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Today’s Headlines – June 18, 2012

Good Monday morning! Here are your headlines:

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Republicans Have No Plans To Seek Quick Replacement Of Health Care Law After Court Ruling
Congressional Republicans intend to seek quick repeal of any parts of the health care law that survive a widely anticipated Supreme Court ruling, but don’t plan to push replacement measures until after the fall elections or perhaps 2013. Instead, GOP lawmakers cite recent announcements that some insurance companies will retain a few of the law’s higher-profile provisions as evidence that quick legislative action is not essential. Those are steps that officials say Republicans quietly urged in private conversations with the industry (6/18).

The Associated Press/Chicago Tribune: Q &A: Supreme Court’s Decision On Obama’s Health Care Law Unlikely To Be The Last Word
Some are already anticipating the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Barack Obama’s health care law as the “decision of the century.” But the justices are unlikely to have the last word on America’s tangled efforts to address health care woes. The problems of high medical costs, widespread waste, and tens of millions of people without insurance will require Congress and the president to keep looking for answers, whether or not the Affordable Care Act passes the test of constitutionality (Sherman and Alonso-Zaldivar, 6/16).

For more headlines …

Politico: Media Preps For Health Care Ruling
If you thought the Supreme Court’s recent hearings on President Barack Obama’s health care plan drew a lot of media coverage, just wait for the ruling. With the high court set to hand down its opinion on the Affordable Care Act some time before the end of the month, the major television networks and news outlets are standing by on call, ready to dispatch teams of reporters, analysts, and cameras to the courthouse to air special reports on what could be a landmark decision with major implications for the presidential contest (Byers, 6/18).

Politico: Bloggers Fret Over SCOTUS, Kennedy
Many anxious conservative activists gathered at the annual RightOnline bloggers conference this weekend expressed fear that the Supreme Court is going to uphold President Barack Obama’s health care plan – and some worried that Justice Anthony Kennedy will provide the swing vote to do so (Mak, 6/17).

The Wall Street Journal: Romney Embraces Hill GOP
The moves by Mr. Romney defy fears among some conservatives that he would tack to the center after clinching enough delegates for the Republican presidential nomination. Instead, Mr. Romney is identifying himself with Mr. Ryan’s plans to rein in the size and scope of government—and he appears to be shrugging off the political risks of embracing its measures to curb the growth of Medicare and other safety-net programs (Hook, 6/17).

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker: Does Romney’s Assessment Of The Economic Impact Of Obama’s Health-Care Law Hold Up? then weighed in when Romney had tweaked the language somewhat, but it also found it wanting, saying it was “a pure partisan fantasy” and “patently false and misleading.” With such harsh reviews, one would think that Romney might drop the assertion from his speeches. But now, a new iteration has appeared, so we will examine it (Kessler, 6/16).

Politico: HHS Insurance Official Exits Over Personal Issue
From the outside, the timing of the announcement that Department of Health and Human Services’ top insurance regulator is leaving for a job with UnitedHealthcare couldn’t have looked any worse. But health care experts from both parties who know the department’s inner workings are convinced that concerns about education, not health care, prompted the departure of Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight Director Steve Larsen (Feder, 6/17).

Chicago Tribune: AMA Wants Higher Medicare Payments
Days before the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the biggest overhaul of federal health care law in five decades, the nation’s most powerful group of physicians said Saturday it may push for major changes — should the reforms land again in the hands of Congress (Frost, 6/17).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: What’s Behind Easing Health Care Costs? Some Say Economic Woes; Others See Long-Term Change
Health care spending has eased up recently, a welcome respite for government and corporate budgets. But why has it? And will relief last or are medical costs on a roller coaster, like gas prices? One explanation for the slowdown says it’s a temporary consequence of the recession and an economy that can’t seem to hit its stride. A more hopeful view says American medicine is moving from disjointed solo practice to teamwork models aimed at keeping patients healthier, and that’s a permanent change (6/18).

Chicago Tribune: Contraceptive Mandate Stirs Local Catholics
The Archdiocese of Chicago has not yet joined 43 other Roman Catholic institutions in suing the federal government over a mandate to pay for birth control, but local Catholic leaders are urging parishioners to speak out against what they view as a threat to religious freedom (Brachear, 6/17).

Los Angeles Times: Ex-Consultant To California Mental Hospitals Criticized Elsewhere
A consultant who led the troubled effort to overhaul California’s public psychiatric hospitals has played a lead role in federal reforms in at least five other states, where critics have raised similar concerns about cronyism and the quality of his work (Romney and Hoeffel, 6/17).

The New York Times: Deal In Albany On Policing Abuse Of Disabled
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders reached a deal Sunday night to create a new state agency to police abuse and neglect of more than one million New Yorkers with developmental disabilities, mental illnesses and other conditions that put them at risk, state officials said Sunday (Hakim, 6/17).

Los Angeles Times: Specifics Of California’s Budget Cuts
Spending on welfare, child care and home care for the elderly and disabled would be reduced but not by as much as Brown wanted. CalWORKs, the state welfare program, is facing the biggest hit at $428 million. … Cuts to state-supported child care would total $240 million. In-Home Supportive Services, which allow some elderly residents to avoid being moved into nursing homes, would be reduced by about $90 million. The cut means 3.6% fewer hours of care for beneficiaries (6/16).

Los Angeles Times: Idaho Woman’s Case Marks A Key Abortion Challenge
The case also marks the most significant constitutional legal challenge so far to so-called “fetal pain” statutes, adopted by Idaho and at least five other states. Such laws significantly shorten the window of time in which a woman can legally abort a fetus — in the case of Idaho, to 19 weeks (Murphy, 6/16).