KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Care – And The ‘$10,000 Bet’ – A Hot Topic At GOP Debate

News outlets covered - and fact-checked - the Republican presidential candidates' debate Saturday night.

USA Today/Des Moines Register: Gingrich, Romney Take Jabs At GOP Debate
It was a Saturday night brawl in Des Moines, with Republican rivals clubbing each other and front-runner Newt Gingrich, who batted back at criticisms that he once supported mandating purchase of health insurance and that he makes inflammatory remarks (Jacobs, 12/11).

NPR: 'Newt-Romney' Dominates Iowa Debate
Romney's most memorable line of the night came at the goading of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who accused Romney of promoting a federal health care mandate — something Romney says is not true. Romney pressed his case.  "You know what? You've raised that before, Rick, and you're simply wrong," he said. Then he bet Perry $10,000 on the matter. Perry did not take the bet. It was an awkward moment (Gonyea, 12/11).

Politifact/St. Petersburg Times: Fact-Checking The Iowa Republican Debate
As for the bet, Rick Perry should be glad he didn't take it. ... We found that Perry was right that Romney's comments about health care were edited between editions but that Romney was consistent in his argument for state-level solutions to health care, and rated Perry's statement Mostly False (Adair, 12/10).

The Washington Post: Gingrich Come Under Attack In GOP Debate
Rep. Michele Bachmann, who was a consistent critic throughout the debate, and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum then joined in the fray, firing at Gingrich over his record in the House and for supporting an individual mandate in health care. ... Romney said he favored the mandate only for Massachusetts, while Gingrich favored it for the nation. Gingrich said he supported the mandate as an alternative to the health-care plan being advanced by former president Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, in 1993 and 1994 (Balz and Rucker, 12/11). 

CNN: Truth Squad: Bachmann Aims High With Health-Care Claim
The statement: "The NFIB tells us -- that's the small business agency -- that we will lose 1.6 million jobs over five years if we keep Obamacare." -- Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, at Saturday's Republican presidential debate in Iowa. The facts: The National Federation of Independent Business, the small-business lobby, did estimate in January 2009 that a national mandate for employers to provide health insurance would cost 1.6 million jobs over five years. But the study was done months before the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ... The verdict: Misleading. While Bachmann does accurately quote the NFIB's report, the figure is on the upper end of estimates, and it's based on projections about the legislation that differ from what Congress passed. (Smith and In, 12/11). More Baloney at ABC/Yahoo! Debate 
Romney wrongly said Obama is the only president ever to cut Medicare: Romney: Let’s not forget, only one president has ever cut Medicare for seniors in this country and it’s Barack Obama. That’s far from true. Numerous changes to rein in the rising cost of Medicare have been made over the years.  ... One dramatic example is the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, signed by President Bill Clinton. By one count, that measure required no fewer than 97 cuts in Medicare spending on teaching institutions, hospitals and home health agencies (Jackson, Kiely, Robertson, Farley and Gore, 12/11).

ABC News: Fact Checking The Debate In Iowa
Fact or Fiction Number 5: HPV Vaccine vs. Romney’s Health Care Plan. "And my view– you had a mandate in your state. You mandate that girls at 12 years old had to get a vaccination for a sexually transmitted disease. So it’s not like we had this big difference on mandates." That was the comparison made by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney to Texas Gov. Rick Perry at tonight’s ABC News/Yahoo! debate in Des Moines. So how do those two mandates compare? It’s a fair comparison (12/11).

And this morning, there continued to be reaction to the debate:

The New York Times: Rival Campaigns Seize On Romney’s $10,000 Bet
The Huntsman campaign has released a video replaying the moment and portraying instances in which Mr. Romney has spoken positively about mandates that people buy insurance, including answering “Well I think so,"’ when asked by the CNN anchor John King whether he saw his approach as “a good model for the nation." Mr. Romney has said repeatedly that he believes states, not the federal government, should choose whether a mandate is good for them, and he has vowed to repeal the Democrats’ health care plan should he win the presidency (Rutenberg and Barbaro, 12/11).

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