KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Medicare, Health Law Part Of Obama, Romney Pitches For Votes

In the campaign's final days, President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney deliver closing arguments about their health care positions, among other issues.

Los Angeles Times: Romney Resumes Criticizing Obama On The Stump
With five days to go until election day, Romney said voters faced a clear choice, and painted a dim picture of the nation's future if Obama were reelected – seniors unable to find doctors who were taking additional Medicare patients, middle-aged Americans seeing stagnant wages, annual trillion-dollar debts (Mehta, 11/1).

The Washington Post: Obama Returns To Campaign Trail To Deliver Closing Argument In Whirlwind, Multi-State Trip
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney spent the day in the battleground state of Virginia, where he hammered home the central theme of his closing argument to voters: that he is a champion of business whose policies would usher in new jobs and rising incomes for America’s workers and entrepreneurs. … Then [Obama] ticked off more policies he said Romney would pursue that did not represent change: rolling back Wall Street reform, giving a tax cut to the wealthy and overturning the Affordable Care Act, Obama's signature health-care reform legislation. "Turning Medicare into a voucher system is change, but we don't want that kind of change," Obama said (Nakamura, 11/1).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Obama Harkens Back To The Past And Pitches Change In Closing Argument To Voters
Obama blitzed Thursday from Wisconsin to Nevada to Colorado, where he wrapped up his day with a 10,000-person rally in Boulder. The president acknowledged that many Americans may be "frustrated" that change hasn't come fast enough. To them, Obama offered a new definition of change that included passing the health care overhaul, bailing out the auto industry, ending the Iraq war and putting the U.S. military on a path to leave Afghanistan (11/2).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Former CEO Romney Would Enter White House With Broad Agenda, Focus On Data Over Ideology
Should he prevail Tuesday, Mitt Romney would bring a CEO’s eye to the White House and a policy agenda based on a general set of principles and focused more on data than ideology. … Chief on the "To-Do" list, out of necessity: dealing with the so-called fiscal cliff of tax increases and budget cuts. He also promises to start repealing and replacing the president's signature health care law and overhauling the nation's tax system. And he would likely have to work with a divided Congress to accomplish it all (11/2).

NPR: Romney’s Baffling Claim About Medicare Pay Cuts For Doctors
Health care in general — and Medicare, in particular — have been big parts of this year's presidential campaign. But over the last couple of weeks, Republican Mitt Romney has been making a new claim that doesn't quite clear the accuracy bar. It has to do with $716 billion in Medicare reductions over 10 years included in the federal health law, the Affordable Care Act. And it's become a standard part of Romney's stump speech (Rovner, 11/2).

ABC: Obama, Biden Now Sing Different Tune On Medicare 'Cuts'
Democrats have defended the $716 billion in Medicare savings in the health care law by arguing that seniors would not be affected because  the only spending cuts would be in future payments made to Medicare providers — there would be no cuts whatsoever to actual Medicare benefits. But in 2005, then Sens. Joe Biden and Barack Obama had an entirely different view of spending reductions to Medicare providers. First, some context: The $716 billion in Medicare cost savings in the health care law includes $415 billion in reduced future payments to providers (primarily hospitals, Medicare Advantage, home care, and about $20 billion in fraud prevention). These are only “cuts” in the way Washington defines "cuts" — the payments to providers continue to rise, but at a slower rate (Karl, 11/1).

Detroit Free Press: As Election Draws Near, President Barack Obama Expands Lead In Michigan
President Barack Obama heads into the final weekend of the campaign with a 6-percentage-point lead in Michigan over Republican rival Mitt Romney, a new Free Press/WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) poll shows. The survey suggests that the Democratic incumbent has regained some momentum heading into Tuesday's election. Obama had 48% support to Romney's 42%. Ten percent of likely voters were undecided or chose a third-party candidate. … Three-quarters of Romney's supporters considered themselves enthusiastic -- about the same as the number for Obama. Obama got higher marks in the poll on issues such as protecting Social Security and Medicare; making health care available to everyone, and handling the war in Afghanistan. Romney, who made a fortune in private equity and venture capital, slightly topped the president -- 46%-44% -- on handling the economy and creating jobs (Spangler, 11/1).

The New York Times' The Caucus: In Swing States, Obama Leads On Handling Medicare
President Obama continues to lead Mitt Romney on the question of who would better handle Medicare in the crucial swing states of Florida, Ohio and Virginia, recent polls of likely voters in all three states found. But as Election Day nears Mr. Romney has narrowed the gap in Florida and Virginia. A series of Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News polls released this week found that while Mr. Romney still trails Mr. Obama on Medicare in all three states, he has made up ground in Florida and Virginia (Cooper and Kopicki, 11/1).

The Washington Post: Michael Bloomberg Endorses Obama
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed President Obama on Thursday, citing climate change as the primary factor and Hurricane Sandy as the event that impelled him to make a choice. The mayor also cited the education competition Race to the Top, health-care reform, gay marriage and abortion rights as reasons to vote for Obama (Weiner, 11/1).

The Wall Street Journal: Union Is Top Spender For Democrats
The Service Employees International Union has emerged as the top outside spender on Democratic campaigns this year, surpassing even President Barack Obama's main super PAC. SEIU has had particular success in recent years in organizing workers in the health-care and service industries. About half of its members work in health care, including everything from janitors and nurses to home-care workers and security officers. The union's membership of 2.1 million is up from 1.6 million 10 years ago, even after it lost some during the economic downturn (Trottman and Mullins, 11/1).

Medscape Today: The Last Medscape 2012 Election Survey
When looking at how the responses trended, the surveys suggest that, like the general electorate, healthcare providers' opinions on President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney have shifted over time -- sometimes dramatically. The surveys provide insight into what healthcare professionals think about the platforms of the presidential candidates and highlight the role of healthcare in the upcoming election (Peckham, 11/1).

 

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