Today’s Headlines – January 3, 2012

Good morning! We’re back with your early morning headlines! Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including reports that New York seniors are experiencing reduced prescription coverage and more California patients are being added to the health insurance rolls.

The New York Times: New Laws Now Evaluated By Job Creation
After years of judging the merits of federal laws by their costs or savings, Washington is applying a new yardstick: Will they create or destroy jobs? … Health care lobbyists argue that cuts in Medicare and Medicaid take jobs away from nurses and other hospital employees. Tree farmers argue that cutting forest conservation programs will destroy “good-paying rural jobs.” With unemployment stubbornly high, jobs, it seems, can be used to justify anything and everything. But some economists and other critics say that the figures can be misleading as advocates cook up inflated estimates to make their case (Pear, 1/2).

The Washington Post: GOP’s Election Battle Plan: Use Obama’s Own Words Against Him
Republican officials say they will leverage the party’s newly catalogued video library containing every publicly available utterance from Obama since his 2008 campaign. Television and Internet ads will juxtapose specific Obama promises of job gains, homeowner assistance, help for people in poverty, lower health insurance premiums and stricter White House ethics standards against government data and news clippings that paint a different reality (Wallsten, 1/1).

For more headlines …

The Wall Street Journal: A Brief Look Ahead – Health Care On Trial; How The Individual Mandate Might Play At The High Court
Three of four federal appeals courts have rejected challenges, but the high-court outcome is uncertain. Based on prior writings, the four liberal justices seem likely to uphold the act, while only Justice Clarence Thomas appears sure to vote against it. Attention will center on Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose votes may be the toughest to predict (Bravin, 1/3).

Los Angeles Times: California Adds Patients To Health Insurance Rolls
Despite a slow start, California’s push to extend health coverage to those with preexisting medical conditions — a three-year stopgap effort until federal healthcare reform fully kicks in — has enrolled more than 6,000 patients (Gorman, 1/3).

The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: NY Seniors See Reduced Prescription Coverage
A reduction in prescription drug coverage under last year’s state budget cuts means 292,000 New Yorkers will now be paying more at the pharmacy (1/2).

The Washington Post:  Texas Consumer Health Assistance Program To Close After Losing Federal Funding
It was a first for Texas: a state office devoted to consumers struggling to find affordable health insurance coverage. With funds from the federal health reform law, the Texas Consumer Health Assistance Program was launched last January (Kliff, 1/1).

The New York Times: Nowhere To Go, Patients Linger In Hospitals, At A High Cost
Hundreds of patients have been languishing for months or even years in New York City hospitals, despite being well enough to be sent home or to nursing centers for less-expensive care, because they are illegal immigrants or lack sufficient insurance or appropriate housing (Roberts, 1/2).