KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Democratic Speakers Rally Around Health Law

During Wednesday's convention proceedings, speakers criticized what they described as Republican plans to "voucher-ize Medicare" and touted provisions of the 2010 health law already in effect, such as coverage for children with pre-existing medical conditions, the closing Medicare Part D "doughnut hole" and the ability to keep young people on their parents' policies until age 26.

Los Angeles Times: Democrats At DNC Paint A Stark Choice For Voters
Elizabeth Warren, the consumer crusader and liberal heroine, joined the parade bashing Mitt Romney at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night, saying the GOP nominee would undermine the middle class by slashing the social safety net. In fiery rhetoric drafted for delivery in a prime-time address, the Massachusetts Senate hopeful said Romney "wants to give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires … but he and [running mate] Paul Ryan would pulverize financial reform, voucher-ize Medicare and vaporize 'Obamacare'" … One after another, speakers sought Wednesday night to paint that choice in the starkest terms (Barabak, 9/5).

The Hill: Dems Embrace Obama Health Law
Democrats at the podium of the party's national convention are fully — and finally — embracing President Obama's signature healthcare law, and liberal lawmakers are applauding the move. On Tuesday's opening night, speaker after speaker championed the 2010 Affordable Care Act, a trumpeting that was striking for a law that top Democrats had largely sidelined because of its lingering unpopularity with the public. As Obama seeks reelection, his allies have returned to heralding the law as a historic and courageous political achievement. A few speakers on Tuesday even adopted the "ObamaCare" sobriquet that Republicans have long used to deride the legislation (Berman and Bolton, 9/5).

CQ HealthBeat: At Convention, Democrats Make Case To Keep Health Care Law Intact
Democrats are going on the offensive this week to promote President Obama's signature health care law. During Tuesday’s session of the party’s national convention, speaker after speaker touted the benefits of the 2010 law and warned of the consequences if Republicans were able to repeal it. And on Wednesday, Democratic lawmakers joined others at a Families USA event intended to rally support for the law. "We fought like hell to get this bill, and now we’ve got to fight like hell to protect it," Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said at the Wednesday event in Charlotte. Democrats have largely defended the law against Republican repeal efforts, but recently they have started to focus more on promoting its benefits. Harkin said he is encouraging Democratic candidates to support the law because "now people are beginning to realize what they have" (Ethridge, 9/5).

Medpage Today: Dems Continue To Make Health Reform Their Own
Day Two at the Democratic National Convention saw continued focus on health in general and the Affordable Care Act in particular. Party leaders spoke for nearly 2 hours on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at an event hosted by the left-leaning consumer advocacy group Families USA and the Service Employees International Union. They cited coverage of preexisting conditions for children, closing the Medicare Part D "doughnut hole," free preventive services, and the ability to keep children on their parent's health plan until age 26 as examples of ACA benefits that have already gone into effect (Pittman, 9/5).

The Associated Press: Rep. Larson Urges Dems To Protect Senior Benefits
Connecticut Rep. John Larson says health care reforms passed by Democrats have guaranteed access to affordable health care, while Republican proposals threaten it. Larson, chairman of the House Democratic caucus, urged Democratic National Convention delegates Wednesday to fight to protect hard-earned access to health care and support for the elderly (9/5).

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Pelosi: Vote Obama To Save Medicare, Social Security
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi continued the  theme of the struggling middle class on Wednesday evening, urging voters in plain terms to support President Barack Obama in order to save Social Security and Medicare from GOP cuts (McKinnon, 9/5).

Speakers also took on on women's issues -

Politico: Nancy Pelosi: Medicare, Women's Rights At Stake
Nancy Pelosi told Democrats in a prime-time address Wednesday that a vote for President Barack Obama is a "vote for Medicare," positioning the November election as "the clearest choice of our time" between Republicans looking to dismantle the nation's entitlement structure and curb the rights of women, and Democrats looking to rescue it. Pelosi said the election is much more than a choice between two candidates (Sherman, 9/6).

The Hill: Dems: House GOP Backed 55 Votes On 'Anti-Women Policies'
House Republicans have held more than 50 votes on "anti-woman" policies during the last two years, according to Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee.  In a new report, the Democrats say 55 GOP-sponsored votes favored policies to "undermine women’s health, roll back women’s rights and defund programs and institutions that provide support for women." Democrats are aiming to shore up the women's vote by placing a special focus on women's health issues before November. Abortion, contraception and the 2010 healthcare law have already played a prominent role in the Democratic convention now under way in Charlotte, N.C (Viebeck, 9/5).

ABC (Video): Sandra Fluke's DNC Speech Paints Stark Picture Of Romney Presidency
The Georgetown law student shut out of a Congressional hearing on contraception earlier this year is basking in the glow of the Democratic National Convention‘s prime time stage. Speaking before a fired up crowd at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., tonight, Sandra Fluke painted a stark picture of what a country led by Republican Mitt Romney could be, calling it "an America in which access to birth control is controlled by people who will never use it, in which politicians redefine rape so survivors are victimized all over again," she said to huge cheers from the audience (Pham, 9/5).

Meanwhile, MedPage Today offered insights into the motivations of one delegate -

Medpage Today: Politics A Path To Health Reform For 'Doc' Delegates
Julie Meyers, MD, a pediatrician from Pawtucket, R.I., realized she needed to do more than just treat children in the clinic to help them. So she and others like her became involved in local politics to help foster change. That involvement led her to a slot as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention here this week. "I think most primary care providers want to make a difference in their patients' lives, and it takes a lot more than what you can do in the office to help them," Meyers told MedPage Today in an interview on the first day of the DNC (Pittman, 9/5).

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