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Today’s Headlines – Sept. 18, 2012

The New York Times: Limits Placed On Immigrants In Health Care Law
The White House has ruled that young immigrants who will be allowed to stay in the United States as part of a new federal policy will not be eligible for health insurance coverage under President Obama’s health care overhaul. The decision — disclosed last month, to little notice — has infuriated many advocates for Hispanic Americans and immigrants. They say the restrictions are at odds with Mr. Obama’s recent praise of the young immigrants (Pear, 9/17).

The Wall Street Journal: States Seek A Middle Ground On Medicaid
A handful of states are considering only partially expanding their Medicaid programs under the federal health-care overhaul—a new twist on how states are interpreting the Supreme Court’s ruling on the law. Indiana, New Mexico and Wisconsin are among the states asking the federal government to let them omit from the Medicaid expansion residents whose incomes put them just above the poverty level. The states hope to take advantage of provisions in the Affordable Care Act that offer a federal subsidy to help these residents buy private insurance, starting in 2014 (Radnofsky and Weaver, 9/18).

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Politico: Elana Kagan Had Planned To Sit Out Health Care Reform Talks, Toobin Book Says
Elena Kagan deliberately stayed away from legal strategy meetings on health care reform in early 2010 — a critical decision as solicitor general that allowed her to participate in the health care ruling when she joined the Supreme Court later that year, according to Jeffrey Toobin’s new book on the court to be released Tuesday. The revelation in Toobin’s book — “The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court” — sheds new light on why Kagan did not recuse herself from the case (Nather, 9/18).

The New York Times: Widow Takes On Congressman Who Ousted Her Husband
Ms. Adler and her Democratic allies have pounded away at Mr. Runyan for supporting a House Republican budget proposal that would overhaul Medicare, the health care program for older Americans. The Democratic attacks, which claim that the Republican budget would gut Medicare, have grown more persistent since the architect of that budget, Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, was chosen as Mitt Romney’s running mate. Mr. Runyan has argued that Ms. Adler and her Democratic allies are not only distorting the issue but are actually the ones who would endanger Medicare. He points out that the Ryan plan makes long-term changes that prevent the program from going broke. He also notes that the proposed changes would not affect Americans who are 55 or older (Hernandez, 9/17).

The Wall Street Journal: GE Feels Its Own Cuts
General Electric Co.’s GE -0.27%$18 billion health-care business is being forced to navigate a slowdown in medical imaging—one that in some ways has been aggravated by GE itself. GE put its 85,000 U.S. white-collar workers on a high-deductible health plan in an effort to stem the growth of its U.S. health bills, which are now running $2.5 billion a year. In the first two years after the plan went into effect, use of advanced imaging including MRIs and CT scans has dropped by as much as a quarter, as covered employees’ overall use of health services fell, according to the company (Linebaugh, 9/17).

USA Today: Study: Military Needs To Better Address Substance Abuse By Troops
The Pentagon must acknowledge a “public health crisis” in the growing abuse of alcohol and prescription drugs by troops and show stronger leadership in dealing with it, according to a report by a blue ribbon committee released Monday (Zoroya, 9/17).

Los Angeles Times: Filipino Nurses Win Language Discrimination Settlement
A group of Filipino nurses who claimed they were mocked for their accents and ordered to speak “English only” won a nearly $1-million settlement against a Central California hospital where bosses and co-workers were allegedly urged to eavesdrop on the immigrant workers. The $975,000 settlement, announced Monday by lawyers from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, is believed to be the largest language discrimination settlement in the U.S. healthcare industry, according to the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (Do, 9/18).

Los Angeles Times: New York’s Soda Limits Could Boost Similar Efforts In California
California health advocates hope their state will see some movement on limiting sugar-laced soda following action last week to cap serving sizes for sugary drinks in New York City (McGreevy, 9/17).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Confusion In Wake Of Court Ruling Overturning Wisconsin Union Law
Wisconsin school and government employee unions on Monday were considering whether to seek new contract talks after a state court threw out a controversial law that restricts public workers’ collective bargaining rights. … The law limits bargaining on wage increases to the rate of inflation. Other issues, such as workplace safety, vacation and health benefits, were excluded from collective bargaining (9/17).