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Today’s Headlines – Sept. 26, 2011

Good Monday Morning! Let’s get this week started: Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including the first installment of KHN’s three-day series, “The Big Money World Of Kid’s Care.”

Kaiser Health News: Building Ambitions: The Big Money World Of Kids’ Care (A Three-Day Series)
Reporting for Kaiser Health News, in collaboration with McClatchy, reporter Gilbert M. Gaul filed this story: Growing Size And Wealth Of Children’s Hospitals Fueling Questions About Spending. He writes: “Rising from a 60-acre field of old cypress swamp and cattle pasture near the Orlando airport, the 7-story Nemours Children’s Hospital will be a monument to ‘best-in-class’ care, its leaders boast. That may be the case. But at a cost of about $400 million, the equivalent of $4.2-million for each of its 95 beds, Nemours will also rank among the more expensive children’s hospitals ever built when it is completed next year. Some people believe construction never should have begun.” (Gaul, 9/25).

For more headlines …

Los Angeles Times: Obama Administration Must Make Risky Healthcare Decision
Obama administration lawyers face a decision by Monday that carries a high political risk and will probably determine whether the Supreme Court decides on the constitutionality of the healthcare law before next year’s presidential election (Savage, 9/25).

The Associated Press/ Washington Post: Conservative-Dominated Appeals Court Panel In DC Hears Challenge To Health Care Overhaul
A conservative-leaning panel of federal appellate judges raised concerns about President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul Friday, but suggested the challenge to it may be premature. The arguments at the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington over a lawsuit against Obama’s signature domestic legislative achievement focused on whether Congress overstepped its authority in requiring people to buy health insurance or pay a penalty on their taxes, beginning in 2014 (9/23).

The Wall Street Journal: Judges Air Doubts On Challenge To Health Overhaul
Judges on a federal appellate court suggested Friday that last year’s health-care overhaul was an unprecedented assertion of power by the government, but they didn’t clearly signal a readiness to strike down the law. The court at times questioned whether it even had jurisdiction to consider the case, an issue that could delay an ultimate resolution on the law’s constitutionality (Kendall, 9/24).

The New York Times: As Sides Dig In, Panel On Deficit Has An Uphill Fight
As if expectations were not low enough for the special Congressional committee charged with writing a deficit-reduction deal, they seem to be falling by the day as the two parties harden their positions on spending and taxes. Last week began with contradictory markers from President Obama and Speaker John A. Boehner. Mr. Boehner reiterated that Republicans would oppose any tax increases, and then Mr. Obama, newly aggressive, warned that he would veto any measure that would trim Medicare benefits without also raising taxes on the wealthy (Calmes and Steinhauer, 9/25).

The Hill: Dem Lawmakers To Fight For CLASS Health Program’s Survival
Congressional champions of the health law’s controversial CLASS Act said they’ll do all they can to keep it alive after reports Thursday that the Obama administration is putting the long-term care program on ice. The Department of Health and Human Services recently asked Senate appropriators to strike $120 million that had been planned next fiscal year to implement the benefit for disabled Americans. And this past week, the administration was left scrambling to reassure advocates after the program’s departing actuary said the CLASS Act office was closing down. … Advocates say that even without the $120 million appropriation next year, the administration can continue working on the program by using money from the health reform law. They said they expect the administration to still follow the timeline outlined by HHS in its initial funding request for FY 2012 (Pecquet, 9/25).

The Wall Street Journal: Congress Forced To Stay As A Shutdown Looms
Congress was scheduled to be off this week, but lawmakers must stay in Washington because they made no progress over the weekend in settling a dispute over spending that threatens a possible government shutdown. Despite promises to work together following a public backlash against the bickering that consumed much of the summer, Republicans and Democrats face the reality that disaster aid could run out Tuesday and the government could partially shut down beginning this weekend unless they strike a deal quickly (Bendavid, 9/26).

Kaiser Health News also tracked weekend news coverage, including reports about seniors’ concerns about Medicare and Medicaid as the ‘super committee’ continues its work, fact-checking from Thursday night’s GOP presidential debate and the deadline the Obama administration faces regarding a pending health law challenge.