Today’s Headlines – January 6, 2012

Happy Friday! Here are your headlines to start your morning!

The New York Times: Romney Facing Risks Left And Right
To Democrats, it is a straw-man formulation that twists the facts of Mr. Obama’s record and implies that the president is somehow less than American. The largest entitlement programs — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid — were all enacted before Mr. Obama entered grade school. … To some conservatives, the Romney argument only highlights what they see as a lack of commitment from him to translate his words into specific actions to reverse the growth of government and expand markets and individual liberties (Harwood, 1/5).

The New York Times: After Santorum Left Senate, Familiar Hands Reached Out
In the years before he lost his Pennsylvania Senate seat in 2006, Rick Santorum worked hard to win hundreds of millions of dollars in additional Medicare money for hospitals in Puerto Rico. He sponsored at least two Senate bills and pushed to amend a mammoth Medicare overhaul to include the extra spending, which would have benefited Universal Health Services, a Pennsylvania-based hospital management company with facilities in Puerto Rico. If it seems at odds with the small-government philosophy Mr. Santorum now espouses in his presidential campaign, it was in line with his legislative efforts to help businesses in his state. And some of those businesses were happy to return the favor (McIntire and Luo, 1/5).

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The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Santorum’s Top Goals: $5 Trillion In Cuts, Entitlement Overhaul
Making his way through a crush of reporters and customers, Mr. Santorum also answered several questions on health care. He told one man that one of the principal reasons that health costs are high is because third-parties, not consumers, often deal with medical bills (Levitz, 1/5).

The New York Times: Report Finds Most Errors At Hospitals Go Unreported
Hospital employees recognize and report only one out of seven errors, accidents and other events that harm Medicare patients while they are hospitalized, federal investigators say in a new report (Pear, 1/6).

The Wall Street Journal: California Takes Aim At Budget Gap
The proposal—which typically serves as a template as legislators wrangle over the budget for the following fiscal year—calls for $4.2 billion in cuts to programs such as welfare and in-home supportive services, along with tax measures and other changes that would boost revenue by $4.7 billion (Vara, 1/6).

The New York Times: Massachusetts Health Plan Extended To Immigrants
Massachusetts cannot bar legal immigrants from a state health care program, according to a ruling issued Thursday by the state’s highest court, a decision that edges the state closer to its goal of providing near-universal health care coverage to its residents (Bidgood, 1/5).

The Wall Street Journal: Dendreon Reports Gains For Costly Cancer Drug
Dendreon Corp. reported higher-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue from its Provenge prostate-cancer drug, a rare bit of good news for the innovative but expensive treatment whose growth has slowed in recent months over reimbursement issues (Lamar, 1/6).

USA Today: Workplaces Ban Not Only Smoking, But Smokers Themselves
As bans on smoking sweep the USA, an increasing number of employers — primarily hospitals — are also imposing bans on smokers. They won’t hire applicants whose urine tests positive for nicotine use, whether cigarettes, smokeless tobacco or even patches (Koch, 1/5).