KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Campaign News: President Talks Up Health Law; Romney’s Medicaid Claims Challenged

Health policy is affecting presidential and Senate campaigns, including third party runs.

The Hill: Obama To Iowa Newspaper: Health Care Isn't 'Scary Monster' Painted By GOP
Health care reform hasn't turned out to be as scary as Republicans have portrayed it, according to President Obama. Obama, who regularly defends his signature healthcare law on the stump, brushed aside GOP criticism during an interview with the Des Moines Register editorial board in which he made his case for the paper's endorsement. ... GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney has accused Obama of focusing on healthcare instead of jobs, arguing that the recovery might be stronger if Obama had not spent more than a year pushing healthcare reform (Baker, 10/24).

The Hill: Obama Supporters Worry A Romney Victory Will Endanger Health Care Law
As his chances of winning have seemed to improve, [Romney's] plans for the Affordable Care Act are getting a closer look. ... Romney has vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But because that would require 60 votes in the Senate, he has also said he would issue "waivers" and executive orders to weaken the law as much as possible on his own. ... Michael Cannon, a health care analyst at the libertarian Cato Institute who strongly opposes the healthcare law, said he's not sure how much a president Romney could do on "day one" (Baker, 10/25). 

Politico: Debate Brings Attention To States' Medicaid Plans
Romney has pushed for Medicaid block grants that would significantly cut program spending and provide states with the ultimate flexibility to design the health care program without Washington meddling. But the two examples of state Medicaid programs he cited as success stories during Monday's debate don't quite fit the mold of traditional block grants — at least not the kind that Republicans have been clamoring for. ... The Rhode Island and Arizona Medicaid programs, while enjoying more flexibility, are still backstopped by the federal government (Millman, 10/24).

Medpage Today: Other Candidates For President Talk Health Care
Although it was not the main focus of any question, healthcare kept creeping into the conversation during a debate here Tuesday night among four third-party presidential candidates. The debate, held in Chicago and broadcast on C-SPAN and on Internet site Ora.Tv, was moderated by talk show host Larry King and featured Green Party candidate Jill Stein, MD, an internist and environmental health advocate from Massachusetts; Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson, former mayor of Salt Lake City; Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico; and Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode, a former Virginia congressman (Frieden, 10/24).

The Washington Post: GOP Hopes Rise As Senate Races Tighten
In the battle for control of the U.S. Senate, there are now at least eight critical contests in which polling shows essentially a dead heat, encouraging Republicans hopes that they may yet snag the chamber, which very recently seemed beyond their reach (Helderman and Horowitz, 10/24).

The Wall Street Journal: Number Of Competitive Senate Races Rises
And then there is Missouri, initially seen as a near-certain pickup for Republicans. Comments by GOP candidate Todd Akin suggesting a woman's body can reject unwanted pregnancies have given an edge to Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. One of the biggest surprises is in Connecticut, where Mr. Obama won 61% of the vote four years ago. Republican Linda McMahon, a former wrestling executive who lost a Senate race in 2010, has redoubled her outreach to women and independents (Bendavid, 10/24).

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