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Special Report

Massachusetts Labor Pains

And now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine...

Labor Pains

Union workers are furious over a vote by Massachusetts House lawmakers to strip police officers, teachers and other municipal employees of most of their collective bargaining rights over health care.

But unlike measures in Ohio, Wisconsin and other states, this effort was led by Democrats in the traditionally liberal Bay State.

The Boston Globe reports the state's AFL-CIO president calls it stunning -- quote -- "These are the same Democrats that all these labor unions elected... who we contributed to in their campaigns... who tell us over and over again that they're with us."

House leaders say it will save $100 million and help avoid layoffs and reductions in services.

Double Billing

President Obama lamented the costs of hospital reimbursements during a town hall last week. He suggested Medicare has to pay twice if a patient gets sick because of a hospital mistake both for the original treatment and the fix -- quote -- "Let's say [the hospital] didn't do a very good job, or you got sick in the hospital, and you are readmitted and you have to be treated again... Medicare then gets billed for the second operation."

Actually, Medicare no longer covers such hospital mistakes. Republicans passed a measure in 2005 that included a requirement forcing hospitals to foot the bill for preventable conditions, mistakes and infections resulting from a hospital stay.

When that bill, that piece of legislation, went to the Senate, then-Senator Obama voted no. But, it was approved and is now law.

Critical Thinking

And finally, prospective Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made what his office calls a mistake in a recent opinion piece criticizing President Obama over the country's debt problem.

Romney referred to the president's stimulus program as -- quote -- "...one of the biggest peacetime spending binges in American history."

Democrats quickly pointed out the U.S. is currently involved in two wars and an operation in Libya.

Romney's camp says he meant to write "since World War II" to put the spending in context.