KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Romney Goes On Offense Against Obama On Health Care, Birth Control Issues

Romney and GOP presidential primary rival Rick Santorum also trade barbs, while the Associated Press takes a look at Newt Gingrich's ties to lobbying.   

Politico: Mitt Romney Attacks Obama On Contraception
Mitt Romney is charging the Obama administration with seeking to curtail religious freedom at the same time it's defending its decision to require religious employers to cover birth control in employee health plans (Epstein, 2/6).

Reuters: Romney Goes After Obama On Healthcare, Contraception
Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney on Monday joined a battle over a part of President Barack Obama's healthcare law that has outraged Catholic bishops. ... Romney told a large crowd in Centennial, Colorado: "Think what that does to people who are in faiths that do no share those views. This is a violation of conscience. We must have a president who is willing to protect America's first right, our right to worship God" (Holland, 2/6).

CNN: Romney Urges Supporters To Protest Birth Control Rule
Mitt Romney on Monday became the latest GOP presidential candidate to blast the Obama administration for new rules that would force all hospitals – including those run by the Catholic church – to provide workers health insurance that covers contraception, including sterilization. A page on Romney's website asks supporters to sign a petition protesting "the Obama administration's attacks on religious liberty," saying the new rules amounted to an assault on personal rights (Liptak, 2/6).

ABC: Romney Calls Morning After Pills 'Abortive,' Says 'Right To Worship God' Is Necessity
Employing some of his most conservative rhetoric to date, Mitt Romney referred to morning after pills as "abortive pills" during a speech at a rally in Colorado where he told the crowd about the importance of electing a president who will protect the "right to worship God" (Friedman, 2/6).

Boston Globe: Romney, Santorum Campaigns Trade Barbs
On NBC's "Meet the Press"’ Sunday, Santorum said Romney "sided with big government’" on issues including health care and cap and trade emission rules as a response to global warming. Romney's health care overhaul included an individual mandate, similar to President Obama's national plan. ... Romney responded yesterday with a press release chronicling Santorum's "false attacks on Massachusetts health care," citing several stories on the independent fact-checking websites (Schoenberg, 2/7).

Politico: Rick Santorum Hits Even Popular Parts Of The ACA
How much does Rick Santorum hate President Barack Obama's health care law? So much that he even opposes the parts a lot of Republicans like. The Republican presidential candidate, talking health care across the street from Minnesota's Mayo Clinic Monday morning, blasted parts of the Affordable Care Act that poll well even among Republican voters — like guaranteeing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and making health insurers cover preventive care (Millman, 2/6).

The Hill: Santorum Ties Romney And Obama Together On Healthcare
Rick Santorum delivered a scathing critique of Mitt Romney and President Obama's healthcare reform laws on Monday. In a speech billed as a major address on the issue, Santorum said there was virtually no daylight between Obama's healthcare reform law and the law Romney signed as Massachusetts governor. "I really don't find any legitimate reason why [Romney] would oppose [Obamacare], because the plan he put together in Massachusetts is in fact Obamacare on the state level," Santorum said Monday in Rochester, Minn., according to CNN (Strauss, 2/6).

The Associated Press: Gingrich Shunned Lobbying, But Hired Lobbyists
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich says his consulting group never lobbied for clients. But his business hired state and federal lobbyists to work with clients, and some staff left to take lobbying jobs, according to lobbying disclosures and corporate reports. Gingrich's Center for Health Transformation hired a former Georgia lobbyist to help develop business in that state; a former Missouri state agency director who was a registered lobbyist before joining Gingrich's group; and a Washington lobbyist hired from a firm led by former Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts, a Gingrich supporter (Blackledge, 2/6).

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