Today’s Headlines – Oct. 10, 2011

Politico: Health Care Reform’s Fate To Be Determined By 2012
The supporters aren’t panicking — but they’re paying attention. “The prospects of the Affordable Care Act hinge totally on the 2012 elections,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of the health care consumer group Families USA. “If President Obama is reelected — and I’m fairly confident he will be, but that’s for others to judge — then the Affordable Care Act is going to move forward, pure and simple” (Nather, 10/8).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Deficit ‘Supercommittee’ Struggles Over Revenues And Familiar Partisan Impasse As Clock Ticks
While the panel members themselves aren’t doing much talking, other lawmakers, aides and lobbyists closely tracking the committee are increasingly skeptical, even pessimistic, that the panel will be able to meet its assigned goal of at least $1.2 trillion in deficit savings over the next 10 years. The reason? A familiar deadlock over taxes and cuts to major programs like Medicare and the Medicaid health care program for the poor and disabled (10/9).

USA Today: Fearing Budget Cuts, Interest Groups Take Lobbying Local
As interest groups scramble to protect their cherished programs, many are taking their lobbying local, turning to business leaders or community activists such as Burnett to plead their cases with home-state lawmakers who sit on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction or others in Congress they hope will influence their deliberations (Schouten, 10/9).

For more headlines …

USA Today: Many Lobbyists Used To Work For Lawmakers On Deficit Panel
Sixty-six former aides to lawmakers serving on a congressional panel charged with finding ways to slash the federal deficit have represented powerful defense and health care industries that face colossal cuts in government spending, a new analysis shows (Schouten, 10/10).

The Washington Post: Working: U.S. And Local Governments Crack Down On Employers Who Pay Workers As Contractors
The federal government as well as states, including Maryland, are cracking down on employers who treat what should be workers as contractors. Governments are losing millions of dollars in payroll tax and other revenue and workers are losing benefits, including Social Security, health care and unemployment insurance (Elmer, 10/9).

The Washington Post: A Key Bloc Of GOP Voters Agrees Only On Disliking Mitt Romney
The anti-Romney activists, many of whom identify with the tea party movement, say they are hesitant about Romney because they simply do not trust his conservative credentials, recalling his past support of abortion rights and a health-care mandate (Bacon, 10/9).

Los Angeles Times: Tighter Scrutiny For Outpatient Surgery Centers
Outpatient surgery centers in California that perform Lap-Band operations and other procedures will face new scrutiny under a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. The legislation requires private accrediting firms to inspect outpatient centers at least once every three years and allows for surprise inspections to ensure the centers meet safety standards for such things as cleanliness and proper use of medication (Pfeifer, 10/10).

The Wall Street Journal: Taking Double Cut, Surgeons Implant Their Own Devices
Critics of such arrangements say they give surgeons an incentive to do more operations, and that the conflict of interest has led to a spate of unnecessary back surgeries that waste health-care dollars and often do patients more harm than good. “Patients are having huge operations that are un-indicated because of this,” says Scott Lederhaus, a neurosurgeon in Pomona, Calif., and member of the Association for Medical Ethics, an organization of doctors that focuses on conflicts of interest (Carreyrou and McGinty, 10/8).

Los Angeles Times: L.A. County Expands No-Cost Healthcare
In one of the largest expansions of health coverage to the uninsured, Los Angeles County is enrolling hundreds of thousands of residents in a publicly funded treatment program and setting the stage for the national healthcare overhaul (Gorman, 10/9).