Health Issues Are Hot Topics On Campaign Trail


Topics: Health Costs, Medicare, Politics, Health Reform

Sep 24, 2012

From their appearances Sunday night on CBS’ 60 Minutes to their answers to questions about their proposals for Medicare, President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney draw stark differences in their visions.

The New York Times: Obama And Romney Offer A Possible Preview Of Their First Debate
Mr. Romney said he would consider means-testing for Social Security benefits for future retirees, and he put some distance between his plans for reshaping Medicare as a voluntary voucher program and the proposal by his running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan, to reduce payments to the health care program by some $700 billion. … Mr. Obama took a fairly combative tone in his interview, defending the administration’s actions on financial bailouts, health care legislation and efforts to help homeowners and job seekers (Broder, 9/23).

Politico Pro: On ’60 Minutes,’ Obama, Romney Clash On Health
President Barack Obama held out his health care reform law Sunday night as a historic first-term accomplishment that will help cover 30 million people and change the rules for health insurers. That was Obama’s main health care message in an interview on “60 Minutes.” And in a separate interview on the same program, Mitt Romney vowed, again, to get rid of it. “I will repeal Obamacare. It costs about $100 billion a year,” Romney said. He omitted that the CBO said those costs are offset by revenue and savings that are also part of the law. Obama spoke in broad terms about the climate of partisanship in Washington, goals met and goals postponed (Kenen, 9/23).

The New York Times: In Ryan Country, Obama Keeps Up Attack Over ’47 Percent’ Remarks
In Wisconsin, after signs of tightening in the polls following Mr. Ryan’s selection, Mr. Obama seems to have regained his footing. … “We’ve always thought Wisconsin would be harder for us this year than it was four years ago,” the campaign press secretary, Jen Psaki, said to reporters on Air Force One. “It’s only natural that when Paul Ryan, a native son, was announced, that the Romney team tried to create some buzz around their potential in Wisconsin.” Ms. Psaki argued that the more voters in Wisconsin heard about Mr. Romney’s proposals on issues like tax policy and Medicare, the less they would support him (Landler, 9/22).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Obama On Medicare: No Voucher, But Higher Costs For Baby Boomers And The Comfortably Retired
He’ll never turn Medicare into a voucher, but if you are lucky enough to be financially comfortable in retirement, odds are you’ll pay higher premiums under President Barack Obama’s plan. It’s not just the 1 percent who’ll feel the pinch. And take note, baby boomers: The Medicare you get won’t be quite as generous as what your parents’ generation enjoys. A higher deductible here, a new co-payment there, and the tweaks add up (9/24).

The Associated Press: Romney Medicare Plan: Key Details Still In Flux
With important details still hazy, The Associated Press asked the Romney campaign five questions about how his Medicare plan would affect consumers on critical matters of costs and benefits. … Broadly speaking, Romney calls for shifting people now age 54 and younger into a different sort of Medicare. Once eligible, these people would get a fixed payment from the government, adjusted for inflation, to pay for either private insurance or a government plan modeled on Medicare. Current beneficiaries and those nearing retirement could stay in the traditional program (Alonso-Zaldivar, 9/23).

Politico: The Medicare Fact Wars: Checking Obama And Ryan’s AARP Speeches
There was Paul Ryan again, telling the AARP audience in New Orleans on Friday that President Barack Obama raided Medicare to pay for “Obamacare.” And there was Obama again, saying those cuts just made Medicare stronger. Yes, fact checkers have blown the whistle on those claims before. Many times. But they keep coming back. And as long as Obama and Mitt Romney keep arguing about Medicare — which they’ll keep doing from now until election day — voters will have to sort out what to believe and what not to believe (Nather, 9/21).

The Medicare Newsgroup: The Democratic Party’s Approach to Medicare Reform
While political platforms are notorious for their vagueness and often contentious election-year rhetoric, the Democratic National Platform makes it clear that the president and his party “adamantly oppose any efforts to ‘privatize’ or ‘voucherize’ Medicare; unlike our opponents we will not ask seniors to pay thousands of dollars every year while they watch the value of their Medicare benefits evaporate.” Although the Democrats have not released an official document outlining their agenda for Medicare reform, some insight into their guiding philosophy can be found in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and budget documents (Wasik, 9/21).

Meanwhile, news outlets also report on polls and premium costs –

Politico: Poll: More Trust President Obama On Medicare
More swing-state voters trust President Barack Obama to handle Medicare than Mitt Romney, according to a poll Monday. Fifty percent of registered voters in 12 swing states trust Obama to handle Medicare, compared to 44 percent who trust Romney more, according to a Gallup poll. Nationally, Obama has a 51 percent to 43 percent edge (Robillard, 9/24).

The Hill: Poll: Swing-State Voters Prefer Obama Over Romney On Medicare
A new poll shows swing-state voters trust President Obama better than GOP rival Mitt Romney to handle Medicare. A new Gallup poll finds voters in twelve battleground states say Obama will better address the challenges facing Medicare by 50 percent to 44. Among all voters surveyed nationally, Obama holds a 51 to 43 edge over Romney on the issue.  The poll though was conducted before a leaked video tape from a private fundraiser showed Romney claiming “47 percent” of voters were dependent on government and would vote for Obama (Mali, 9/24).

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Romney Reports $15,211 In Health Premiums In 2011
Mitt Romney reported paying $15,211 for health insurance premiums in 2011, as disclosed in his tax returns, and has his insurance through a Blue Cross Blue Shield Massachusetts plan, a campaign aide confirmed late Friday (Radnofsky, 9/21).

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.

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)

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