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Today’s Headlines – Oct. 30, 2012

Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including reports about the campaign landscape as well as issues related to the implementation of the health law.

Los Angeles Times: Poll Finds 2012 Race Dead Even, Forsees Relatively High Turnout
With only one week left in the 2012 campaign, a major new Pew Research Center poll is projecting a relatively high level of voter turnout in the dead-even presidential contest between President Obama and Mitt Romney. The national opinion survey, released Monday, shows the president and the former Massachusetts governor each drawing support from 47% of likely voters. … Beyond the national opinion surveys, most state polls show that Obama is clinging to a tiny edge in enough battlegrounds to secure the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election. But the Pew poll underscores the enormous potential for a late opinion swing to shift the race either way in the days leading up to next week’s election.(West, 10/29).

Politico: Battleground Tracking Poll: President Obama Retakes Lead
With eight days to go until the election, President Barack Obama has recaptured a narrow national lead over Mitt Romney, riding increased support from women and an edge in early voting. A new POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Tracking Poll of 1,000 likely voters — taken from last Monday through Thursday — shows Obama ahead of Romney by 1 percentage point, 49 percent to 48 percent. That represents a 3-point swing in Obama’s direction from a week ago but reflects a race that remains statistically tied (Hohmann, 10/29).

For more headlines …

The New York Times’ The Caucus: With Obama Tending To Storm, Clinton Campaigns For Him
With Hurricane Sandy barreling toward the Northeast on Monday, former President Bill Clinton played stand-in for President Obama at a campaign rally here at the University of Central Florida. … One of the biggest cheers from Obama supporters came when Mr. Clinton praised the president’s health care law and its provision allowing children to remain on their parents’ insurance policies until age 26 (Perez, 10/29).

Los Angeles Times: Clinton Touts Obama’s Economic Record
Clinton was originally scheduled to introduce Obama, but early Monday morning, as storm conditions from Hurricane Sandy worsened along the Mid-Atlantic coast, White House officials decided to get the president back to Washington, leaving his Democratic predecessor to appear solo. … Clinton stressed two issues that Democrats hope will be particularly attractive to Latino voters — Obama’s healthcare law and his reforms of the student loan program. He reminded the crowd, which included a large percentage of students, that under the healthcare law, people up to age 26 can stay on their parents’ insurance plans. Romney says he supports that part of the law but argues the private sector would maintain the coverage if the law is repealed (Lauter, 10/29).

The New York Times: Colorado Race Turns Fierce After Republican’s Anti-Obama Remark
Now, because of a new Congressional map, Mr. Coffman, a two-term conservative with a long military résumé, finds himself in a Democratic-leaning district in the Denver suburbs in one of the most competitive House races in the country, with implications for the partisan split in the House as well as for the presidential race. … As in the presidential campaign, Democrats are trying to appeal to women in the district and see them as the key to the election. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has invested more than $2 million in the race, attacking Mr. Coffman for supporting limits on contraception, a plan to convert Medicare into a voucher program, and proposals that prohibit exceptions for abortion in the cases of rape and incest (Hulse, 10/29).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: With Senate Control In Play, Close Nevada Contest Ramps Up Battle Over Turnout, Nasty Ads
They’ve squabbled over immigration, congressional budgets, Medicare and how to help Main Street. She backed an overhaul of Wall Street oversight after the 2008 financial crisis, he opposed it. Heller rejected an increase in the minimum wage in 2007, she supported it. Berkley supports, and Heller opposes, the so-called Dream Act, which would allow young people brought to the U.S. without authorization to avoid deportation if they graduate high school or join the military (10/29).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Akin Campaigns With Sen. Inhofe While McCaskill’s New Ad Declares: ‘Todd Akin Is Scary’
Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill on Monday launched a Halloween-week ad casting her Republican challenger Todd Akin as “scary” because of his remarks about “legitimate rape.” Akin, meanwhile, is gaining some outside help in his quest to oust Missouri’s senior senator (10/29).

Politico: Poll: Scott Brown, Elizabeth Warren In Dead Heat
Sen. Scott Brown is locked in a tie with his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren, according to a poll released Monday, with Warren’s popularity slipping over the past month. Brown and Warren are neck and neck with 47 percent each, according to the Boston Globe poll. Without including voters who are leaning toward one candidate, Brown has a slight edge, 45 percent to 43 percent (Robillard, 10/29).

USA Today: States Seek Help Making Health Exchange Rules
As the federal government tries to leave the states with the freedom to set up individualized local health exchanges, state officials say they’ve received so little guidance that they’re afraid they’ll have to make changes as more regulations come out after the presidential election (Kennedy, 10/29).

USA Today: Drug Prices Stable For Medicare Patients, Report Shows
Prescription drug prices did not increase for other Medicare consumers after pharmaceutical companies gave the government discounts to help seniors deal with a gap in benefits known as the “doughnut hole,” a new report shows (Kennedy, 10/29).

Los Angeles Times: California Officials To Review Licensing For HealthCare Partners
Following a patient lawsuit filed last month, California officials say they are reviewing whether HealthCare Partners and its medical groups are in compliance with state law. The California Department of Managed Health Care said Monday that it is “reviewing the allegations that HealthCare Partners is operating as a health plan without a license.” Last month, patient Juan Carlos Jandres sued HealthCare Partners in Los Angeles County Superior Court, accusing it of violating state law by managing patient care without the necessary government license under the Knox-Keene Act (Terhune, 10/29).

Los Angeles Times: Local Clinics Brace For More Patients As Health Care Reform Takes Effect
There are 1,250 federally funded clinics nationwide that provide healthcare and social assistance, surviving on a mix of grants, fundraising and reimbursements from government insurance plans. The recession brought waves of additional patients who had lost jobs and health insurance, and the federal government provided $2 billion in stimulus money to help with the influx. Millions more low-income Americans are expected to begin seeking out doctors and routine healthcare in 2014 when they become eligible for insurance coverage (Gorman, 10/29).