Today’s Headlines – June 22, 2012

Good morning! Happy Friday, here are your headlines:

Los Angeles Times: Obama Campaign Girds For Supreme Court Healthcare Ruling
The game plan likely mirrors the reelection team’s strategy when the high court heard oral arguments on constitutional questions related to the Affordable Care Act in March — highlighting some of the law’s most popular elements to the constituency groups most affected by them (Memoli, 6/21).

The New York Times: Insurers Seek To Soften Their Image, No Matter How Court Rules On Health Act
Over the past year, many of the largest insurance companies in the country, including Aetna, Cigna and Humana, have introduced elaborate marketing campaigns to reposition themselves as consumer-friendly health care companies, not just insurance providers. The insurers have been preparing for the possibility that the court may uphold the most controversial provision in the legislation — the individual mandate that would require people to buy health insurance or face a fine (Vega, 6/21).

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The Wall Street Journal: Abbott Is Challenging Biotech Drug Copies
If the challenge succeeds, less-expensive versions of complex biologic drugs couldn’t go on sale in the U.S. for years, and consumers may never have access to facsimiles of existing treatments such as Abbott’s rheumatoid arthritis therapy Humira, which had $3.4 billion in U.S. sales last year and is projected to be the world’s No. 1-selling drug this year (Rockoff, 6/21).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Checks Not Guaranteed For All Consumers Due Health Insurance Rebates; Employers Get Big Cut
The check may not be in the mail. The Obama administration said in a report Thursday that 12.8 million people will benefit from health insurance rebates averaging $151 per household. But the number of families actually getting a check will be much smaller, experts say (6/21).

Reuters/Chicago Tribune: U.S. Health Insurers To Pay $1.1 Billion In Rebates: HHS
U.S. health insurance companies are due to pay out $1.1 billion in rebates to employers and individuals this summer, under a new industry regulation imposed by President Barack Obama’s health care law, the administration said on Thursday (6/21).

The Wall Street Journal: Health-Insurance Rebates Seen Totaling $1.1 Billion
About 12.8 million people are likely to get refunds as part of a provision in the law requiring companies to spend a set proportion of the money they get from insurance premiums on health care or refund the difference to consumers. The average rebate will be around $151 per household, the administration said (Radnofsky, 6/21).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Boehner Tells Republicans Not To Spike Ball If Court Strikes Down Obama’s Health Care Law
In a memo his office released publicly Thursday, the Ohio Republican says there will be no spiking the ball if the court rules against the law either partially or entirely. He says that’s because he wants the party to focus on the economy as the elections approach (6/21).

Reuters/Chicago Tribune: Boehner To U.S. House On Healthcare Ruling: Don’t Gloat
Boehner fears Republican gloating over a court victory could detract from the party’s emphasis on the struggling economy and the need for job growth, two campaign issues that consistently trump healthcare as voter priorities in national opinion polls (6/21).

The New York Times: Pentagon Gets Attention, But Planned Spending Cuts Range Far And Wide
From cancer research to farm inspectors to grants to cities and states and law enforcement agencies, nearly every sector of government would be affected by the planned $1.2 trillion in cuts, especially in the first year of the nine-year reductions. While many mandatory programs, like Medicare, Social Security and others, are exempt or virtually untouched under the scheduled cuts, known as sequestration, roughly $321 billion would be cut from the “nondefense discretionary” category, which represents scores of government spending areas outside of the military (Steinhauer, 6/21).

Los Angeles Times: Healthcare To Create 5.6 Million New Jobs By 202, Report Says
The healthcare industry will spawn 5.6 million new jobs by 2020 – most of them high-paying – but most unemployed Americans won’t have the expensive schooling necessary to land them. Demand for healthcare is soaring in the U.S., double the rate of the national economy over the next eight years, according to a new report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and Workforce (Hsu, 6/21).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: California Budget Agreement Cuts Welfare, Health Care To Close Huge Deficit
California will close its projected $15.7 billion budget deficit by restructuring the state’s welfare program, streamlining health insurance for low-income children, and reducing child care coverage and college aid, as part of a deal Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic leaders announced Thursday (6/21).

Los Angeles Times: Key Provisions Of The State Budget Agreement
Spending on welfare, child care, home care, Medi-Cal, prisons, courts and state employees would be reduced. For now, education is relatively untouched (6/21).

The New York Times: Hospital Systems’ Merger Talks Collapse As New Suitor, Mount Sinai, Steps In
Merger talks between two of New York City’s biggest hospital systems — NYU Langone Medical Center and Continuum Health Partners — broke down abruptly on Thursday after Continuum got a competing offer, officials said (Hartocollis, 6/21).

Los Angeles Times: L.A. County Clinics Get $7 Million Just Before Healthcare Ruling
On the eve of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that could overturn President Obama’s signature healthcare law, federal officials announced Thursday that nearly $7 million made available by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is being given to a dozen community clinics in Los Angeles County (Lin, 6/22).

Chicago Tribune: Retired State Workers Will Have To Pay For Health Insurance
Gov. Pat Quinn on Thursday approved legislation requiring thousands of retired state employees to chip in on the costs of health care insurance that many of them get for little or nothing (Long, 6/22).