KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Obama Calls Health Law Mandate A ‘Principle;’ Other Campaign News

In an interview, the president seeks to find a way around the issue of whether the mandate is a tax or a penalty. Meanwhile, USA Today finds that individuals and companies with ties to the nutritional and dietary supplement industry have given $4.5 million to the GOP candidate.

Politico: Obama: Health Care Mandate Is A 'Principle'
In the ongoing debate over whether the Affordable Care Act's mandate is a tax or a penalty, President Obama tried a different approach — calling it a "principle." "It's less a tax or a penalty than it is a principle — which is you can't be a freeloader on other folks when it comes to your health care, if you can afford it," Obama said in an interview with Toledo's WTOL. The White House has struggled with how to respond to charges that the Affordable Care Act — deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court last month under Congress' taxation power — raises taxes (Tau, 7/17).

The Dallas Morning News: Perry Blasts Obama On Medicaid Costs, Voter ID
Gov. Rick Perry greeted President Barack Obama on Tuesday with a verbal finger wag, calling on him to apologize for his administration's attacks on the state’s voter ID law and to learn more about the ramifications of his health care law. Perry called a news conference to ding the president, who attended campaign fundraisers Tuesday in San Antonio and Austin. The governor suggested Obama should sit down with him and other Republican governors who could explain why they have rejected the new health care law (Hoppe, 7/17).

Texas Tribune: In Austin, Obama Rallies Supporters, Targets Romney
Obama's remarks came during a 35-minute speech to about 1,100 supporters at the Austin Music Hall, where he also jabbed at Republicans for their opposition to expanding health care and their efforts to gut funding for family planning (Aguilar, 7/17).

Meanwhile, USA Today finds that the supplement industry is a key fundraising source for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

USA Today: Supplement Industry Boosts Romney Campaign By $4.5M
Overall, individuals and companies with ties to the nutritional and dietary supplement industry have poured more than $4.5 million into campaign accounts benefiting Romney's presidential ambitions, federal records show. The spending comes as the industry is at odds with the Food and Drug Administration over proposed rules that would govern the use of new dietary ingredients. Unlike the pharmaceutical industry, supplement makers long have been exempted from federal review of their products for safety or effectiveness before being marketed (Schouten, 7/17).

And speculation continues to swirl on whom Romney will choose as a running mate.

Politico: Perkins Urges Romney To Pick Outspoken Abortion Critic In Private Meeting
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins urged Mitt Romney in a private meeting yesterday to select a running mate who has been outspoken against abortion. "My encouragement to him on a pro-life running mate isn’t just somebody who has checked the box [on opposing abortion rights] but somebody who has a portfolio of support on the culture of life," Perkins said in a telephone interview (Martin, 7/17).

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