Today’s Headlines – August 26, 2011

Friday! Getting ready for a hurricane? Here are some stories to distract you:

Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including reports about presidential politics and health reform — most notably, Rick Perry’s assault on Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts record.

The Wall Street Journal: Health Law Puts Governors In Pickle
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, along with a slew of other Republican governors, faces a dilemma: Do they apply for millions of dollars in federal grants by September to begin establishing state-run health insurance exchanges, or let the deadline slide, lose the federal money and risk falling into a federally run exchange? Republican governors are unanimous in their condemnation of President Barack Obama’s health care law. But one by one, many of them are moving forward to build state exchanges, which are intended to help people not covered by large-company plans buy private health insurance at subsidized rates (Weisman, 8/26).

The Hill: Perry: Romney Realizing Massachusetts Healthcare Law Is ‘Huge Problem For Him’
The Massachusetts healthcare law passed by Mitt Romney (R) as governor is a “huge problem,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) said Thursday of his top competitor for the GOP presidential nomination. Perry assailed the state healthcare law for its similarities to President Obama’s nationwide healthcare reform law, which the Texan called a “total debacle” (O’Brien, 8/25).

For more headlines …

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Perry Takes A Swat At Romney’s Health Care Law
It wasn’t quite “Obamneycare,” but Texas Gov. Rick Perry chided former Mitt Romney for the health care overhaul he signed as Massachusetts governor. “I think Mitt is finally recognizing that the Massachusetts healthcare plan that he passed is a huge problem for him, and yeah it was not almost perfect,” Mr. Perry said Thursday on the Laura Ingraham Show, a conservative national radio program (Yadron, 8/25).

Los Angeles Times: Members Of Congress Avoid Town Hall Brawls This Recess
This summer, with approval ratings of Congress as low as 13%, they appear to have learned their lesson. Washington lawmakers are using the political version of crowd control, shying away from wide-open forums and choosing alternative appearances to avoid the attacks that dominated the 2009 healthcare town halls or this year’s outbursts over Republican proposals to restructure Medicare (Mascaro, 8/26).

The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: Feds, 4 States Share In $154M Medicaid Settlement
The federal government, four states and a Florida pharmacy company that blew the whistle on Medicaid fraud will share a $154 million settlement (8/25).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Aging America: Grandparents Stepping Into Help Grandkids As Families Struggle In Bad Economy
America is swiftly becoming a granny state. Less frail and more involved, today’s grandparents are shunning retirement homes and stepping in more than ever to raise grandchildren while young adults struggle in the poor economy (8/26).

The Washington Post: Medication Cost Skyrockets With Unemployment
When I was insured, two prescriptions cost me a total of $60/month.  With no insurance, the out-of-pocket expenses skyrocketed. One prescription costs $96/month while the other costs $575/month (yes, you read that right).  My endocrinologist isn’t a fan of generic drug therapy in my particular case, but she acceded to my request to switch me to generic prescriptions (Dudgeon, 8/25).

The Washington Post: Inova Health Systems Cuts Management Jobs To Reduce Costs
Inova Health System has cut 13 percent of its management jobs to reduce costs, a spokesman for the Northern Virginia company said this week. Inova, which operates five hospitals and is one of the Washington region’s largest health systems, said it cut 117 senior and mid-level jobs across all its hospitals. At the four community hospitals — Fair Oaks, Alexandria, Loudoun and Mount Vernon — the leadership teams were restructured to eliminate the position of chief operating officer (Sun, 8/25).

Los Angeles Times: California Mental Health Executive Wasted Public Funds, Audit Finds
An appointee of  former Gov. Pete Wilson wasted more than $51,000 hobnobbing with celebrities — attending events including the Golden Globe Awards, World Magic Awards and a Julio Iglesias concert — while claiming he was recruiting for an anti-stigma program at the Department of Mental Health, a state audit said Thursday (McGreevy, 8/26).

The Washington Post: Virginia Officials Prepare To Release Draft Abortion Regulations
Virginia health officials are planning to release draft emergency regulations for abortion clinics as soon as Friday that reproductive-health activists say could impose strict physical, staffing and equipment requirements and could force many of the state’s clinics to close (Sun and Kumar, 8/25).