying results: By 2030, every state in the nation may well have obesity rates above 44%, with most having rates above 50% (Bardin, 9/18).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Wisconsin Attorney General Appeals Union Law Ruling, Asks Judge For Stay
Wisconsin’s attorney general on Tuesday appealed a court ruling repealing major parts of Gov. Scott Walker’s law effectively ending collective bargaining for most public workers. … The law as passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2011 applied to all public employees except police, firefighters, local transit workers and emergency medical service employees. It limits collective bargaining on wage increases to the rate of inflation. Other issues, such as workplace safety, vacation and health benefits, were excluded from collective bargaining (9/18).
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