Today’s Headlines – Oct. 12, 2011

Good morning! Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including reports detailing how GOP rivals targeted Mitt Romney during last night’s presidential debate, and how Romney defended his health plan.

Los Angeles Times: GOP Rivals Target Mitt Romney At Debate
Targeted by a Republican field trying to blunt his renewed surge to the front of the presidential pack, Mitt Romney found himself under fire at a GOP debate for his economic record, his jobs plan and the healthcare mandate he approved as governor of Massachusetts. The attention underscored Romney’s heightened status after weeks in which rival Rick Perry, governor of Texas, suddenly surpassed him, and then almost as swiftly fell under the weight of middling debate performances (Reston, 10/11).

Los Angeles Times: Romney Defends Healthcare Plan, Challenges Perry On Uninsured
Given the opportunity to pose a question to his chief rival, Rick Perry went for the obvious topic: healthcare reform. Mitt Romney said he was “proud of the fact that we took on a major problem” in Massachusetts. And he conspicuously quoted his newest supporter, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, in making the case that his overhaul was not the same as “Obamacare” (Memoli, 10/11).

For more headlines …

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Okla. U.S. Sen. Coburn Undergoes Surgery For Early-Stage Prostate Cancer, Full Recovery Expected
U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn is expected to make a full recovery after undergoing surgery for prostate cancer in Tulsa, a spokesman for the Oklahoma lawmaker said Tuesday. The Republican’s cancer was detected in an early stage and he underwent surgery Monday, spokesman John Hart said (10/11).

Politico: Medicaid Waiver Entangled In Safety Net In Massachusetts
The extension of the Medicaid waiver that allows Massachusetts to operate its landmark health care reform has hit a roadblock over funding for “safety net” providers, who are facing a growing demand for care even though the state’s coverage expansion was supposed to limit their burden of caring for the poor (Millman, 10/11).

The New York Times: In Seeking Rate Increases In New York, Health Insurers Fight To Keep Secrets
Major health insurance companies seeking steep premium increases in New York have submitted memos to state officials to justify the higher rates. Now they are fighting to keep the memos from the public, saying they include trade secrets that competitors could use against them (Bernstein, 10/11).

The Wall Street Journal: N.Y. Medicaid Rolls Reach 5 Million
For New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state policy makers, it’s a milestone that comes with mixed blessings: five million New Yorkers on Medicaid. If New York hasn’t already eclipsed the mark this month, it’s nearly certain that the Medicaid program will get its five-millionth New Yorker this year, experts said. In August, there were 4,963,000 people enrolled in the government program for the poor and disabled (Gershman, 10/12).

Los Angeles Times: Free Clinic Plagued By Red Tape
After more than 6,600 people overwhelmed volunteers at a free mobile health clinic in Los Angeles last year, California legislators passed a law making it easier for out-of-state medical personnel to assist with future events. But just over a week before the massive clinic returns, the state has failed to adopt regulations needed for the additional volunteers to participate. As a result, only medical personnel licensed in California will be able to treat patients and some people could be turned away (Gorman, 10/12).

The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: Pink Ploy? Breast Cancer Charity Motives Doubted
The country is awash in pink for breast cancer awareness month — and some women are sick of it. While no one is questioning the need to fight the deadly disease, some breast cancer advocates are starting to ask whether one of the most successful charity campaigns in recent history has lost its focus (10/11).