How Health Policy Is Playing On The Campaign Trail
Today's news from various sections of the campaign trail include reports about whether President Barack Obama's gamble on health care will pay off, details of GOP presidential candidates' plans to hold down health care costs, and some of the policy particulars being advanced by Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.
Roll Call: Health Care And Florida: Will Obama's Gamble Pay Off?
Barack Obama's signature domestic legislative achievement, the overhaul of the nation's medical insurance system, was a huge political gamble from the start. It got through Congress by the narrowest of margins in the spring of 2010, and seven months later, it clearly played a major role in the Democrats' loss of their control of the House. Today, polls reveal a public that remains deeply divided about the law, with more than half of those surveyed by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation reporting an unfavorable view (Adams, 12/5).
Des Moines Register: How Would Candidates Really Hold Health Care Costs Down?
Republican presidential candidates have spent more time denouncing "Obamacare" than explaining their own answers to Americans' health care concerns, but that could change as the campaign winds on, several observers say. "They ought to be out there talking about what they think the system should look like," said Michael Franc, a vice president for the conservative Heritage Foundation (Leys, 12/2).
Reuters: Special Report: The Legacy Of Romney's Health Care Rx
Massachusetts' first-in-the-nation statewide health care program has become an issue in the presidential campaign because one of its chief architects, then-governor Romney, is now trying to distance himself from the program, which is similar to the federal health care reforms promoted by President Barack Obama. The "individual mandate" in both plans, which penalizes any citizen who does not obtain insurance coverage, is considered intrusive and even unconstitutional by Romney's rivals for the nomination. In a different political climate, however, Romney could just as easily claim Massachusetts health care reform as the signature achievement of his administration. Five years into the program, which launched in June, 2006, there is enough data to evaluate some of the brightest claims and biggest fears about the reforms (Krasny and Clarke, 12/2). Watch the companion video.
Reuters: Will The New Newt Gingrich Have Staying Power?
The inconsistencies have raised questions about Gingrich's true beliefs, as well as his staying power as the conservative of the moment in the Republican campaign. They also have given his opponents a significant target for their criticisms. Before running for president, Gingrich said the U.S. government should require people to buy health insurance or face penalties. Now Gingrich, who did not respond to requests to comment for this story, says that such a mandate is "unconstitutional" (Sullivan, 12/4).
In other news, developments surrounding the politics of abortion —
The New York Times: Anti-Abortion Groups Are Split On Legal Tactics
A widening and emotional rift over legal tactics has split the anti-abortion movement, with its longtime leaders facing a Tea Party-like insurrection from many grass-roots activists who are impatient with the pace of change (Eckholm, 12/4).