KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Obama Campaign Unleashes Ads On Medicaid, Link Between Medicare And Romney’s 47 Percent Comment

According to news reports, these ads are part of the Obama campaign's more urgent approach since last week's debate performance.

The Hill: Obama Hits Romney On Medicare, '47 Percent'
The Obama campaign tied Mitt Romney's Medicare plan to his controversial "47 percent" comments in a new ad Tuesday. The television spot quotes comments in which the GOP presidential nominee said 47 percent of the country pays no income tax and is dependent on government programs. That statistic includes seniors who receive Medicare and Social Security benefits. " 'Victims,' 'dependent,' that's what Mitt Romney called 47 percent of Americans, including people on Medicare," the ad says. It goes on to criticize Romney's Medicare plan, under which seniors would receive a fixed payment to help buy insurance on their own, either from a private insurer or the existing Medicare program (Baker, 10/9).

The Washington Post: Ad Watch: Obama Ad Ties '47 Percent' To Medicare Vouchers
What it says: "Victims. Dependent. That's what Mitt Romney called forty-seven percent of Americans. Including people on Medicare. But what about his plan for you? Romney would replace guaranteed benefits with a voucher system. Seniors could pay six thousand dollars more a year. A plan AARP says would undermine Medicare. You're no victim … you earned your benefits. Don't let Mitt Romney take them away" (Jennings, 10/9).

The Hill: Obama Ad Hits Romney On Medicaid
President Obama's reelection campaign hit Mitt Romney's proposed Medicaid cuts in a new television ad Tuesday. ...The ad focuses on Medicaid's coverage of nursing-home stays. "For many middle-class families, Medicaid is the only way to afford the care," the Obama ad says. "But as a governor, Mitt Romney raised nursing home fees eight times. And as president, his budget cuts Medicaid by one-third and burdens families with the cost of nursing-home care." Romney has proposed converting Medicaid into a block grant to the states. Such an approach would give the states more flexibility to set their own eligibility standards (Baker, 10/9).

CNN: Obama Ad Hits Romney Over Medicaid
Pivoting from a sarcastic Big Bird ad released Tuesday morning, President Barack Obama's campaign put out a more serious television spot in the afternoon, this time painting Mitt Romney as a threat to nursing homes. The 30-second commercial, "Only Choice," attacks Romney's plan to block-grant Medicaid and allow states to manage the system, rather than the federal government. Juxtaposed against a series of images of seniors in nursing homes, the ad's narrator points to fees on nursing home beds that Romney enacted as Massachusetts governor (Killough, 10/9).

Los Angeles Times: Obama Campaigns More Urgently In Response To Debate Setback
Another spot released Tuesday reinforced in a more serious way the Obama camp's concerns about Romney's new momentum. That ad, airing in swing states, links Romney to running mate Rep. Paul D. Ryan's proposal to cut back spending on Medicaid. The cuts would "burden families with the cost of nursing home care," the ad said, picking up on a line of attack former President Clinton stressed when he made the case for Obama at the Democratic National Convention. The ad also indicated that the Obama campaign views Thursday's vice presidential debate as an opportunity to get back on track (Memoli and Reston, 10/10).

In other campaign messaging news -

The Hill: DNC Chief Cites Past Breast Cancer To Fundraise Against Romney
The head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) called Mitt Romney's healthcare claims "personally offensive" to her as a breast cancer survivor in a bid for campaign funds Tuesday. The fundraising email from Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) came on the heels of a new Gallup survey finding Romney leading President Obama 49 to 47 percent nationally among likely voters. Pollsters have attributed Romney's sudden lead to his highly successful debate performance last week. But Wasserman Schultz was quick to criticize the former governor for "say-anything dishonesty" on the issue of health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions — a group she joined when she was diagnosed with breast cancer (Viebeck, 10/9).

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