Today’s headlines – Sept. 27, 2011

In today’s headlines, reports that the Obama administration decided not to ask the full 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to take up a challenge to the health law, making it likely that the Supreme Court could rule on the measure’s constitutionality early next year. Also in the news, part 2 of KHN’s “Building Ambitions” series.

Kaiser Health News: Building Ambitions: The Big Money World Of Kids’ Care – Influential Charity Applies Political Pressure To Win Hospital Approval On Third Try (Part 2 of 3)
Reporting for Kaiser Health News, in collaboration with McClatchy, Gilbert M. Gaul writes: “With strict limits on medical facilities and equipment, Florida seems to set a high bar for building costly new hospitals. … In 2006, regulators twice rejected applications from the Nemours Foundation to build a children’s hospital in Orlando, concluding it wasn’t needed. The area already had two large children’s hospitals, they noted. Adding another could fuel health inflation and hurt quality by cutting into the business at the existing hospitals. But Nemours refused to accept no as an answer” (Gaul, 9/26). KHN also offers regional reports on the business of children’s hospitals in Arizona, ChicagoDenver, OhioPittsburgh and Texas.

And, you can read yesterday’s story, Growing Size And Wealth Of Children’s Hospitals Fueling Questions About Spending, or check back here tomorrow for the final installment.

Los Angeles Times: Supreme Court Could Rule On Healthcare Law Early Next Year
The Obama administration set the stage Monday for the Supreme Court to rule early next year on the constitutionality of the president’s healthcare law by declining to press for a full appeal in a lower court. The Justice Department announced it will forgo an appeal to the full U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Such an appeal to the 11-member court could have taken months and delayed a final decision from the high court until at least 2013 (Savage, 9/26).

For more headlines …

The Washington Post: Decision On Health-Care Law Means Supreme Court Will Likely Determine Constitutionality Next Summer
The Justice Department said Monday evening that it had decided not to ask the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta to take up the case. A three-member panel of the court last month decided 2-1 that Congress overstepped its authority in passing the Affordable Care Act, which requires virtually all Americans to obtain health insurance. Although the department declined further comment, the logical next step for the Obama administration is to ask the justices to make what would be the final determination on the law’s fate. Appeals courts that have considered the question are split (Barnes, 9/26).

The Wall Street Journal: Health Law Path To High Court Clears
The Justice Department on Monday declined to ask a U.S. appeals court in Atlanta to reconsider its August ruling that declared part of last year’s federal health-care overhaul unconstitutional, a move that sets the stage for the Supreme Court to weigh in. Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler confirmed that the agency didn’t ask the Atlanta court for reconsideration. She declined further comment (Kendall, 9/27).

Politico: Health Reform Lawsuit Appears Headed For Supreme Court
The Justice Department is expected to ask the court to overturn an August decision by a panel of three judges in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that found the law’s requirement to buy insurance is unconstitutional. The suit was brought by 26 states, the National Federation of Independent Business, and several individuals. Opponents of the law had expected the government to ask for the so-called en banc hearing to delay a ruling by the Supreme Court (Haberkorn, 9/26).

The New York Times: Full Appeals Court Won’t Be Asked To Rule On Health Care Law
The Justice Department announced on Monday that it would not ask the full Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit to reconsider a three-judge panel’s ruling against the 2010 health care law (Sack, 9/26).

The Associated Press/USA Today: Administration Won’t Appeal Health Care Ruling
The administration’s decision makes it more likely that the U.S. Supreme Court would hear a case on the health care overhaul in the court’s term starting next month, and render its verdict on the law in the midst of the 2012 presidential election campaign. Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler disclosed the administration’s decision. She declined to elaborate on next moves (9/27).

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Perry Ad Spotlights Romney’s Book Edits On Health Care
Presidential candidate Rick Perry offered a sign of things to come in his intensifying battle with rival Mitt Romney. On Monday, Mr. Perry’s campaign released an Internet video that highlights changes to Mr. Romney’s book, “No Apology,” regarding perhaps Mr. Romney’s biggest liability with GOP primary voters: the health care reform law he signed while governor of Massachusetts. In the original version of the book, which came out in 2010, Mr. Romney boasted that, “We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country, and it can be done without letting government take over health care.” The paperback version released a year later reads, “And it was done without the government taking over health care” (Yadron, 9/26).

Politico: The ‘Mini-Med’ Plan Follow-Up
The waivers were supposed to help people who have “mini-med” health plans — bare-bones insurance plans that don’t come anywhere close to providing the amount of coverage the health care reform law requires. The script seemed to be pretty much written: Those plans would end in 2014, and in the meantime, companies would get waivers so people wouldn’t lose their coverage (Millman and Norman, 9/26).

NPR: Retirement: Reality Not As Rosy As Expectations
The survey results suggest the main problems people encounter are money and health. A third of retirees say their finances are worse than before retirement; even more report deteriorating health. Such things may seem predictable. But the survey also polled pre-retirees, age 50 and older, and found they greatly underestimate the chances of either problem (Ludden, 9/27).