Today’s Headlines – November 28, 2011

Good morning! Welcome back from your Thanksgiving break! Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including reports about President Barack Obama’s pick to succeed Donald Berwick as chief of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as well as news about the Supreme Court’s consideration of the health law and more on the nation’s budget.

The Washington Post: Health-Care Case Brings Fight Over Which Supreme Court Justices Should Decide It
Just a little more than an hour after some House Democrats recently demanded an inquiry into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s ethics, Senate Republicans stepped up the pressure on Justice Elena Kagan to take herself out of the court’s decision on the health-care reform act (Barnes, 11/27).

Los Angeles Times: Decade-Old Tax Breaks Continue To Loom Over Budget
The battle over the Bush-era breaks will determine what happens to almost every part of the federal budget, including the spending cuts that are now mandated as a result of the “super committee’s” failure and the long-term outlook for Medicare and other entitlement programs (Mascaro, 11/27).

For more headlines …

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Back On The Brink: Doctors Again Face Steep Medicare Cuts Unless Congress Acts Before Jan. 1
It’s become a symbol of sorts for the federal government’s budget dysfunction: Unless Congress acts before Jan. 1, doctors will again face steep Medicare cuts that threaten to undermine health care for millions of seniors and disabled people. This time it’s a 27.4 percent cut (11/28).

The Washington Post: Nominee To Head Medicare Viewed As A Pragmatist
It is unclear what reception she will get in confirmation hearings. Republicans have reacted cautiously to her nomination. “This is a name that should be sent up to the Senate,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), a vocal Berwick critic, said in an interview. “She should appear and answer our questions on her views on Medicare, Medi¬caid and the president’s health-care law. Then people can make a reasoned judgment” (Kliff, 11/27).

Los Angeles Times: Taking Healthcare To Students
In California, there are 183 school health centers, up from 121 in 2004. Twelve more are expected to open by next summer, according to the California School Health Centers Assn. The centers have become a small but important part of the nation’s healthcare safety net, experts say, treating low-income patients who might otherwise not have regular medical care. Now, they add, campus clinics are serving as a model for health officials trying to reduce costs (Gorman, 11/28).

Los Angeles Times: Consumer Advocate Harvey Rosenfield Takes On Health Insurers
Harvey Rosenfield, the combative attorney and consumer advocate who wrote California’s landmark Proposition 103 more than two decades ago, is preparing a ballot initiative that would force health insurers to get state government approval before they could raise premiums (Lifsher, 11/26).

The Washington Post: New Jersey Nurses Charge Religious Discrimination Over Hospital Abortion Policy
In a lawsuit filed in federal court Oct. 31, 12 nurses charge that the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey violated state and federal laws by abruptly announcing in September that nurses would have to help with abortion patients before and after the procedure, reversing a long-standing policy exempting employees who refuse based on religious or moral objections (Stein, 11/27).

Los Angeles Times: Push For Hospitals To Buy New Defibrillators Criticized
Hospitals around the country have been spending millions of dollars to buy automated defibrillators to save the lives of more patients who go into sudden cardiac arrest. The purchases were spurred by a 2000 recommendation from an American Heart Assn. committee that said the equipment would bring patients speedier emergency medical help (Fowler, 11/28).