KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Obama And Romney Start Long-Distance Debate Over Medicare

President Barack Obama and GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney have started a long-distance health care debate, fighting over how to reform the Medicare system. Other politicians are getting in on the act too, as Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., and Mass. Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren weigh in on the health reform law.

Los Angeles Times: Obama, Romney Debate From States Apart
President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney engaged in a long-distance debate over the key issue in the election …  as both campaigned through key swing states more than six months ahead of November's election. … [Obama's] "fair shot" argument focused on the House Republican budget, which Romney has said he supports. In the name of cutting the deficit, the Republican budget would overhaul Medicare and cut spending on programs throughout government, while lowering tax rates. "By the time you retire, Medicare would be turned into a voucher system that likely would not cover the doctors or the care that you need," Obama said (Hennessey and Reston, 4/18).

Bloomberg: Webb Says Virginia A Challenge For Obama Over Health Care
Democratic Senator Jim Webb of Virginia said it's a "big question mark" whether President Barack Obama will be able to carry his state again in this year's election because Obama's handling of the health care overhaul harmed his credibility.  While Virginia's recent demographic changes, including an influx of immigrants into the northern part of the state, should favor Democrats, Obama's fate there -- and nationally -- will be tied to how people perceive his leadership, Webb, who's retiring after one Senate term, said at a Bloomberg Breakfast in Washington (Hirschfeld Davis, 4/18). 

The Washington Post: Jim Webb: Health-Care Law Represents A Leadership Failure For Obama
President Obama's new health care law will be his greatest liability as he attempts to once again win the critical swing state of Virginia, Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) warned Wednesday. "I'll be real frank here," Webb said at a breakfast organized by Bloomberg News. "I think that the manner in which the health care reform issue was put in front of the Congress, the way that the issue was dealt with by the White House, cost Obama a lot of credibility as a leader" (Tumulty, 4/18).

The Hill: Elizabeth Warren Says Part Of The Health Care Law Should Be Repealed
Elizabeth Warren -- the liberal icon challenging Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) -- said she would support repealing part of President Obama's health care law. Warren said in an op-ed that Congress should repeal the health law's tax on medical devices. Massachusetts is home to several large device companies. The health care law's device tax will hit small, innovative firms especially hard and cause them to roll back their research budgets, Warren wrote in the trade publication Mass Device (Baker, 4/18).

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