KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

GOP’s Medicare Plan Has Some Candidates Playing Defense

The budget plan advanced by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has become a hot topic in many congressional races. One example is the Illinois race between Rep. Joe Walsh, a Republican, and Democratic challenger and Iraqi war veteran Tammy Duckworth.

The Washington Post: Ryan Budget Still An Issue In Congressional Races
The issue in question is the budget proposal issued by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and what it does to Medicare in particular. More than a year after the proposal's initial release, Republican candidates continue to find themselves on the defensive about what the plan will actually do, and Democrats continue to make claims about the dire consequences if it were to become law (O'Keefe, 5/13).

Chicago Sun-Times: In First Debate, Congressional Rivals Walsh And Duckworth Tangle Over Medicare
In the first debate of what could be one of the hottest congressional races in the country, Republican Rep. Joe Walsh and Iraqi War veteran Tammy Duckworth, accused each other of wanting to end Medicare. Walsh voted for Rep. Paul Ryan's budget which Walsh said is the only plan on the table to save Medicare. Duckworth said the Wisconsin Republican's budget "guts" the troubled program. Walsh and Duckworth also clashed on gay marriage and contraception (Pallasch, 5/11).

The Associated Press: Dems, GOP Using Popular Bills To Hurt Other Party
Shortly after the House voted April 27 to approve the GOP student loan bill, paid for by cutting Obama's health overhaul and supported by just 13 Democrats, Republicans sent news releases to dozens of congressional districts. Democrats decided "protecting the Democrats' government takeover of health care was more important than helping future college graduates," the releases said. Democrats argued it was wrong to cut health care programs to keep student loan interest rates from growing (Fram, 5/14).

Meanwhile, the Obama administration continues to focus on the politics of women's health issues -

The Associated Press: Women Ponder How They Became A Campaign Issue
Everybody, it seems, is talking about women in this campaign — what they should do, how they should act, who they should be in society. But do women see themselves reflected in the dialogue — or is the mirror of political rhetoric distorting their concerns? How, exactly, is all this talk about women playing among women? (Arrillaga, 5/12).

Denver Post: HHS Secretary Sebelius Meets With Denver Women To Discuss Health Care
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius sat on a living room couch in a Denver home Friday and discussed preventive care and Colorado's health-exchange program with local women... This is the fifth city this year where Sebelius has held a Women's Living Room Discussion — sessions meant to highlight the beneficial aspects of the Affordable Care Act. The conversation repeatedly circled back to preventive health (Painter, 5/12).

Fox News: White House Pushes ObamaCare-Themed E-Cards For Mother's Day
Not even Mother's Day could be shielded from election-year politics. The White House on Sunday released specially tailored e-cards touting the benefits for moms of the federal health care overhaul, urging people to send the card around to "show some appreciation for the mom in your life." The e-card, posted on the White House website for any and all to download and share, is titled: "Happy Mother's Day From The Affordable Care Act." It goes on to say, "Being a mom isn't a pre-existing condition."…The card says that while insurers before the overhaul could "deny coverage for women with pre-existing conditions like breast cancer or pregnancy," they will be prohibited from denying coverage over any pre-existing condition starting in 2014 (5/13).

The Associated Press: Gay Marriage, Abortion Back In Campaign Spotlight
Abortion and gay marriage. For years, they've been lumped together as the paramount wedge issues of U.S. politics — hot-button topics in the vortex of sexuality, personal freedom and public policy. Yet these two divisive issues, prominent as ever this election season and still firing up the liberal and conservative bases of the two major parties, are evolving in intriguingly different ways. Partisans are taking care not to overstate how much the issues have in common (Crary, 5/12).

And Politico provides additional coverage of the "changing of the guard" at NARAL -

Politico: Changing Of The Guard Amid 'War On Women'
There's a changing of the guard right in the midst of the "war on women." When Nancy Keenan announced Thursday that she will step down as chief of NARAL Pro-Choice America, she made much the same argument that EMILY's List founder Ellen Malcolm did in moving aside at the end of 2010: The women's movement needs fresh blood. So, the baby boomers are out. Sandra Fluke and the Twitterati are in (Allen, 5/11).

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