KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Presidential Campaign Focus Turns To Budget, Medicare Issues

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are using their differences on Medicare issues and entitlement spending -- in the context of the nation's fiscal challenges -- as key campaign themes.   

Politico: The Barack Obama, Mitt Romney Budget Battle
"What is clear is that neither party, nor either likely presidential candidate, has put forward a solution that fixes the country’s dire fiscal situation," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told POLITICO. ... He said the candidates could appeal to the broader electorate by having an honest conversation about what’s needed, which he and many others view as a mix of broad-based tax increases, painful cuts to all discretionary spending programs and trims to long-term entitlement spending, including Medicare and Social Security (White, 4/5).

The New York Times: Romney Says Obama Hides His Agenda
He said there was no better example of the president's vacillation than on the question of federal spending, especially on Medicare and other entitlement programs. "He has failed to enact or even propose a serious plan to solve the entitlement crisis," he said. … Politically, the Ryan approach would require making some unpopular choices in an election year. The Republican argument, which Mr. Romney echoes, is that the alternative is an irresponsible bleeding of the nation’s already debt-laden balance sheet. The Ryan plan seeks to rein in debt largely through changes in entitlement and discretionary spending rather than through increases in tax rates (Cushman, 4/4).

The New York Times: Budget Author, A Romney Ally, Turns Into A Campaign Focus
For Mr. Obama, painting the conservative lawmaker as a sort of wild-eyed wingman to Mr. Romney carries clear benefits, according to his advisers: it yokes Mr. Romney to the unpopular elements of the Ryan budget — from deep cuts in cherished social programs to a Medicare overhaul that could drive up costs for future retirees and fundamentally change the popular health plan — and it makes it tougher for Mr. Romney to tack to the center once he gets past the primaries (Landler, 4/4).

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