Today’s Headlines – June 30, 2011

Good Thursday morning! Here’s what we’re reading today:

Today’s headlines include reports about yesterday’s decision from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the health law.

The New York Times: Round 1 In Appeals Of Health Care Overhaul Goes to Obama
The Obama administration prevailed Wednesday in the first appellate review of the 2010 health care law as a three-judge panel from the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that it was constitutional for Congress to require that Americans buy health insurance (Sack, 6/29).

Los Angeles Times: Appeals Court Declares Health Law Constitutional
Notably joining the majority opinion was Judge Jeffrey Sutton, an appointee of President George W. Bush and a former law clerk to conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Sutton is the first Republican appointee on the federal bench to affirm the constitutionality of the so-called individual mandate (Levey and Savage, 6/30).

For more headlines …

The Washington Post: Appeals Court Upholds Health-Care Law’s Individual Mandate
In backing the individual mandate, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati became the first appellate court to rule on President Obama’s signature domestic initiative. The decision also marked the first time a Republican-appointed judge has sided with the administration in evaluating the law’s constitutionality (Markon, 6/29).

The Wall Street Journal: Appeals Court Says Health Law Is Constitutional
A federal appeals court in Cincinnati upheld the 2010 health-care law Wednesday, handing the Obama administration its biggest victory yet as challenges to the president’s signature initiative advance toward the Supreme Court. The decision, from the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, marked the first time a Republican-appointed judge has found the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act constitutional, after federal district courts hearing separate challenges divided along partisan lines (Bravin, 6/30).

The Associated Press: AP Exclusive: Fuzzy Math In Health Law Formula
Older adults of the same age and income with similar medical histories would pay sharply different amounts for private health insurance due to what appears to be an unintended consequence of the new health care law. Aware of the problem, the administration says it is exploring options to address a potential disparity that could mean added controversy for President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. The law expands coverage to more than 30 million uninsured people and would require most Americans to carry insurance (Alonso-Zaldivar, 6/30).

USA Today: Health Care Costs Vary Widely, Study Shows
Patients pay as much as 683% more for the same medical procedures, such as MRIs or CT scans, in the same town, depending on which doctor they choose, according to a new study by a national health care group. That means patients who pay for a percentage of their care, instead of a co-payment, may end up spending hundreds of dollars more for a certain procedure than they would if they chose treatment somewhere else — often within a few minutes’ drive (Kennedy, 6/29).

The New York Times: Panel Advises FDA To Narrow Its Approval For Avastin
A resounding vote by a federal committee of cancer experts on Wednesday makes it more likely the drug Avastin will no longer be readily available as a treatment for breast cancer, dealing a blow to women who think the drug is helping them. In a series of 6-0 votes, an advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration endorsed the agency’s proposal to revoke the approval of the drug for use against advanced breast cancer (Pollack, 6/29).

Los Angeles Times: FDA Advisors Reject Avastin As Breast Cancer Treatment
The recommendation Wednesday came after two days of testimony from patients, doctors and advocacy groups. The panel heard several tearful accounts, like that of Crystal Hanna, a mother of two who will celebrate her 36th birthday Friday (Mai-Duc, 6/30).

The Washington Post: FDA Panel Votes Against Avastin For Breast Cancer Treatment
A Food and Drug Administration panel took a major step Wednesday toward ending use of the best-selling drug Avastin for treating advanced breast cancer in the United States, despite appeals from distraught patients and the company manufacturing the drug. A crucial six-member FDA advisory committee unanimously concluded that the drug was harming women more than it was helping them. FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg must make a final decision, but agency commissioners usually follow advisory panel recommendations (Stein, 6/29).

NPR: Expert Panel Tells FDA To Pull Approval Of Avastin For Breast Cancer
In the end, Genentech failed to persuade a single member of the Food and Drug Administration’s panel of cancer experts that its blockbuster drug Avastin should keep the agency’s seal of approval for treating advanced breast cancer (Knox, 6/29).

The Wall Street Journal: Vote Is Defeat For Roche Cancer Drug
Roche Holding AG’s rare challenge to the Food and Drug Administration over a drug decision fell short as an FDA appeals panel unanimously voted to revoke the accelerated approval of Avastin for breast cancer (Mundy, 6/30).

Los Angeles Times: Rove-Backed GOP Group Belittles Democratic Counterpunch
Hard-hitting and high-priced political ads are airing around the country this week, an early indication that the coming 2012 election campaign will set records for spending and broadcast acrimony. … Majority PAC, a political advocacy organization formed by former Democratic Senate staffers, also launched a radio ad campaign in Missouri this week attacking Republicans for pushing a budget plan it says would “essentially end Medicare.” The Medicare and healthcare debate has so far drawn the most attention in the public-relations wars. …  In coming days, a coalition of seniors organizations and health advocacy group will hold press events in eight states to advertise the free preventive-care benefits provided to seniors under the Affordable Care Act (Hamburger, 6/29).