Not Your Typical Presidential Debate Forum For Obama, Romney


Official photographic portrait of US President...

Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Peggy Girshman

September 27th, 2012, 11:01 AM

There’s nothing unusual about the way The New England Journal of Medicine displays the “Perspective” section this week: In dueling columns, under an original article on a “novel androgen-receptor blocker” for prostate cancer. But the authors of two of the perspectives are far from typical: B. Obama and M. Romney.

The introduction to both is basic:

The editors asked the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees, President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, to describe their health care platforms and their visions for the future of American health care. Their statements follow.

And though the audience is far different from those at typical campaign stops, both candidates brought out familiar points.

Mitt Romney promises to repeal the health law and to replace it:

In the health care system that I envision, costs will be brought under control not because a board of bureaucrats decrees it but because everyone — providers, insurers, and patients — has incentives to do it. Families will have the option of keeping their employer-sponsored coverage, but they will also be empowered to enjoy the greater choice, portability, and security of purchasing their own insurance plans. As a result, they will be price-sensitive, quality-conscious, and able to seek out the features they want. Insurers will have to compete for their business. And providers will find themselves operating in a context where cost and price finally matter. Competition among providers and choice among consumers has always been the formula for better quality at lower cost, and it can succeed in health care as well.

Romney says he would make no changes to Medicare for today’s beneficiaries or those enrolled for the next 10 years and he advocates for Medicaid block grants to the states.

Obama promotes the features of the health law that have already proved popular, such as beginning to close the Medicare prescription drug doughnut hole and coverage for young adults on their parents’ insurance plans. And he promises:

If I am elected for a second term, I will follow through on all the work we have started together to implement the Affordable Care Act. I have also been clear that additional steps are needed. We need a permanent fix to Medicare’s flawed payment formula that threatens physicians’ reimbursement, rather than the temporary measures that Congress continues to send to my desk. I support medical malpractice reform to prevent needless lawsuits without placing arbitrary caps that do nothing to lower the cost of care.  I also know we must continue to support life-sciences research and ensure that our regulatory system helps bring new treatments and tools to pharmacies, doctors’ offices, and hospitals across the country

Obama and Romney both provided the standard NEJM disclosure form, a typical way scientific journals ensure that readers know about any funding source or conflicts of interest.

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 27th, 2012 at 11:01 am.

Congressman Poe and Governor Mitt Romney

Congressman Poe and Governor Mitt Romney (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And About Paul Ryan…


Topics: Health Costs, Medicaid, Politics, Health Reform

Sep 24, 2012

Some conservatives want to hear more from the GOP vice presidential pick regarding his proposals for Medicare and Medicaid, and less of the campaign’s more cautious talking points.

The New York Times: Conservatives Want To ‘Let Ryan Be Ryan’ On Campaign Trail
Mr. Ryan still has high-profile moments of combativeness and takes on fights that Mr. Romney does not. On Friday, he appeared at the annual AARP convention and drew boos as he called for repeal of Mr. Obama’s health care law and laid out the approach that he and Mr. Romney would take to address Medicare’s financial troubles, which would encourage more private-sector competition in the government-run program (Gabriel and Weisman, 9/23).

The Washington Post: Among Some Paul Ryan Backers, Disappointment At Romney Campaign Trajectory
Conservatives had hoped that Mitt Romney‘s choice of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.) as his running mate would make Romney act more like Ryan — bold, specific, confident. Instead, in the six weeks since Ryan became the GOP vice presidential nominee — and particularly in the three weeks since the Republican National Convention in Tampa — there has been mounting concern among Republicans that the pick has made Ryan look more like Romney — vague, cautious and limited to pre-set talking points (Sonmez and Fahrenthold, 9/24).

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.

Mitt Romney in 2007 in Washington, DC at the V...

Mitt Romney in 2007 in Washington, DC at the Values Voters conference (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Number Of Physicians In Congress Could Grow By 50 Percent


Congress House

Congress House (Photo credit: stevecadman)

Topics: Politics, Medicare, Health Reform

Sep 18, 2012

In other congressional-election news, The New York Times reports on a New Jersey race in which Medicare is a key issue.

Medpage Today: More Docs Hope To Call D.C. Home
Depending on how the votes add up this November, the number of physicians roaming the halls of Congress could grow by half — from 20 to 30. A total of 28 physicians have their names on the ballot. That includes 17 incumbents and 11 challengers. Of the 20 physician members of Congress, 17 are in the House and three in the Senate. All of the physician House members, except for Rep. Ron Paul, MD, (R-Texas), who made an unsuccessful bid for the White House, are running for reelection. Two senators — Rand Paul, MD, (R-Ken.) and Tom Coburn, MD, (R-Okla.) — are not up for reelection (Pittman, 9/17).

The New York Times: Widow Takes On Congressman Who Ousted Her Husband
[Shelley] Adler and her Democratic allies have pounded away at [Republican Jon] Runyan for supporting a House Republican budget proposal that would overhaul Medicare, the health care program for older Americans. The Democratic attacks, which claim that the Republican budget would gut Medicare, have grown more persistent since the architect of that budget, Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, was chosen as Mitt Romney‘s running mate. Mr. Runyan has argued that Ms. Adler and her Democratic allies are not only distorting the issue but are actually the ones who would endanger Medicare (Hernandez, 9/17).

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.

Medicare Policies Continue To Claim Campaign Trail Attention


Topics: Medicare, Politics, Health Reform

Sep 14, 2012

The presidential and vice presidential candidates compare and contrast their plans, and some fact checkers set to work on sorting out what they are saying.

Politico: Obama: Best Medicare Solution Is ‘Smarter’ Health Care
President Barack Obama said Thursday that the right way to cut Medicare spending is by making health care “smarter” — not by shifting costs to seniors, as he claims the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan Medicare plan would do. Campaigning in Golden, Colo., Obama said the best way to get Medicare savings is to cut out wasteful health care spending. In a more efficient health care system, “instead of five tests you get one test, and it’s emailed everywhere,” Obama said (Nather, 9/13).

The Washington Post’s The Fact Checker: Romney’s Medicare Remarks: Would He Pass Costs On To Seniors Or Not?
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney faced questions about his policy proposals during an interview that aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”… The Ryan plan would eventually cap government payments toward Medicare and provide future generations of seniors with premium-support payments …  to purchase coverage through traditional Medicare or on the private market. (David) Gregory asked Romney: “If competitive bidding in Medicare fails to bring down prices, you have a choice of either passing that cost on to seniors or blowing up the deficit. What would you do?” … Romney pointed to Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D as proof that competitive bidding works to bring down costs. Let’s look at how those entitlement programs impact federal spending and determine how much they really compare to the Ryan plan (Hicks, 9/13).

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Obama, Ryan Plan To Address AARP
Questions about Medicare and Social Security will be front and center in the presidential campaign next week when President Barack Obama and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan address the senior group AARP in back to back sessions on Sept. 21. Mr. Obama will speak via satellite, the group said (Meckler, 9/13).

The New York Times: Biden Hammers GOP Ticket’s Domestic Policies
Mr. Biden attacked Mr. Ryan in particular, tying details from his House budget plan to Mitt Romney as he criticized the Republicans on education, tax cuts for the wealthy, Medicare and a refusal to compromise on debt reduction. Mr. Ryan’s addition to the Republican ticket has raised the pressure on President Obama in Wisconsin, Mr. Ryan’s home state, whose rightward tilt since 2010 already assured that it would not be the comfortable win Mr. Obama enjoyed four years ago. On Wednesday, Mr. Obama unveiled his first television advertisements in the state (Gabriel, 9/13).

Meanwhile, Democrats are focusing on the health law as a motivator for fundraising.

The Hill: Dems Raise Funds To ‘Protect ObamaCare
Democrats are hoping to draw on support for President Obama’s healthcare law as they fundraise for November. In an email to supporters Thursday, the Obama Victory Fund 2012 asked for donations using an appeal from Stacey Lihn, the mother of a child with a heart defect. Lihn also spoke at the Democratic National Convention earlier this month — an event that conspicuously embraced the Affordable Care Act. “When you have a sick child, you have to constantly worry about so many things. For me, one of them is whether an insurance company can take away my daughter’s health coverage,” Lihn wrote in Thursday’s email (Viebeck, 9/13).

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.

With his family by his side, Barack Obama is s...

With his family by his side, Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States by Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr. in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2009. More than 5,000 men and women in uniform are providing military ceremonial support to the presidential inauguration, a tradition dating back to George Washington’s 1789 inauguration. VIRIN: 090120-F-3961R-919 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Exploring The Campaign’s Health Policy Buzzwords, Proposals


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

Sep 12, 2012

The NewsHour compares the policies advanced by the Obama administration and the Romney campaign. Meanwhile, Bloomberg News offers an analysis on how GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney proposes to change Medicaid.

NewsHour (Video): Making Sense Of Health Care: Competing Claims On Campaign Trail About Reform
Paul Solman compares and contrasts “Obamacare” policy with health care reform proposals from Mitt Romney. Economists on both sides of the political debate discuss increasing efficiency, technological innovation, market competition and vouchers (9/11).

Bloomberg: Medicaid To Lose $1.26 Trillion Under Romney Block Grant
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney would strip Medicaid of $1.26 trillion over nine years as part of a plan to do away with the open-ended approach to funding the U.S. health-insurance plan for the poor, a Bloomberg Government study found. Romney proposes to convert Medicaid to a fixed allotment of money from an entitlement tied to economic indicators and a state’s caseload. Payments from the federal government would grow at 1 percentage point above inflation a year, creating the funding reduction, in exchange for fewer rules on how states use the money, according to the study released yesterday (Wayne, 9/11).

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.

I took this picture at the "Ask Mitt Anyt...

I took this picture at the “Ask Mitt Anything” townhall at the NHIOP (Saint Anselm College) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Democrats Plan Attack On GOP Medicare Plan


Mitt Romney presidential campaign, 2008

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

Topics: Delivery of Care, Medicare, Politics, Health Reform

Aug 31, 2012

The Wall Street Journal reports the Obama campaign will offer counter arguments to Republican proposals to revamp Medicare at the Democrats’ convention next week.

The Wall Street Journal: Democrats Return Fire Quickly On Medicare
The Obama campaign plans a counterattack against Republican proposals to overhaul Medicare, with the aim of showing at next week’s Democratic convention that the president’s plan offers more economic security for Americans. At their convention in Tampa this week, Republicans have thrust Medicare into the heart of the presidential campaign by trumpeting a plan to shift Medicare beneficiaries to private insurance plans. Democrats on Thursday seized on Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s prime-time speech, saying that his approach to Medicare would leave the elderly high and dry (Radnofsky, Meckler and Nicholas, 8/30).

Reuters: Medicare’s Political Importance Goes Beyond Seniors
The Medicare debate promises to be front and center in this fall’s presidential campaign, as not just seniors but aging baby boomers focus on retiree healthcare. Recent polling data shows that the issue resonates with boomers in key swing states (Morgan, 8/31).

Meanwhile, the Romney campaign is looking for doctors to help get out its message on health care.

Medpage Today: New GOP Campaign Targets Doctors
Mitt Romney‘s presidential campaign is making a push for physician donors, telling them they could have a bigger voice in health reform if the party is elected in November. The campaign’s Physicians for Romney Victory, established in recent weeks, is targeting doctors who are against the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The law wasn’t crafted with physician input, national co-chair Greggory DeVore, MD, toldMedPage Today. Although the American Medical Association and other groups supported passage of the law, less than 20% of physicians in this country are AMA members, he said (Pittman, 8/30).

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.

Romney Barely Mentions Health Care In Acceptance Speech


Romney

Romney (Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service)

Topics: Health Costs, Politics, Health Reform, Medicare

Aug 31, 2012

The Republican presidential nominee doesn’t offer details on his plans for Medicare or the health care law. Nonetheless, several outlets look at what’s ahead on that topic from the GOP ticket.

Politico: In RNC speech, Mitt Romney Gives Passing Mentions To Health Care, Medicare
Mitt Romney’s most significant political speech of the 2012 campaign made only a passing reference to two of the biggest issues in the entire election: Medicare and the future of President Barack Obama’s health care law. In the whole speech, which lasted about 45 minutes, there were exactly two lines about health care. One was the same attack on Obama’s Medicare cuts that Paul Ryan made last night. The other was the standard pledge to repeal “Obamacare” (Haberkorn, 8/30).

The Washington Post: Romney Draws Battle Lines In GOP Acceptance Speech
Romney’s tenure as governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007 was highlighted, but although video clips included his record on fiscal issues, there was no mention of his signature accomplishment, the passage of a health-care law that became a model for Obama’s plan (Balz, 8/30).

The Wall Street Journal: Romney Promises To ‘Restore’ U.S.
On a night that sought to show how his background prepared him for the reins of government and to reinvigorate the economy, Mr. Romney presented few policy details. While Mr. Romney has made his plans to cut tax rates a central argument in his campaign—and has focused recently on making changes to Medicare—he skimmed over both issues in his speech (McCain Nelson and Murray, 8/31).

Politico: Romney’s Health Care Challenge: A Mandate For What?
Republicans at the national convention insist they’ll have a mandate to reshape Medicare if their guys win the White House in November, but that doesn’t mean Paul Ryan’s ambitious reform plan will become law. In fact, the Republican ticket has been left plenty of wiggle room to dodge the proposal that made Ryan a hit with fiscal conservatives. Mitt Romney has been deliberately vague on the specifics. He’s not coming anywhere close to the level of detail of Ryan’s House budgets that outlined the plan. And that’s by design (Haberkorn and Allen, 8/30).

Los Angeles Times: Rhetoric vs. Reality: Now Comes The Hard Part For Romney-Ryan
Throughout the week, Medicare loomed as the starkest example of the clash between the rhetoric that roused the party’s truest believers and the cold political realities of waging a winning campaign. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the convention’s rousing keynote speaker, told the crowd that Democrats mistakenly believe “the American people don’t want to hear the truth about the extent of our fiscal difficulties.” … But Romney and Ryan did not run toward it in their nationally televised convention speeches. Rather than promote their plan — which Democrats say would increase healthcare costs for the elderly — Ryan attacked President Obama for cutting $716 billion in projected Medicare spending over the next decade (Finnegan, 8/31).

Modern Healthcare: Romney’s Key Goals Include Repeal Of Healthcare Reform Law
GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney electrified the crowd at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Thursday when he vowed to repeal the 2010 healthcare law if he’s elected president in November. That promise came when Romney laid out five goals that he and vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) plan to tackle if they win the White House this fall (Zigmond, 8/31).

CNN (Video): Romney And Overturning Obamacare
CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen explains Mitt Romney’s proposed health care reforms.

Medpage Today: GOP Outlines Post-Election Health Care Plans
Mitt Romney will completely repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and start a bit-by-bit approach at his own reforms if he’s elected president, his top health policy advisor said here this week. While some conservative policymakers agree there are reforms in the ACA worth keeping, a piecemeal approach is a better solution both legislatively and in implementation, Matt Hoffman, senior policy adviser for the Romney campaign, said at a healthcare town hall held at the Republican National Convention … Hoffman said Romney also supports allowing interstate shopping for insurance and caps on medical liability claims. The Romney campaign is also now championing the transformation of Medicare into a premium-support system, which congressman and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has proposed (Pittman, 8/30).

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.