KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Romney Critics Cite Mass. Health Law, Planned Parenthood Statement

The Massachusetts health law, which GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney signed while governor and which includes an individual mandate, continues to haunt him in the primaries. Meanwhile, Democrats use his recent pledge to 'get rid of' Planned Parenthood to diminish his appeal with female voters.

MSNBC: Romney Plays Defense On Health Care
For Mitt Romney, the issue of health-care mandates just won't seem to go away. In an interview on FOX News today, Romney was questioned about his apparent support for an individual health-care mandate -- even on the federal level -- during a 2008 Republican presidential debate. Romney sidestepped the specific question on FOX and repeated his familiar line on the campaign trail: "I believe we should get rid of Obamacare," Romney responded. "It's a disaster." His critics continue to point to that 2008 Republican presidential debate, in which Romney responded to Charlie Gibson's comment that Romney "backed away from mandates on a national basis" by saying, "No, no, I like mandates" (Loffman, 3/14).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: In Planned Parenthood Remark, Democrats See Another Chance To Rip Romney On Women's Issues
A coordinated attack by Democrats on Mitt Romney's plan to "get rid of" Planned Parenthood to help balance the federal budget is part of a larger campaign to ensure that Romney and other Republicans lose credibility with female voters. The Romney campaign contends that the remark has been taken out of context. Yet even the debate over what Romney meant or didn’t mean underscores the political peril he faces as the GOP nomination fight rages on (3/15).

The Hill: Democrats Hammer Romney For Planned Parenthood Comments
Planned Parenthood and Democratic lawmakers slammed Mitt Romney on Wednesday for saying he would cut off federal funds to Planned Parenthood. During a recent interview in Missouri, while ticking off federal programs he would defund as president, Romney said, "Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that." Romney's remarks are the latest in a string of controversies that Democrats hope will help turn female voters against the GOP this fall (Baker, 3/14).

Boston Globe: Planned Parenthood Blasts Romney's Call To End Its Funding
The president of Planned Parenthood blasted Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney Wednesday, a day after the former Massachusetts governor said he would "get rid" of the federally funded program. "Really what that means," Cecile Richards said, "is he wants to get rid of preventive health care for three million folks every year who come to Planned Parenthood for reproductive health care, for cancer screenings, for birth control" (Borchers, 3/14).

But when it comes to the health law, some Democrats will face attacks, too -

The Associated Press/Modern Healthcare: Group's Ads In 5 States Criticize Healthcare Law
Democratic senators up for re-election in five states are being targeted by issue ads run by the conservative 60 Plus Association, but one senator being hit says the ads are full of false claims already debunked by independent fact-checkers. The 60-second ads feature singer Pat Boone warning seniors about portions of the federal healthcare law he says could harm their Medicare benefits and are identical to an ad run last November in Ohio targeting Sen. Sherrod Brown (3/14).

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