KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Obama And Romney Campaigns Assail The Other’s Budget Plans

Each casts the other's plans for entitlement programs, such as Medicare, as dangerous.

The Washington Post: Obama vs. Romney, Part 2
On the surface, (Mitt) Romney’s attack (on President Barack Obama) appeared contradictory, because a few moments after attacking the president for not having a plan for solving the entitlement crisis, he faulted Obama's proposals for reining in spending on Medicare as part of his health care law. ... Obama is betting that his health care law will help restrain the growth in health care spending over time, thus easing the budgetary pressure of Medicare and Medicaid. But a plausible case could be made that the proposed Medicare cuts will never occur or cause serious problems for providers — that is what the Medicare chief actuary has warned — and thus the budgetary savings will not materialize. In fact, without anticipated savings, costs could skyrocket, as often happens with new entitlements (Kessler, 4/6).

Reuters: White House Casts Republican Budget As Bad For Women
The White House said on Thursday that budget cuts proposed by congressional Republicans would hurt American women more than men, tailoring criticisms from President Barack Obama to one of his key voting demographics. ... Senior administration officials said the deficit blueprint that Republicans, including the party's likely 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney, would put teachers out of work, take away funds for violence prevention and cut medical care for millions of poor and elderly women (4/5).

The Washington Post: The Political Deadlock Over National Debt
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) accused President Obama last week of setting the nation on an "unsustainable" path that would endanger "our kids and grandkids." Obama, in turn, alleged this week that Ryan and Republican front-runner Mitt Romney were trying "to impose a radical vision on our country . . . thinly veiled Social Darwinism." ... The reason neither man has found the sweet spot — which both stabilizes the debt and preserves key programs — has in part to do with political taboos. Obama has yet to put forward a plan that fully addresses the long-term costs of Medicare, a primary driver of the nation’s debt. ... Ryan, Romney and many Republicans, however, refuse to raise taxes at all (Goldfarb, 4/5). 

Meanwhile, earlier work of a new Romney adviser raises eyebrows.

The Hill: Report: Romney Adviser Lobbied For Individual Mandate
Mitt Romney's newest adviser lobbied for a national mandate that everyone have insurance two years before President Obama embraced the idea, The Washington Examiner reported Thursday. The revelation that former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie was hired by the Coalition to Advance Healthcare Reform to lobby for the mandate in 2007 could further hurt Romney's popularity with conservative voters. Romney has tried to distance himself from Obama's healthcare reform law by arguing that the mandate he imposed as governor of Massachusetts was a state solution, but his ties to Gillespie could make that harder (Pecquet, 4/5).

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