KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

GOP Presidential Hopefuls Debate Health Law, Medicare

The Republican presidential contenders skewered President Barack Obama's handling of the economy and pledged to repeal his historic health overhaul.

The New York Times: 7 In GOP Square Off, 7 Months From First Vote
The spotlight was trained squarely on Mitt Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, who has come under withering attack for the health care plan he signed into law that resembles the plan Mr. Obama pushed through Congress. But his rivals treaded lightly, and he relentlessly turned the conversation back to Mr. Obama, emerging unscathed from his return to the debate stage four years after losing his first bid for the party's nomination (Zeleny and Rutenberg, 6/13).

The Washington Post: Republican Presidential Candidates Attend New Hampshire Debate
Monday's forum included nearly all the leading contenders. But most of them remain largely unknown nationally, a factor that could explain their reluctance to go at one another. At this early stage, they are introducing themselves to a nationwide audience, and testing their competitors' strengths and vulnerabilities (Tumulty and Rucker, 6/13).

The Associated Press: Republicans Assail Obama, Not Each Other In Debate
Republican White House hopefuls condemned President Barack Obama's handling of the economy from the opening moments of their first major debate of the campaign season Monday night, and pledged emphatically to repeal his historic year-old health care overhaul.

Los Angeles Times: GOP Rivals Go Easy On Romney In First Debate
The nationally broadcast two-hour debate, the first major meeting of the 2012 presidential contest, hewed to Ronald Reagan's "11th commandment" of intraparty harmony. On more than one occasion, rival candidates ducked direct invitations to attack Romney. Tim Pawlenty, who had skewered Romney's health care mandate on Sunday as "Obamneycare," shrank from leveling that charge face to face on the New Hampshire debate stage (West, 6/13).

The Wall Street Journal: Candidates Run Against Regulation
Republican presidential hopefuls on Monday pressed for the dismantling of government regulations drawn up over 40 years, using a candidates' debate here to call for the scaling back or elimination of environmental, labor, financial and health care rules (Weisman and King, 6/14).

McClatchy: GOP Hopefuls Point Fingers At Obama, Not Each Other
The first debate of the 2012 presidential cycle in this state, which traditionally holds the nation's first primary, lacked the kind of barbs and bile these affairs usually generate. Romney, the clear New Hampshire poll front-runner, didn't get challenged hard on health care and abortion, two areas where critics say he's changed his views over the years. … Pressed to repeat his charge - uttered only a day earlier - that the two plans were "Obamneycare," Pawlenty wouldn't confront Romney. When pushed, he said he used the term because Obama compared his health care plan to Romney's (Lightman, 6/13).

Minnesota Public Radio: At NH Debate, Bachmann And Pawlenty Compete For Spotlight
Pawlenty and Bachmann both expressed support for a U.S. constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. Both also underscored their opposition to legalized abortion. Bachmann declined an opportunity to criticize Pawlenty for supporting abortion in cases of rape or incest (Zdechlik, 6/13).

Des Moines Register: Bachmann Made Most Of Her Opportunity
Romney or anti-Romney: Romney's unruffled. In his first televised debate, national poll-leader Mitt Romney had a target on his back. The former Massachusetts governor emerged with nary a hair out of place, even though at least three questions invited other candidates to attack him - on health care, his past abortion position and his opposition to the auto industry bailout. Romney also didn't particularly stand out, however. He had no real headline moments, no memorable one-liners and no moments when anyone might suspect his blood pressure rose even a few points. His best attempt at humor was reporting the Boston Bruins hockey score. Even so, it was the task of every other candidate on the stage to try to ruffle Romney's feathers. They failed (Obradovich, 6/14).

ABC: 'Obamneycare' In The Spotlight: Tim Pawlenty Once Praised Mitt Romney's Health Care Law
ABC News' Huma Khan reports: GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty this weekend assailed challenger Mitt Romney's health care plan as "Obamneycare" but the former Minnesota governor once praised that same law, and himself isn't immune from criticism on his health care record. In a 2006 speech, the former Minnesota governor called the individual mandate - one of the most contentious parts of the Affordable Care Act and the Massachusetts law - "a worthy goal and one that we're intrigued by and I think at least open to. He, however, stopped short of proposing it for his own state (Khan, 6/13).

Politico (Video): Pawlenty Beats Hasty N.H. Retreat
Tim Pawlenty's puzzling decision at Monday's debate to abandon a new line of attack on Mitt Romney's health care record is prompting fresh doubts among members of his own party about his readiness to confront the GOP frontrunner. One day after Pawlenty linked Romney's Massachusetts health care plan with the federal health reform law as "Obamneycare" in a nationally televised interview, the former Minnesota governor retreated from the sharp critique at the first debate featuring Romney (Martin, Burns and Haberman, 6/14). 

Kaiser Health News features excerpts of the debate, including the Romney/Pawlenty exchange on the Massachusetts health law and discussion of the future of MedicareKHN also tracked last night's initial round of coverage of the contest.  

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