As GOP Convention Picks Up, Health Issues Draw Attention

Mitt Romney presidential campaign, 2008

Mitt Romney presidential campaign, 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a GOP p...

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a GOP presidential hopeful, campaigns May 9 in Ames. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Topics: Health Costs, Medicare, Medicaid, Politics, Health Reform, States

Aug 28, 2012

News outlets report on how the most conservative Republicans are uniting around Mitt Romney, even as he appears more open to embracing the Massachusetts health law he signed while that state’s governor.

The Wall Street Journal: The Right Unites Behind Romney
Conservatives have cheered the official Republican Party platform, but Democrats are trying to use it to paint Mr. Romney as out-of-step with the rest of the country. The Romney campaign has given conservatives occasional reasons to panic. A senior adviser told CNN during the primaries that Mr. Romney would “hit the reset button” once he locked up the nomination, famously comparing the general-election fight to an Etch a Sketch. … This past weekend, Mr. Romney cited the health-care law he signed as Massachusetts governor as an example of his support for women’s health-care issues. Conservatives dislike the law because it requires individuals to secure health insurance, like the federal law that Mr. Obama signed in 2010. … Yet there’s plenty for conservatives to like in the platform Republicans are expected to release this week, a kind of formal mission statement for the party (O’Connor, 8/27).

The Hill: Romney Book Distributed At GOP Convention Contains Pro-Health Care Reform Content
Copies of Mitt Romney’s book, distributed at the GOP convention, retain a sentiment anathema to the GOP base — that the Massachusetts healthcare reform law could be a model for the nation. The sentence that makes this case was changed for No Apology’s paperback version, but reporters in Tampa received copies with the original wording along with other swag. On page 177 of those copies, Romney writes that “portable, affordable health insurance” can be achieved “for everyone in the country, and it can be done without letting government take over healthcare” (Viebeck, 8/27).

The Washington Post’s Wonk Blog: The Republican Plan To Overhaul Health Care
The 2008 Republican party platform on Medicare and Medicaid was pretty vanilla. It called for minor tweaks to the program that just about any health wonk could get behind, things like better coordination between doctors and more vigilance against fraud. The whole section came in at about 200 words. Politico has obtained a draft of the 2012 proposal and, for health care, four years has meant a sea change. The Republican party now throws its weight behind a complete restructuring of both entitlement programs (Kliff, 8/27).

The Wall Street Journal: Ryan ‘Roadmap’ Blazed Rocky Trail To Prominence
The initial version of (Paul Ryan’s) “Roadmap for America’s Future,” in summer 2008, was treated as an afterthought by party leaders, and some were openly hostile. Fearful of political backlash, just eight Republicans signed up for his conservative wish list: rewrite the tax code, scrap employer-based health care, rework Medicare and Social Security. Today, many of Mr. Ryan’s ideas have become the de facto Republican Party platform (O’Connor, 8/27).

Looking ahead to a possible Romney administration, who would get key staff jobs? Politico offers insights.

Politico: Who’s On The Inside Track For A Romney Cabinet
Mitt Romney said his Cabinet and White House staff will be stacked with men and women from the business world, but his top advisers sketched out for POLITICO a team comprised of many familiar faces in Washington. Already on the inside track: several veterans of George W. Bush’s administration and a number of women — but not necessarily a single Democrat, … And one name advisers return to time and again is a person little-known to most Americans: Mike Leavitt, a fellow Mormon who is creating a government-in-waiting plan for Romney. Leavitt is the prototypical Romney Cabinet pick — loyal, low-key and diligent, just the kind of person Romney likes to surround himself with. Leavitt did two jobs for Bush: ran the Environmental Protection Agency and the Health and Human Services Department and is a lock for one of the most important jobs if he wants it — White House chief of staff or Treasury secretary, the advisers said (Allen and Vandehei, 8/28).

Meanwhile, during convention speeches, television ads will offer counterpoints and arguments —

The Associated Press: Between Convention Speeches Come The Campaign Ads
President Barack Obama is “taxing wheelchairs and pacemakers.” Mitt Romney would bring “an end to the Medicare promise.” … Outside the halls for the two national party conventions, the candidates and their deep-pocketed allied groups are airing millions of dollars of television commercials — regardless of whether they are factual or not — to reinforce the messages sure to be delivered within (Bakst, 8/28).

This is part of Kaiser Health News’ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.


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