KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Poll: Economy Trumps Medicare, Women’s Health Issues

As delegates to the Republican National Convention gather in Tampa, a new poll finds GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama neck-and-neck. Romney will use the week to introduce himself to American voters, but news outlets warn against expecting much substantive policy to emerge from the speeches.

The Washington Post: Poll: Obama, Romney Neck-And-Neck Ahead Of Party Conventions
The Republican National Convention opens this week with President Obama and presumptive nominee Mitt Romney running evenly, with voters more focused on Obama's handling of the nation's flagging economy than on some issues dominating the political debate in recent weeks. … Fewer voters place great significance on other issues that have roiled the campaign, including newly minted GOP vice presidential candidate's plan to restructure Medicare, differences between the parties on women's issues and Romney's handling of his tax returns. The proposed Medicare changes included in Ryan's budget proposal in the House have been a focus of sharp debate since he was picked by Romney two weeks ago, and the specific changes to the health-care program are viewed negatively by about two to one (Balz and Cohen, 8/27).

The Wall Street Journal: New Policy Details Unlikely To Come At The Convention
And while policy debates have flared briefly, including over Medicare, the Romney campaign has decided, at least for the moment, not to divulge fresh details of its economic platform, campaign officials said. They believe there isn't public demand for specifics and worry new information could be used as a weapon by the Obama campaign, people close to the process said (Paletta and McKinnon, 8/26).

Politico Pro: A Health Care Guide To The RNC
This week's Republican National Convention is Mitt Romney's chance to introduce himself to the voters who are just checking into the presidential race for the first time. That means we'll be hearing a lot about his plans to repeal President Barack Obama's health reform law — in case anyone hasn't gotten the message by now. But we'll also be looking for clues about what more he has in store for health policy if he and Paul Ryan are elected in November. They'll have to decide how much more to say about his Medicare plan and what would come after a repeal of the health care law. And how will they talk about their opposition to abortion — and keep the party's social conservatives happy — without igniting the Todd Akin controversy all over again (Haberkorn, 8/27)?

Politico: GOP Platform: Cut Health Costs, Lose Weight
The draft Republican platform that was accidentally posted on the Republican National Committee website Friday – before POLITICO discovered it and the RNC took it down – suggests that people should do their part to hold down health care costs by avoiding unhealthy habits and lifestyles, which lead to expensive health care needs (Nather, 8/24).

On the ground in Florida, a dust-up -

Los Angeles Times: Dust-Up In Tampa As Ex-GOP Governor Backs Obama
In his Sunday op-ed, [former Gov. Charlie] Crist hit favorite Democratic Party talking points on Obama and took shots at the Republican ticket, most notably on Medicare, a top issue in a battleground state with a huge elderly population. Obama's opponents, Crist wrote, "would end the Medicare guarantee by creating a voucher that would raise seniors' costs by thousands of dollars and bankrupt the program" (Finnegan, 8/26).

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