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Today’s Headlines – Oct. 19, 2012

Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including reports about how Medicare and women’s health issues are playing in a number of House and Senate races.

The Wall Street Journal: Candidates Flock To Florida, Coveting Electoral Votes
Polls show Mr. Romney doing well among some key groups. In a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist Poll, he led by large margins among men, whites and Cuban-Americans, and by a narrower one among independents. Mr. Romney also led by nine percentage points among likely voters age 60 and older. That lead is notable, given his controversial proposal to overhaul Medicare for future retirees (Campo-Flores, 10/18).

The New York Times: Democrats Use Health Law To Assail Republicans
A little-noticed provision of the new health care law is causing big headaches for some members of Congress in this year’s elections. And it is likely to cause even bigger headaches for lawmakers next year (Pear, 10/18).

For more headlines …

Los Angeles Times: Democrats Have A Shot At Key House Seats In Inland Empire Region
The most coveted demographic in the district is residents 55 and older — about half the voter pool. That has made Medicare a focus of the campaign (Willon, 10/19).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: In Conn. Senate Race, McMahon Says She Offers No Specifics On Some Issues To Avoid Criticism
Republican candidate Linda McMahon says she hasn’t offered specifics throughout Connecticut’s Senate race for changing Social Security and Medicare because she would be “demagogued” for her ideas. Senior citizens issues have been a key point of contention in the close race to fill the seat being vacated by the retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent. McMahon and Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy are running to replace him (10/18).

The New York Times: Women’s Issues At Fore In Final Debate For Connecticut Senate Seat
Mr. Murphy, a Democratic three-term congressman, tried repeatedly to put Ms. McMahon, the Republican, on the defensive on issues concerning women. He noted his strong support from women’s organizations, Ms. McMahon’s opposition to requiring that employer-provided health insurance cover contraceptive services, and the national Republican support for overturning Roe v. Wade. And Mr. Murphy, 39, tried to link her election to the possibility that Ms. McMahon, 64, could become the 51st Senate vote for a Republican agenda antithetical to the values of Connecticut voters (Applebome, 10/18).

Politico: McMahon And Murphy Spar Over Abortion
Abortion and access to birth control took center stage in the fourth and final Connecticut Senate debate between former WWE CEO Linda McMahon and Rep. Chris Murphy. While both candidates said they strongly support abortion rights, Murphy is endorsed by Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America.  The Democrat worked to portray McMahon as anti-abortion, saying her election could lead to the nomination of a Supreme Court judge who would help overturn Roe. V. Wade (Nocera, 10/18).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: McCaskill Casts Akin As Extreme While He Links Her To Obama Policies In Missouri Senate Debate
McCaskill, who is seeking a second term, asserted Akin has an “extreme record” on women’s issues, education, Medicare and Social Security, among other things. It’s “moderate versus extreme. I think there’s a very big choice for Missourians to make,” she said (10/18).

The New York Times: GOP Congresswoman In Fight To Retain A Hudson Valley Seat
To Sean Patrick Maloney, Representative Nan Hayworth is a Tea Party extremist who callously votes to slash health care for women and the elderly while protecting the wealthy. … This fall features many bitter fights for House seats in New York State. But the contest for the 18th District is among the most intense, featuring tart-toned television advertisements, drawing millions of dollars from across the country and attracting luminaries like former President Bill Clinton, who was a guest at a fund-raiser for Mr. Maloney hosted by Diana L. Taylor, the girlfriend of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (Hernandez, 10/18).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Michele Bachmann Seems Likely To Win But Other House Tea Party Icons Face Re-Election Hurdles
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann’s tendency to cause a ruckus on Capitol Hill made her a tea party sensation. … Three other high-profile House conservatives, facing opponents insisting that their views are too extreme, have trickier paths to re-election next month. … Bachmann abandoned a short-lived run for the GOP presidential nomination last winter. She has stirred tea party voters by her opposition to Obama’s health care law, resisting an increase in the federal borrowing limit and frowning on spending deals struck by her own party (10/18).

The Wall Street Journal: The Long Battle To Rethink Mental Illness In Children
Holed up in windowless hotel conference rooms near Washington, D.C., scientists have been busy rewriting the bible of American mental illness. It is the first revision of the nearly 1,000-page tome in 15 years, and one of the top priorities of the insular conclave is to rethink some children’s disorders, particularly bipolar disorder. The fear is that too many treatable children are slipping between the cracks, either because of misdiagnosis or—more controversially—because they suffer from a disease that hasn’t even been defined yet (Wang, 10/18).

The Washington Post: Critics Charge That Drug-Compounding Pharmacies Require Government Oversight
Only 162 compounding pharmacies, or about 2 percent of the 7,500 total, have been accredited. New England Compounding Center, which made the tainted steroid injections linked to the recent fungal meningitis outbreak was not accredited. The death toll from that outbreak rose Thursday to 20 (Kliff and Sun, 10/18).

The Wall Street Journal: More Meningitis Cases Expected
As federal officials continued their investigation into the deadly meningitis outbreak, health authorities warned the illness could take longer than they had thought to show up in patients, and indicated more cases could be reported before the outbreak abates (Winslow, 10/18).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: A State-By-State Look At The Medicaid Expansion Part Of Obama’s Health Care Law
President Barack Obama’s health care law would expand the number of people on Medicaid by raising the income ceiling for eligibility, but some states aren’t so sure they want to participate because they are worried they might not be able to ultimately put up their share of funding (10/18).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Va Health Commissioner Resigns Over State’s Controversial New Abortion Clinic Regulations
Virginia Health Commissioner Karen Remley resigned Thursday over new GOP-backed regulations that could shutter most Virginia abortion providers as reproductive rights take center stage in pivotal Senate and presidential races (10/18).

Politico: Va. Health Chief Resigns
Virginia’s health commissioner Karen Remley resigned Thursday over strict new state regulations on abortion clinics. “As you know, over the past year VDH has been developing and implementing regulations of all abortion facilities in Virginia. I have worked to guarantee the process of survey and licensure would be fairly and thoughtfully applied across the Commonwealth,” Remley wrote in a letter to colleagues (Smith, 10/18).

Los Angeles Times: SAG-AFTRA Offers New Health Mart Service For Actors And Agents
SAG-AFTRA is launching Health Mart, a website to make it easier for actors and agents who don’t qualify for the union’s health insurance to shop for benefits (Verrier, 10/18).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Lawsuit Claims Aspen Dental, Private Equity Firm Violate NY Law, Put Profits Ahead Of Care
Aspen Dental Management and the private equity firm that controls it illegally operate dental clinics across the country and engage in aggressive, misleading profit-driven practices that cause patients economic harm, claims a federal lawsuit filed Thursday in New York (10/18).