KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Presidential Campaign Veers Back To Women’s Issues, Mass. Health Law

Obama and Romney campaigns are getting tangled in questions about women's life choices. But at the same time, Democrats are seeking to use the sixth anniversary of Romney's Massachusetts health law signing to remind voters about its similarities to the federal health overhaul.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: The Race: War Fever Over Religion, Women And The High Court Enlivens U.S. Presidential Race
Everywhere you turn in politics a war is raging -- at least of words. Republicans say President Barack Obama is pursuing wars on religion and the Supreme Court. Democrats counter that Republicans are waging a war on women. And now Republicans are accusing Democrats of mounting an offensive against women (4/12).

Los Angeles Times: Larger Women's Issues Loom Over Romney Campaign
While the campaigns tangled this week over ancillary issues like whether Romney was using a fair statistic to describe job losses among women during Obama's presidency, or the stances of several of his female surrogates on controversial issues like transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortions, the more crucial question is what the toll has been of his sometimes harsh rhetoric on issues of concern to moderate women, like budget priorities, immigration and the nation's social safety net (Reston, 4/12).

National Journal: Romney's Successor Ties Him To Health Care Law On Signing Anniversary
On the sixth anniversary of the signing of Massachusetts's health care reform law, Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick did not pass up an opportunity to tie Mitt Romney's name to the controversial measure. Patrick said on Thursday that Romney, who was governor when the law passed, played an important role in its development and should be "proud" of the large coalition of Democratic, labor and business leaders that made the legislation a reality. But more than just signing the bill, Patrick said Romney created one of the law's key tenants: the now-infamous mandate (Vasilogambros, 4/12).

The Hill (Video): Gov. Patrick: Romney's Contribution To Mass. Health Care Law Was 'Individual Mandate'
The Obama team attempted to use the anniversary of Massachusetts' healthcare reform law to link Mitt Romney to President Obama's controversial legislation. Obama's reelection campaign released a three-minute video Thursday portraying Romney as the inspiration behind the president's health care law. And Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) joined MSNBC's "Morning Joe" to tout the success of the state's legislation, which contains an individual mandate provision similar to Obama's national law (Sands, 4/12).

Boston Globe: Obama Campaign Video Accuses Mitt Romney Of Health Care Backtracking On Sixth Anniversary Of Massachusetts Law's Signing
Six years to the day after Mitt Romney signed Massachusetts' health care law, the Obama campaign released a video that serves as a sort of backhanded compliment, chiding the former governor for inconsistent statements about health care reform, even as it praises his work on the state law. The three-minute video features two men who helped craft both Romney's law and Obama's law vouching for similarities between the two and affirming Romney's belief in 2006 that Massachusetts' version could serve as a national model (Borchers, 4/12).

The Hill: Anti-Abortion Rights Groups Rally Behind Romney's Campaign
Two of the nation's leading anti-abortion-rights groups rallied behind Mitt Romney on Thursday following the exit of Rick Santorum from the presidential race. The Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List and the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) both endorsed Romney's candidacy, burnishing the former governor's credentials with conservatives. SBA had previously endorsed Santorum, while the NRLC had taken a wait-and-see approach out of fear of weakening the eventual nominee. Romney supported abortion rights during his 2002 campaign for governor, but has worked to convince Republicans he had a genuine change of heart in 2004 (Pecquet, 4/12).

And one Democrat says passing the health law -- politically, at least -- was probably not worth it --

Roll Call: Kentucky: John Yarmuth Says Health Care Law Probably Wasn't Worth Political Cost
Publicly meditating on the past is not a normal activity for vulnerable Members looking to get re-elected. But from his safe Louisville-based district, Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth (D) has the luxury of mulling about what could have been. In an interview with Roll Call on Wednesday, the three-term lawmaker was asked whether the Affordable Care Act — which will be a burden to Democrats for the second consecutive cycle — was worth the political cost. "Oh, politically? Politically?" Yarmuth paused for a moment. "Big picture, politically, it probably wasn't worth it. Policy-wise, it was worth it because it's going to move the country dramatically in the right direction," he said. "Even if it were to fail [at the Supreme Court], it's going to move the country dramatically in the right direction" (Miller, 4/12).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.