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Today’s headlines – Sept. 10, 2012

Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including reports detailing how GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said, if elected, he would retain some parts of the 2010 health law.

Los Angeles Times: What To Expect If President Obama Wins Second Term
White House aides have indicated that Obama would try for a deal resembling the “grand bargain” he unsuccessfully sought last year with House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). That would involve congressional Republicans agreeing to accept some higher taxes and Democrats accepting new restraints on the government’s big entitlement programs, primarily Medicare. Obama’s aides concede that the possibility of that happening would depend on how Republicans interpreted an Obama victory in November, whether it would cause them to compromise with Obama or fight even harder (Parsons, Hennessey and Lauter, 9/9).

The New York Times: Romney, Easing, Says Health Law Isn’t All Bad
Adopting a new tone, Mitt Romney on Sunday said he would retain elements of President Obama’s health care overhaul, blamed Republicans as much as Democrats for the “mistake” of agreeing to automatic cuts in military spending and said Mr. Obama’s national security strategy had made America in “some ways safer” (Barbaro, 9/9).

For more headlines …

The Washington Post: Romney Says He Would Keep Some Parts Of Obama’s Health-Care Law
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says that while he intends to dismantle the Obama administration’s health-care law if elected, he will retain several key provisions, including coverage for preexisting conditions. In an interview aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Romney said his health-care overhaul will also allow families to cover adult children with their policies through age 26 and include access to coverage for unemployed people seeking insurance. Both are part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law by Obama in 2010 (Turque, 9/9).

Politico: Romney Says He Likes Some Parts Of Obamacare
Mitt Romney has vowed to repeal and replace the new health care law, but that doesn’t mean he hates all of it. In an interview aired Sunday on NBC’s“Meet the Press,” the Republican presidential nominee said his replacement health care plan would include a way for people with pre-existing conditions to get insurance, and also allow children to be covered “up to whatever age they might like.” Providing coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and allowing children to stay on their parents’ health care plan until the age of 26 are among the most popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act (Kim, 9/9).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Romney, Obama Talk About Health Care As They Reach Out To Swing Voters
With swing voters in his sights, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is tacking toward the center on health care and defense spending now that he’s put his final partisan hurdle behind him and the sprint to Nov. 6 is underway. Romney said in an interview that aired Sunday that he would retain some popular parts of the 2010 health care law he has pledged to repeal, saying the features he would keep are common-sense measures in what he calls an otherwise costly, inefficient plan. … Meanwhile, President Barack Obama focused Floridians’ attention on the Republican ticket’s stand on Medicare, an issue that’s been more favorable to Democrats (9/9).

Los Angeles Times: Romney And Obama Trade Shots Over Tax-Cut Math, Medicare
After a week in which Democrats repeatedly attacked his economic plan as beneficial to the rich and devastating to the poor, Republican nominee Mitt Romney insisted Sunday that his tax and budget proposals would help rebuild the middle class in America. During a series of lengthy talk show interviews, Romney and his running mate, Paul D. Ryan, declined to go into detail on how they would pay for across-the-board tax cuts while balancing the budget over two terms in office (Reston and Parsons, 9/9).

Los Angeles Times: Bear Hugs And Medicare For Obama In Florida
President Obama spent much of the second day of his Florida bus trip talking about government healthcare for senior citizens as he campaigned in critical precincts of the state. But his policy critique may have been overshadowed, at least locally, by something rare: an exuberant embrace from a supporter at a pizza joint in Fort Pierce (Parsons, 9/9).

The Wall Street Journal: Obama Vows To Fight ‘Privatizations’
Campaigning in a state that has long drawn retirees, President Barack Obama on Saturday promised to fight the privatization of Medicare and Social Security, the popular health and retirement programs for seniors. In making the vow, Mr. Obama appeared to be implying that his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, supports Social Security privatization, which he doesn’t. Mr. Romney’s running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, has been a leading proponent of privatization—that is, of allowing workers divert some Social Security tax payments into privately owned accounts (Meckler, 9/8).

Los Angeles Times: Obama Charges That GOP Budget Plans Don’t Add Up
He also plans to talk about Medicare and Medicaid, government health programs that both benefit seniors. In his interview with Pelley, Obama said he is willing to “make some adjustments” to the programs. “But the way to do that is to keep healthcare costs low, it’s not to voucherize programs so that suddenly seniors are the ones who are finding their expenses much higher,” he said (Parsons, 9/9).

The Wall Street Journal: Romney Struggles To Gain Traction In Battlegrounds
With two months to Election Day, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney faces the disconcerting reality that he isn’t winning most of the states he would need to beat President Barack Obama. … Mr. Obama in Florida over the weekend repeated his stipulation that any new deficit-reduction deal include tax increases and argued that seniors would pay more for their health care under the Medicare plan offered by Mr. Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan. He also critiqued Mr. Romney’s plan for not being specific about how it would balance the budget (Murray and Meckler, 9/9).

The New York Times: Ideological Opposites Prepare To Meet In Debate
As Mr. Ryan buckled down on Sunday for his first full day of debate preparation, Mr. Biden campaigned over the weekend in Ohio, where he derisively labeled Mr. Ryan’s plan to overhaul Medicare “vouchercare.” The vice president challenged the news media to “fact-check me.” The Romney-Ryan campaign responded with a direct round, singling out Mr. Biden. “Vice President Biden is once again advancing fabricated and disproven attacks,” said a spokeswoman, Amanda Henneberg (Gabriel, 9/9).

The New York Times’ The Caucus: Ryan Defends His ‘Yes’ Vote On Automatic Defense Cuts
Representative Paul D. Ryan, the Republican nominee for vice president, on Sunday defended his decision to support automatic cuts in defense spending as a way to force a deal on reducing the deficit, an approach that was sharply criticized by his running mate, Mitt Romney. … Mr. Ryan said that he backed the deal, which could result in an automatic 8 percent cut in defense spending in January, in an effort to compromise with Democrats on deficit reduction. … The House bill, which Mr. Ryan wrote and Senate Democrats oppose, would stave off reductions in military spending by cutting safety-net programs for the poor, including food stamps, school lunch subsidies and children’s health insurance (Swans, 9/9).

The New York Times: More Young Adults Have Insurance After Health Care Law, Study Says
The share of young adults without health insurance fell by one-sixth in 2011 from the previous year, the largest annual decline for any age group since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began collecting the data in 1997, according to a new report released on Monday (Tavernise, 9/10).

The New York Times: Luring Students Into Family Medicine
Most students going into medicine imagine that they will have daily contact with their patients; but the reality is that only a minority will end up as primary care physicians, causing what some experts say could be a critical shortage in the United States, where there are long waits in both doctors’ offices and emergency rooms (Novak, 9/9).

Politico: Montana Gets Vote On Blocking ACA Nov. 6
The balance of power in the Senate may hinge on the outcome of the Montana Senate race between Democratic incumbent Jon Tester and Rep. Denny Rehberg, his GOP challenger. But a little-discussed undercard on the ballot could send a powerful message that reverberates beyond November. On Election Day, Montana residents will vote on a measure that would ban the state or the federal government from ordering Montanans to purchase health insurance. Its passage would be a largely symbolic rebuke of the Affordable Care Act’s coverage requirements and would mirror similar laws and proposals in other states (Cheney, 9/9).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Key Facts About The 9/11 Health And Compensation Act For Ground Zero Workers Who Fell Ill
Some key information about the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which went into effect a year ago to aid ground zero responders and others who became ill after being exposed to dust and ash at the World Trade Center site (9/7).

The Chicago Tribune/Los Angeles Times: Chicago Teachers Union To Strike After Talks Fail
The teachers union will strike Monday for the first time in 25 years after negotiations with Chicago Public Schools officials ended without a contract. … Lewis said the two sides were close on teacher compensation but the union had serious concerns about the cost of health benefits, the makeup of the teacher evaluation system and job security (9/10).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Chicago Teachers To Strike For First Time In 25 Years After Talks With School District Fail
The two sides were not far apart on compensation, but were on other issues, including health benefits — teachers want to keep what they have now — and a new teacher evaluation system based partly on students’ standardized test scores, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said (9/10).

The Wall Street Journal: Chicago Teachers Say They Will Strike
This is “a fight between old labor and new Democrats who support education reform and it has been brewing for a long time in cities across the country,” said Tim Knowles, director of the Urban Education Institute at the University of Chicago, which conducts research on Chicago schools. The two sides have negotiated for months over issues including wages, health-care benefits and job security (Banchero, 9/9).