KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Views On Presidential Race: NYT’s Kristof Recounts Sick Friend’s Need For Health Reform; Biden’s Bizarre Response On ‘Death Panels’

The New York Times: A Possibly Fatal Mistake
My wife and I attended my 30-year college reunion a couple of weekends ago, but the partying was bittersweet. My freshman roommate, Scott Androes, was in a Seattle hospital bed, a victim in part of a broken health care system. Strip away the sound and fury of campaign ads and rival spinmeisters, and what's at stake in this presidential election is, in part, lives like Scott's. ... Scott now, at age 52, is suffering from Stage 4 prostate cancer, in part because he didn’t have health insurance. President Obama's health care reform came just a bit too late to help Scott, but it will protect others like him — unless Mitt Romney repeals it (Nicholas D. Kristof, 10/12). 

The Wall Street Journal: Dr. Strangelaugh
The oddest moment of the (vice presidential debate) came after Ryan detailed ObamaCare's cuts in Medicare, including the establishment of the Independent Payment Advisory Board. The IPAB is popularly known as the "death panel," but Ryan did not use that phrase; he simply referred to "this new ObamaCare board." Joe Biden, however, called it by its popular name: "You know, I heard that death panel argument from Sarah Palin. It seems every vice presidential debate I hear this kind of stuff about panels." Actually, there was no mention of death panels in the 2008 vice presidential debate; the subject didn't come up until the following year, when President Obama was pushing ObamaCare (James Taranto, 11/12).

The New York Times: The Radical Is Romney, Not Ryan
Clinging tightly to a studied vagueness when pressed for unpopular specifics, Mr. Romney has put forward a budget framework that would not eviscerate Medicare and Social Security, as is commonly believed, but would slash everything else that's not defense. ... Mr. Obama and Mr. Ryan have each endorsed similar packages of about $950 billion of savings over 10 years, while Mr. Romney has opposed any reduction, making it virtually impossible for him to achieve his overall spending limit (Steven Rattner, 10/14).

The New York Times: Death By Ideology
Mr. Romney has no idea what life (and death) are like for those less fortunate than himself. Even the idea that everyone gets urgent care when needed from emergency rooms is false. Yes, hospitals are required by law to treat people in dire need, whether or not they can pay. But that care isn’t free — on the contrary, if you go to an emergency room you will be billed, and the size of that bill can be shockingly high. Some people can’t or won’t pay, but fear of huge bills can deter the uninsured from visiting the emergency room even when they should (Paul Krugman, 10/14). 

The Washington Post: Romney The Product
You can imagine Romney someday saying: "Politicians are products, my friend." There's no other way to explain why a candidate would seem to believe he can alter what he stands for at will. … Without much effort, you can find video online in which Romney declares with passion and conviction that he is absolutely committed to a woman's right to choose — and video in which he declares with equal passion and conviction that he is absolutely opposed to abortion and committed to the right to life. ... There is no candidate I am familiar with who has tried to have as many positions on abortion in one lifetime as Mitt Romney (E.J. Dionne Jr. 10/14). 

The Boston Globe: Romney's Medicaid Shell Game
Mitt Romney is lambasting federal aid in his campaign for the presidency, including derisive comments against those who receive government assistance. But he pulled all the stops to pursue federal aid as governor of Massachusetts, even hiring "revenue maximization" contractors to scour federal programs for every possible penny — and using financial schemes to maximize and then divert the aid from his needy constituents (Daniel L. Hatcher, 10/12).

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