KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Health Care Comments Prominent On The Trail To Iowa Caucus

As GOP candidates vie for support from potential caucus participants, their health care policies and statements are hot topics.

Des Moines Register: Michele Bachmann Has Fuzzy Math On Cost Of Doctor Visit
In a campaign speech to potential caucusgoers here this afternoon, presidential candidate Michele Bachmann colored her calls for the repeal of the federal health care law passed in 2010 with a brief history of health care. When she was a child, she said, a visit to the doctor in Waterloo, Iowa, cost just $5, and people who couldn't afford that often would receive free care at the physician’s discretion. Such prices and charity care are impossible today, she argued, because of government intervention into the health care system and the threat of lawsuits (Noble, 10/29).

Des Moines Register: Michele Bachmann Calls On Iraq To Reimburse U.S. For Invasion, War
Bachmann also claimed that President Barack Obama told her personally that he intended to dismantle Medicare, the health care program for the elderly, and replace it the federal health care law passed in 2010. ... Bachmann has repeated the anecdote elsewhere, but offered little specifics that would allow it to be verified. Obama has signaled support for cuts and changes to Medicaid as part of ongoing deficit-reduction efforts, but has never said the program should be eliminated or combined with other government health-care programs (Noble, 10/28).

Des Moines Register: Michele Bachmann Charity Care Plan Already In Effect In Iowa
In two campaign stops in eastern Iowa today, presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has called for a "liability shield" for doctors to boost access to health care. The "shield" would protect health care providers from lawsuits in connection with free health care offered to those who couldn't otherwise afford it. Bachmann, a Minnesota congresswoman told a group of employees in Muscatine that doctors, nurses, drugmakers and others who once provided charity care are scared off today by the legal risks associated with it. The "liability shield" would allay those fears (Noble, 10/28).

Reuters: Republican Perry Criticizes Romney, Defends Texas Actions
Campaigning in New Hampshire, Perry accused the former Massachusetts governor of changing positions on gun control, the causes of global warming and government health insurance mandates. ... Perry's campaign also chided Romney for allowing people without proof of citizenship to access health care programs for the poor while governor of Massachusetts, an indication of how strongly the illegal immigration issue is resonating with Republican primary voters (McLure, 10/28).

Meanwhile, Herman Cain takes to the Sunday morning talk show circuit to clarify his abortion stance —

Fox News: Planned Parenthood Rejects Cain Claim Abortion Clinics Are Aimed At Black 'Genocide'
Planned Parenthood is fighting back against a claim by Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain that abortion clinics are put in African American communities as part of a "planned genocide" to kill black babies before they are born.  Cain stood by his statement when questioned about it on Sunday, saying he would direct people to the words of Margaret Sanger, the late founder of Planned Parenthood and a supporter of eugenics. "Seventy-five percent of those facilities were built in the black community. In Margaret Sanger's own words, she didn't use the word 'genocide,' but she did talk about preventing the increasing number of poor blacks in this country by preventing black babies from being born," Cain told CBS' "Face the Nation" (10/30).

CNN: Cain Re-Clarifies Abortion Stance, Discourages Smoking
Herman Cain, the latest Republican presidential frontrunner, clarified his stance on abortion Sunday by saying he opposes any abortion after conception, with no exceptions. Cain, the former pizza executive, distanced himself from a previous comment that abortion in cases of rape and incest should be up to the family. "I am pro-life from conception, period," Cain said Sunday on the CBS program "Face the Nation" (Cohen, 10/30).

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