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Today’s Headlines – Nov. 10, 2011

Good morning! Here are today’s early morning headlines.

The New York Times: Panel Is At Impasse, But Obama Sees No Reason To Step In
The White House’s expectations for the special Congressional committee on deficit reduction, never high, have been all but dashed now that the panel has reached a partisan impasse less than two weeks before it is supposed to recommend a compromise plan (Calmes, 11/9).

The Washington Post: Debt-Reduction Talks At An Impasse Despite ‘Breakthrough’
With a Thanksgiving deadline less than two weeks away, Senate Republicans declared talks over the debt at an impasse and accused Democrats of walking away after the GOP for the first time offered to raise taxes above current levels to help restrain future borrowing. … Democrats denied the charge and insisted that they were still working toward a compromise. But they said a deal depends on Republicans embracing far larger tax increases than they have so far been willing to accept (Montgomery and Sonmez, 11/9).

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Los Angeles Times: Democrats Offer New Tax Trigger As Means To Overhaul Code
Democrats on the congressional “super committee” have offered Republicans a way around the impasse over tax hikes by proposing that both sides work next year to raise revenue by revamping the tax code — or face $650 billion in forced new tax revenues. … The two sides have largely agreed to a broad outline of spending reductions, including to Medicare and other domestic programs, but Democrats will agree to such cuts only if Republicans compromise by putting new tax revenues on the table (Mascaro, 11/9).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Democrats Secretly Outline Offer To Reduce Deficits By $2 Trillion As Troubled Talks Continue
The previously undisclosed offer scaled back an earlier Democratic demand for $1.3 trillion in higher taxes, a concession to Republicans. At the same time it jettisoned a plan to slow the growth in future cost-of-living increases in Social Security benefits, a provision liberal Democrats oppose. … Given the unusual secrecy of the meeting and the committee’s Nov. 23 deadline to produce at least $1.2 trillion in savings, it appeared that the pace of activity on the panel was accelerating (11/9).

Politico: GOP: ‘Ridiculous’ Benefits For Rich Could Go
In both chambers, lawmakers are considering legislation introduced by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.) to deny unemployment insurance benefits to millionaires. Coburn is also proposing cuts to farm subsidies for the wealthy while other lawmakers are looking to cut direct payments to farmers altogether. The House-passed GOP budget earlier this year would further limit Medicare payments for wealthy senior citizens — and some members are now discussing applying a similar measure to other entitlements (Cogan and Raju, 11/9).

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Seniors Rally In Boston Against Cuts To Social Programs
Chanting “hands off” and “no cuts,” hundreds of seniors rallied here to warn Congress’s deficit-cutting supercommittee to stay away from Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid (Levitz, 11/9).

Politico: Supreme Court Health Care Reform Path Could Be Set Thursday
The nine Supreme Court justices could decide as soon as Thursday whether — and how — to wade into the politically charged legal waters of health reform. The Obama administration has asked the court to jump in, so it appears more than likely the justices will agree to decide whether the health law’s requirement that nearly all Americans obtain insurance is constitutional (Haberkorn, 11/9).

The Wall Street Journal: Wal-Mart To Add Clinics
But under questioning by reporters, the Bentonville, Ark., retailer quickly backpedaled Wednesday, saying it wasn’t planning to dominate the medical market the way it has dominated discount stores. Instead, the company said, it was really talking about expanding the quick-service clinics it already runs at some of its stores, where customers can get basic services such as cholesterol monitoring and pregnancy tests. The “statement of intent is overwritten and incorrect,” John Agwunobi, Wal-Mart’s president of U.S. health and wellness, said in a statement. “We are not building a national, integrated, low-cost primary-care health-care platform” (Bustillo and Martin, 11/10).

Los Angeles Times: Wal-Mart Considers Expanding Healthcare Services At Its Clinics
Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is exploring ways to expand the kinds of healthcare services it offers at dozens of stores across the country, potentially setting the stage to turn the nation’s largest retailer into a major primary care service provider and drive down costs for millions of Americans (Helfand and Hsu, 11/10).

USA Today: Wal-Mart Looks Into Expanding Services At Health Clinics
Wal-Mart issued a “Request for Information” at the end of October seeking partners to help the retailer develop a “low-cost primary care health care platform,” first reported by Kaiser Health News and NPR. In a statement Wednesday, Wal-Mart downplayed suggestions of a nationwide initiative, calling its own plans “to build a national, integrated,” system, “overwritten and incorrect” (Malcolm, 11/9).

The Washington Post: The Fact Checker: A Guide To ‘Mediscare’ Tactics, GOP Version
The mailer certainly looks scary, with bold headlines. “Obama’s Medicare Plan Will Increase Medicare Premiums” says one headline, looking like it was ripped from a real newspaper. But then deeper in the flier it gets more specific — it warns that Obama wants to change the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan with “Medicaid-style price controls.” It declares that the “impact of Obama’s price controls would be devastating. … We have previously decried the “Mediscare” tactics of both parties. As it happens, our colleagues at and back in August looked closely at this flier and found serious problems with it. But we think there is still an opportunity to use this flier as an example of deceptive and misleading advertising (Kessler, 11/9).

NPR: ‘Personhood’ Divides Anti-Abortion Groups
Voters in Mississippi were expected to make it the first state to confer protected legal status to fertilized human eggs Tuesday. Instead, they made it the second state to reject a so-called personhood amendment to its constitution. One possible reason is that the effort divides even those who consider themselves against abortion (Rovner, 11/9).

The New York Times: Ohio Vote On Labor Is Parsed For Omens
But Tuesday’s result contained a twist: The same voters who overwhelmingly rejected the labor bill — by a margin of 61 to 39 percent — voted in even greater numbers in favor of a symbolic measure against President Obama’s health care law. Democrats dismissed it, but State Senator Bill Seitz, a Republican who opposed the repealed law, said it spoke to a deeper disgust among voters with the political class (Tavernise and Greenhouse, 11/9).

Los Angeles Times: After Election Day, Spin War Centers On Ohio Initiatives
One day after Ohio voters resoundingly rejected the state’s new collective bargaining law, Democrats and their allies in organized labor said Republicans have reason to worry about more fallout to come from that party’s overreach. The GOP meanwhile is pointing to results of another initiative on the Ohio ballot, offered by Republicans as a rebuke to President Obama’s healthcare reform, as just as powerful a rejection of Democrats (Memoli, 11/9).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: For Mentally Ill, Massive State Budget Cuts Mean Waiting Lists, Shuttered Programs, Less Care
Modest increases in some states’ mental health budgets have done little to erase massive cuts nationwide over the past three years and a reduction in Medicaid funds, according to a report to be released Thursday by the nation’s largest mental health advocacy group. All told, the Washington-based National Alliance on Mental Illness found, 28 states and the District of Columbia have cut nearly $1.7 billion from their mental health budgets since the 2009 fiscal year (11/10).

The New York Times: Seeking A Cure For Troubled Hospitals In Brooklyn
When the pain in his groin was too great to bear, Ralph Hutchins, who works as a mover, headed to the crowded emergency room at the nearest hospital one recent Tuesday, his life at risk. Tanya Boynton, a mother of four who works 12-hour shifts, hobbled into another emergency room from a homeless shelter, afraid illness would end her job (Berstein, 11/9).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Judge Dismisses Felony Charges Against Planned Parenthood In Kansas Abortion Case
A judge Wednesday dismissed the most serious charges against a Kansas City-area Planned Parenthood clinic accused of falsifying records and failing to follow abortion law after a prosecutor revealed that state officials had destroyed key evidence (11/9).