KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Romney, Santorum Continue War Of Words Over Health Law Mandate, ‘Template’

Mitt Romney's record on the individual mandate is coming up again as fellow GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum continues his drum beat that Romney's Massachusetts health reform law was the "template" for the national overhaul.

The Washington Post's The Fact Checker: Romney And The Individual Mandate, Again
There's been a considerable amount of discussion lately about whether Mitt Romney's old campaign comments and op-eds provide proof that he actually supports a federal mandate, contrary to what he claims and what Fact Checker Glenn Kessler determined about the matter in a previous column. Still, critics such as Rick Santorum continue to pound home the notion that the former governor advocated a national insurance requirement (Hicks, 3/22).

The Associated Press: Fact Check: Say What? Odd Campaign Pronouncements
Among Republicans, a punchy Rick Santorum declared that President Barack Obama's health care law makes the life of every single American dependent on the government. Seriously? However far-reaching, the law is neither life-giving, nor health-destroying, and most Americans probably won't feel a thing (Woodward, 3/23).

Reuters: Santorum Rips Romney On Health Care Before Top Court Arguments
Rick Santorum attacked presidential rival Mitt Romney on Thursday for creating "the template" for President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, spotlighting the issue ahead of crucial Supreme Court arguments on the law's constitutionality. At a campaign stop in Texas, Santorum renewed his charge that Romney had compromised his ability to challenge Obama on the federal healthcare law by backing a similar plan when he was governor of Massachusetts that included a mandate requiring people to buy insurance (Forsyth, 3/22).

National Journal: No Exit
One year ago, with the anti-"Obamacare" mantra of the midterm elections still reverberating, Mitt Romney's health care record was widely predicted to be his downfall. ... Romney's team is putting a positive spin, naturally, on the conflation of events. "The more times he gets to talk about his position and his plan's huge differences with Obamacare, the more it will register with voters that he wants to repeal it," said Romney adviser Ron Kaufman. "Any day Obamacare is in the news is a good day for Romney" (Reinhard, 3/23).

In Kansas, a third-party candidate is trying to take Obama on in the Democratic presidential caucus there --

McClatchy/Wichita Eagle: Anti-Abortion Activist Randall Terry Says He Would Defeat Obama In Kansas
Anti-abortion activist Randall Terry said he'll go to court to try to get his name on the ballot in the Kansas Democratic presidential caucus, a day after the state party determined he didn't meet the qualifications. Terry, who is running a quixotic campaign against President Obama with the stated goal of weakening the president in the November election, said keeping him off the ballot is a violation of the Constitution (Lefler, 3/23).

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