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Today’s Headlines – August 22, 2011

It’s Monday! Good morning! Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including reports that seniors are facing difficult times in their retirement — with issues related to assisted living, housing and health benefits driving concern.

The Associated Press: Perry Wrestles With His Own Health Care Approach
Texas would be among the biggest beneficiaries of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, standing to gain coverage for nearly 4 million uninsured residents. But Gov. Rick Perry blocked moves to lay the groundwork for that expansion of coverage, and among the alternatives he’s supported is an untested regional solution that could prove as controversial as Obama’s remake (Alonso-Zaldivar, 8/22).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Obama Faces Discontent Among Liberal Groups As He Faces Re-Election; Will Base Come Through?
Liberals disappointed with Obama for compromising with the GOP during the debt-ceiling showdown now are calling on him to hold firm against Republicans this fall. They want him to push a bold jobs agenda while drawing a strong line on taxes and protecting Medicare and Social Security. In recent weeks, the gripes have become so loud that the president himself acknowledged them during his Midwest bus tour this week (8/20).

For more headlines …

Politico: Supercommittee May Call For K St. Creativity
Lobby shops and their clients are fast realizing that a full frontal assault on Congress’s budget-slashing supercommittee may not be a fruitful strategy — particularly as some committee members and senior congressional staffers suggest that K Street won’t be terribly welcome at their negotiating table (Levinthal, 8/20).

The Hill: Debt-Ceiling Agreement Providing Little Help To Congressional Appropriators
This year, the House has passed six of 12 bills and moved nine through the Appropriations Committee. The Senate has passed one bill through committee, for military construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Aides say no decisions have been made on how to proceed, but at least one continuing resolution is inevitable. A likely target is a continuing resolution that runs through Thanksgiving. Appropriators are holding out hope that some of the bills can be done and want to spend as much of September as possible trying to pass them before bowing to a continuing resolution (Wasson, 8/21).

The Wall Street Journal: For Many Seniors, There May Be No Retirement
Many older people are finding themselves in a position they never expected to be in at retirement age: still working or in need of a job. … More than three in five U.S. workers in their 50s and 60s plan on working past 65 — and 47% of that group say they’ll do so because they’ll need the money or health benefits, according to a 2011 study from the nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (Ensign, 8/21).

The New York Times: Trade Commission Challenges A Hospital Merger
Obama administration officials have been roaming the country, talking up their vision of a future in which doctors and hospitals team up to provide better care at lower cost. But a starkly different picture is unfolding this summer in a courtroom here, where lawyers from the Federal Trade Commission have been challenging a hospital merger in Toledo, Ohio (Pear, 8/21).

The Wall Street Journal: A Healthy Forecast For Pharma
Severin Schwan thinks the skeptics are wrong. Those who shun the pharmaceutical sector for its lack of prospects don’t understand the potential created by a rapidly growing understanding of genetics and molecular biology, and the new drugs that will follow. “There are people who would argue that all the low-hanging fruits have been harvested and that the pharmaceutical industry is at an end,” Mr. Schwan says (Mijuk, 8/22).

Kaiser Health News also tracked weekend health policy headlines, including hospital news and reports about disability benefits and social security.