KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Convention News: Dems Embrace Health Law

In speeches from the podium and in the buzz from the convention floor, it was apparent on the first day of the Democratic National Convention that delegates and speakers aimed to reclaim the health law as an important accomplishment of the Obama administration.

Politico: Dems Wear 'Obamacare' Proudly
Democrats gathered in Charlotte this week are fighting to reclaim the term "Obamacare" from the health reform law's opponents — a symbol of their determination to embrace the health care law and defend it from Republican attacks (Haberkorn, 9/4).

Politico Pro: Dems Evoke The Sweep Of Health Care History
It's been a while since Democrats have talked about President Barack Obama's health care law as a huge accomplishment — the cherished goal that every president since Franklin Roosevelt (or, in some versions, Theodore Roosevelt) had failed to achieve. On Tuesday night in Charlotte, N.C., that historic "sweep and scope" was back. "Seven presidents before him — Democrats and Republicans — tried to expand health care to all Americans. President Obama got it done," San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro said in his keynote address. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick called Obama "the president who delivered the security of affordable health care to every single American after 90 years of trying." Even Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel — Obama's old chief of staff — got into the mood (Nather, 9/4).

The Hill: Sebelius: 'ObamaCare Is A Badge Of Honor'
Democrats put healthcare reform front and center on the opening night of their convention Tuesday. Kathleen Sebelius, the administration's top health official, said she is proud of the Affordable Care Act, borrowing the "ObamaCare" moniker that the administration has sought to reclaim from Republican critics. "For us Democrats, ObamaCare is a badge of honor," Sebelius told the crowd. Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel also praised Obama's "courage" in pursuing the politically costly healthcare law. Sebelius and Emanuel followed several speakers who also praised the Affordable Care Act — specifically provisions that expand women's access to contraception and other preventive services. "This president made it illegal to discriminate against women" by banning insurers from treating pregnancy and domestic abuse as pre-existing conditions, Sebelius said (Baker, 9/4).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Better Off? Obama's Biggest Fans Get To 'Yes' Citing Osama bin Laden, Health Law, Autos
The question left some Obama campaign surrogates flustered this past weekend. Ask the delegates and you get a list of Obama successes: He ordered the mission that killed Osama bin Laden. His health care overhaul insured millions more Americans. Pell grants, which help pay for college tuition for 9 million students, are on the rise. The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is law. But the realities of a slow-moving economic recovery temper their enthusiasm (9/5).

The Associated Press: Arizona Woman Speaks About Impact Of Health Care Reform At Democratic National Convention
An Arizona woman spoke at the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina about the impact of health care reform on her family. Stacey Lihn addressed the convention Tuesday night in Charlotte and spoke about her daughter Zoe, who was born with a heart defect but can now get the care she needs (9/4).

Kaiser Health News: 'Obamacare' Plays Starring Role In First Night Of Convention
Several speakers cited the 2010 health law as a signature achievement of the Obama administration Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. This video sample includes Stacey Lihn, the mother of a child with congenital heart disease, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro and first lady Michelle Obama  (9/4).

Fact checking by several news organizations pinpointed efforts to overstate some things and omit others -

The Associated Press: Some Obama Programs Embellished By Democrats
Speakers at the Democratic National Convention portrayed President Barack Obama's presidency in glowing terms Tuesday evening, but sometimes left out important details or embellished his record. HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY KATHLEEN SEBELIUS: "Instead of sending your checks to your insurance companies, your insurance companies are sending a check to you. ...If you already have health insurance you like, you can keep it. "THE FACTS: Under the new health care law, insurers must issue rebates if they fail to spend at least 80 percent of premiums — Sebelius incorrectly said 50 percent — collected on medical care and quality improvement. But mostly it's the employer, not the worker, who gets the check (Alonso-Zaldivar, 9/5).

The Washington Post: Fact Checking The Opening Night Of The Democratic Convention
The Democrats launched their convention with a series of speeches that put the best possible gloss on the president's economic record and took various shots at GOP nominee Mitt Romney. First Lady Michelle Obama, who like Ann Romney gave a mostly personal testimonial about her husband, did not give us much material to fact-check. But here’s a round-up of other notable claims Tuesday evening (Kessler, 9/5).

The Washington Post: Factcheck: Sebelius' $6,400 Number Has Issues
Kathleen Sebelius in a speech to the Democratic convention asserted that the Ryan plan for Medicare would cost seniors "as much as $6,400" extra a year. But there are serious problems with that number, as the Factchecker explains in this video (Kessler, 9/4).

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