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Today’s Headlines – Oct. 31, 2012

Happy Halloween! Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including that latest about how health policies are playing on the campaign trail as well as how Mega-Storm Sandy took its toll on New York hospitals.

Los Angeles Times: Romney Says He’ll Undo Obama Healthcare Reform On Day 1. Can He?
Mitt Romney has pledged to do away with President Obama’s healthcare reform law if he wins next week’s election. But would he — or any other president — have the power to do so? Not exactly, according to two Georgetown University professors writing this week in the online version of the Journal of the American Medical Assn. But there are some things President Romney would be able to do if he won, and more if he were joined in Washington by a Republican-controlled Congress (Kaplan, 10/30).

U.S. News/The Wall Street Journal: Medicare Fails To Sway Senior Votes
Senior citizens are a coveted voting bloc in Florida, where they make up about a quarter of the electorate in this highly contested swing state. They are especially important for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, given his deficit among young voters and minorities, according to polls (Campo-Flores, 10/29).

For more headlines …

USA Today: Pearl Jam Guitarist Asks Voter To Back Health Care Law
Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready may seem like an odd poster-child for President Obama’s health care law.
But the musician, 46, has Crohn’s disease, an incurable gastrointestinal disorder. He says he was denied health insurance coverage twice because of his condition and needed the help of a patient advocate to navigate the bureaucracy to get his treatment (Camia, 10/30).

USA Today: Chance Of Surgery, Care Quality Vary By Region
Where you live – and where your doctors did their training – has a lot to do with whether you’ll be operated on, get an infection or have other potentially risky medical tests, a report out Tuesday said. And we’re not talking about small-town vs. big-city medicine (O’Donnell, 10/30).

NPR: Superstorm Sandy Takes Toll On New York Hospitals
When a storm hits, people count on the local hospital to be ready — no matter what. But when Sandy slammed into New York City, one of Manhattan’s biggest hospitals buckled. After the power went out in Lower Manhattan, New York University Langone Medical Center’s backup power generators failed, too (Hensley, 10/30).

The New York Times: Patients Evacuated From City Medical Center After Power Failure
The medical center, NYU Langone Medical Center, a sprawling complex in the low 30s near the East River, began transporting all 215 patients at the hospital to other facilities on Monday evening, They were still being transported to other nearby hospitals, including Sloan Kettering and Mount Sinai, early on Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the hospital said (Goodman and Moynihan, 10/30).

Los Angeles Times: Health Insurers Line Up To Compete In California’s Exchange
California’s health insurance exchange said more than 30 plans are expected to vie with one another for spots in the state-run marketplace opening next fall. State officials, and those in other states, are eager to flex their purchasing power under the federal healthcare law by selecting only certain individual and small-business health plans for 19 different regions across California (Terhune, 10/31).

Los Angeles Times: Blue Shield Of California Will Return $50 Million To Customers
Health insurer Blue Shield of California said it would return $50 million to customers by year-end as part of its pledge to limit its annual profit to 2% of revenue. The San Francisco company said most customers would receive credit on their December bills. It said the average credit would be about $25 for an individual customer and roughly $75 for a family of four, depending on their premiums (Terhune, 10/31).