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Today’s Headlines – January 24, 2012

Good morning! Here are your headline highlights:

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Supreme Court Won’t Hear Arguments Demanding Kagan’s Recusal From Health Care Case
The Supreme Court won’t hear arguments from a conservative watchdog group that wants Justice Elena Kagan disqualified from deciding the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s national health care overhaul (1/23).

Politico: Survey: Uninsured Rose In 2011
The percentage of Americans lacking health insurance coverage rose for the fourth straight year in 2011 to 17.1 percent, a new survey showed Tuesday. The climb has been steady since Gallup began tracking whether adults have health insurance in 2008. Four years ago, only 14.8 percent of adults lacked health insurance (Mak, 1/24).

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Politico: States Waiting On Scotus Could Hamper Exchanges
Uncertainty over the fate of health reform, centered on the Supreme Court case and the presidential election, has led some states to adopt a wait-and-see approach that may make it impossible for them to meet Health and Human Service’s timeline for building their own insurance exchanges. With legislatures convening for their 2012 sessions, more states may adopt the same stance, jeopardizing their shot at exercising full control over their new insurance marketplaces when January 2014 arrives (Norman and Millman, 1/23).

Politico: Independent Payment Advisory Board Exists In Law, Resides In Limbo
Chances are the Republicans — and a not-insignificant number of House Democratic allies — won’t be able to kill the Independent Payment Advisory Board this year. But for another year or two, at least, politicians don’t have to lift a finger to block the Medicare cost-control agency from doing anything. For another year or two, it doesn’t have much to do. Or anyone to do it (Kenen, 1/23).

The Washington Post: Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich Clash Sharply In Republican Presidential Debate
Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich clashed sharply and repeatedly in a Republican presidential debate here Monday night, with the former Massachusetts governor attacking the former House speaker as a failed leader, a K Street influence peddler and a candidate who would put the party at risk in the general election. … Gingrich protested when Romney said the former speaker he had lobbied members of Congress over legislation to add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare (Balz and Helderman, 1/23).

The Wall Street Journal: Romney On The Attack
Mr. Romney said that while he was building the company Bain Capital, serving as Massachusetts governor and managing the 2002 Winter Olympics, Mr. Gingrich was ousted from the House speakership by his fellow Republicans and then built a Washington consulting career. “This is the worst kind of trivial politics,” Mr. Gingrich responded. He challenged Mr. Romney’s own political leadership by saying the GOP lost seats in the Massachusetts legislature when Mr. Romney’s was governor. … Mr. Romney said Mr. Gingrich had lobbied lawmakers to pass the Medicare part D prescription drug program in 2003, a program derided by many conservatives as government expansion but which might prove popular in Florida (Murray, Yadron and Kin, 1/24).

Los Angeles Times: John Boehner Touts Antiabortion Efforts At March For Life
House GOP leaders told antiabortion protesters Monday they would continue efforts to ensure no federal funds are spent on the procedure, singling out Democratic lawmakers who have joined their efforts (Mascaro, 1/23).

The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: NY Hospital Group Offers Answers On Health Reform
A New York-based organization is offering answers to the myriad questions about health care reform. The Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council has launched a public information campaign. The council represents hospitals across Long Island. The council’s Wendy Darwell says the campaign announced Monday will use social media and the council’s web site to offer answers on the Affordable Health Care Act (1/24).

Los Angeles Times: Officials Oppose Extended Federal Oversight Of 2 Mental Hospitals
California officials Monday filed documents in U.S. District Court opposing extended federal oversight of two state mental hospitals, arguing that new leaders have already taken measures to improve patient care and safety (Romney, 2/24).

The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: Art For Health Program Offered At NYC Hospital
Tony-Award winning actor Lin-Manuel Miranda and rapper and radio personality Roxanne Shante helped launch the “Lincoln Art Exchange” at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx on Monday. They were joined by hospital officials and arts organizations including the Actors’ Fund and the Bronx Museum. Organizers said the program addresses the growing number of freelance and independent artists who can’t afford health insurance (1/23).