KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Romney’s Defense Of Massachusetts Health Plan Triggers Political Questions

In what was billed as a major health care speech, Mitt Romney defended his state's plan but distanced himself from the federal health law, despite many similarities to the law Mitt Romney signed while governor. The circumstances have him walking a political tightrope.

The New York Times: Romney Defends Massachusetts Health Plan, But Concedes Flaws
Former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts came here on Thursday to address the biggest threat to his nascent presidential campaign, defending core elements of the health care law enacted in his home state five years ago even as he tried to reassure conservatives that he would work to roll back the similar national overhaul President Obama signed into law last year (Rutenberg, 5/12).

Los Angeles Times: Mitt Romney: No Apologies For Massachusetts Health Care Plan
Mitt Romney derided President Obama's national health care law as a federal "power grab" Thursday while defending the "more modest" state plan it was modeled after, beginning an effort to deal with his biggest vulnerability ahead of the Republican primary campaign. In his first major speech since announcing the formation of a presidential exploratory committee, Romney said he would not apologize for the Massachusetts law he signed as governor in 2006, even though some have said that doing so would be politically advantageous (Memoli and West, 5/12).

The Washington Post: Mitt Romney Defends His Health Care Record
His greatest achievement is also his biggest liability. It is the kind of paradox that would test the most agile of politicians, of whom Mitt Romney is not one. So on Thursday, the former management consultant who is also a putative front-runner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination turned to an old and reliable ally: the PowerPoint presentation. He was attempting to lay to rest criticism of the landmark health care law he put into place as governor of Massachusetts, and to make a convincing case for how he would do things differently if he were elected president (Tumulty, 5/12).

The Wall Street Journal: Romney Defends State's Health Plan
Some Republicans who have made the federal health law the rallying cry for a conservative resurgence are openly questioning how they could put forward a nominee who, as governor, championed and secured his own universal health plan, one that included a state mandate that individuals buy health insurance (Weisman, 5/13).

The Associated Press: Analysis: Romney Makes Tough Choice On Health Care
Republican Mitt Romney faces a deeply unpleasant choice in his all-but-announced bid for the White House. He signaled Thursday that he'd rather be charged with inspiring President Barack Obama's health care overhaul than with switching positions on a fourth big issue that's vital to conservative voters (Babington, 5/13).

NPR: In Mitt Romney's Defense Of Health Plan, Echoes Of Obama
Poor Mitt Romney. The former GOP governor of Massachusetts, now running for president, is trying desperately to simultaneously defend and disavow the landmark universal health law he signed in 2006 (Rovner, 5/12).

McClatchy: Romney Tries To Shed Health Care Baggage, But Will Voters Buy It?
Mitt Romney tried Thursday to slay his biggest political demon: his support as governor of Massachusetts of a sweeping health care overhaul widely considered a prototype for the national "Obamacare" law that Republicans revile. The likely 2012 Republican presidential candidate vigorously defended the state program, calling it a "state solution to a state problem." However, Romney insisted, the Massachusetts plan is certainly not right for all of America (Lightman, 5/12).

The Hill: Romney Promises His Own Medicare Plan
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) said Thursday that he would release a Medicare reform plan that would "not be identical, but shares objectives" with the Medicare reforms contained within Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) 2012 budget. Romney didn't specify when he would be expected to release his plan for Medicare reform, but warned it would differ in some ways from Ryan's. "There's a lot you're going to expect from me on Medicare," he said (O'Brian, 5/12).

The Boston Globe: Critics Open Fire Against A 'Fatal Flaw'?
The opposition among Republicans to Mitt Romney's health care record runs deep, from the visceral vehemence of the grass-roots Tea Party movement to the dressing-down delivered yesterday by the bastion of conservative intellectuals: the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. The common theme is that Romney's authorship, as Massachusetts governor, of the state's 2006 health care overhaul was an unforgivable violation of conservative principles, making him unfit to be the GOP standard-bearer against President Obama next year (Arsenault, 5/13).

Politico: Fact-Checking Romney On Health Care
Presidential contender Mitt Romney may strongly support the health reform law he passed - but he also made some questionable statements about what's actually in it. In his Thursday afternoon speech, Romney said that Massachusetts health reform did not include publicly run insurance. "There's no government insurance program," he said, noting that Massachusetts residents "buy their own private insurance" under the law he signed in 2006. But Massachusetts reform does actually include a government-administered plan: Commonwealth Care, which is run by the state agency that oversees Massachusetts's health exchange, the Massachusetts Connector (Kliff, 5/12).

Kaiser Health News: Video: Romney Defends Mass. Health Plan: 'Right For The People Of My State'
Kaiser Health News provides video excerpts of a major speech given yesterday by Mitt Romney in which he defended the health reform law he signed while governor of Massachusetts. And, he used a PowerPoint presentation to lay out a very different vision for what he would do if he becomes president, which includes reliance on more market-based competition among insurers and health care providers (5/12). KHN also tracked yesterday's news reports before and after the speech.

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