KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Competing Endorsements For Obama, Romney; Health Law’s Unfinished Business On The Ballot

The New York Times: Barack Obama For Re-Election
Mr. Obama has achieved the most sweeping health care reforms since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. The reform law takes a big step toward universal health coverage, a final piece in the social contract. It was astonishing that Mr. Obama and the Democrats in Congress were able to get a bill past the Republican opposition. But the Republicans' propagandistic distortions of the new law helped them wrest back control of the House, and they are determined now to repeal the law. That would eliminate the many benefits the reform has already brought (10/27).

Des Moines Register: The Des Moines Register Endorsement: Mitt Romney Offers A Fresh Economic Vision
One of the biggest obstacles either candidate faces is partisan gridlock in Congress. It appears unlikely either party will have enough votes to have its own way without bringing over members from across the aisle. ... Romney could be assured that Democrats would work to defeat him as hard as Republicans worked against Obama is if he were to adopt the reactionary agenda of the most extreme elements of the Republican Party. Romney had to tack to the right during the primary season. Since then, he has recalibrated his campaign to focus on his concern for the middle class, and that is believable if the real Mitt Romney is the one on display as governor of Massachusetts who passed a health care reform plan that became the model for the one passed by Congress (10/27).

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Prudent Change: Romney Promises Hope For Recovery
The tone of the 2012 campaign might best be captured by the need to begin with an emphasis on what the Republican candidate will not do. Mitt Romney will not raise taxes on the middle class. He will not destroy Medicare. And he will not lie to the American people every time he opens his mouth. Political campaigns exaggerate grossly, play loose with the facts and cast the opposition in the worst light imaginable (10/28).

Chicago Sun-Times: How Romney vs. Obama Health Plans Could Affect You
The outcome of the 2012 presidential election will have major implications for the future of health care. This year's candidates have laid out extraordinarily different policy visions. How can you know which party best represents your views? While the health-care policy options are complicated, the principles behind them are quite simple. ... The presidential candidates represent significantly different health-care visions. Despite uncertainties, it is clear that this election will set the health-care system in our country on a course that will have a dramatic effect on all citizens (Nicole Kazee, 10/26).

The Washington Post: The Most Important Issue Of This Election: Obamacare
The stakes this year are higher — and most voters know it. ... The most important fact of the 2012 election is that the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010; it just hasn’t been fully implemented yet. If President Obama is reelected, the bulk of it will roll out on schedule in 2014. That health-care act is key because, unlike challenger Mitt Romney's tax reform plan or Obama’s deficit-reduction plan, voters can truly count on it. If Obama is reelected, every American making less than 133 percent of the poverty line will receive Medicaid (sorry, but I don’t buy that even the reddest of states will long refuse a 9-to-1 ratio of federal-to-state Medicaid funding for very long); every American making between 133 percent and 400 percent of the poverty line will get tax credits to help buy private insurance; and there will be an expectation — reinforced by a tax penalty — that Americans who can buy quality health insurance for less than eight percent of their income will do so (Ezra Klein, 10/26).

The New York Times: The No Agenda Myth
With Obama, we can anticipate that the unfinished business of universal health care and the re-regulation of the Wall Street casino will be finished. … If Romney is elected, … we can fairly expect a rollback of universal health care in favor of the rough marketplace. … We can expect a lowering of the safety net, especially a retrenchment of Medicaid and a marketization of Medicare. … You can expect another Scalia or two on the Supreme Court, the defunding of Planned Parenthood and a social agenda aimed at appeasing the evangelical base, mainly by letting the states decide (Bill Keller, 10/28). 

The New York Times: Medicaid On The Ballot
There's a lot we don’t know about what Mitt Romney would do if he won. … But one thing is clear: If he wins, Medicaid — which now covers more than 50 million Americans, and which President Obama would expand further as part of his health reform — will face savage cuts.  (Paul Krugman, 10/28).

The Hill: Turning Medicaid Over To The States Would Undermine Program
It is not surprising he wanted control over the federal money. As Governor, Romney proposed financial strategies to maximize federal Medicaid funds and then divert the money to his general coffers rather than for Medicaid services. ... Unfortunately, Romney is not the only governor to embrace illusory schemes to maximize and misuse federal Medicaid funds (but other governors are not currently running for president, criticizing federal aid spending and proposing to block grant Medicaid to the states) (Daniel L. Hatcher, 10/26).

Baltimore Sun: Health Security Is National Security
On the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's dramatic announcement about the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba, the two presidential candidates met for a debate last Monday only 250 miles away in Boca Raton, Fla. Moderator Bob Schieffer began the night by reminding the nearly 60 million viewers that those 13 days in late 1962 were "perhaps the closest we've ever come to nuclear war. And it is a sobering reminder that every president faces at some point an unexpected threat to our national security from abroad." ... Eight times the two men agreed that the country was in need of "nation building here at home," and yet the starkest differences between them continued to be over the fundamentally different direction the two candidates would take the country on health care and the economy (Patrick Whelan and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, 10/28).

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