First Edition: September 7, 2012
Today's headlines include examinations of health policy references in yesterday's Democratic convention speeches.
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Where In The World Is Jerry Brown?; IOM Report Focuses On $750 Billion In Inefficient Health Care Spending
Now on Kaiser Health News' blog, Sarah Varney reports on California Gov. Jerry Brown, his absence from the Democratic convention and efforts to implement the health law: "California's Jerry Brown, the governor of the most populous state in the union, a state that has aggressively pushed ahead with the Affordable Care Act even when it wasn't the "in-thing," is sitting out this year's Democratic National Convention. Like millions of American kids who returned to school this week, Brown has too much work to do, his office told the Sacramento Bee. He has some 800 bills that he must sign or veto by September 30, and Brown has warned state lawmakers that he plans to call a special legislative session on health care to ensure the approval of bills needed to keep up the state's break-neck pace implementing the health law" (Varney, 9/6).
Also on the blog, Ankita Rao reports on a new IOM report: "With physicians, hospital administrators and insurance companies on often diverging building plans, the idea that the health care system could fall apart like a badly built house is not surprising, according to committee members at a press conference on Thursday. They called for collaboration across different sectors of the industry" (Rao, 9/6). Check out what else is on the blog.
Los Angeles Times: Obama, Biden Make their Case For Four More Years
Spilling well past the hour of prime-time coverage allotted by the major TV networks, Obama offered a long list of achievements including passage of his sweeping healthcare overhaul, an end to the war in Iraq, the routing of Al Qaeda and a lessening of the U.S. dependency on foreign oil. … He did not give much detail on the goals a second Obama administration would pursue, though he vowed to … defend Medicare from efforts to turn it into a voucher program and oppose any attempts to privatize Social Security (Barabak, 9/6).
Los Angeles Times: Obama States His Case For A Second Term
At times scathing in his criticism, Obama said the Medicare voucher plan endorsed by Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, would leave America's seniors "at the mercy of insurance companies" (Parsons, Hennessey and Memoli, 9/6).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: In Convention Speeches, Obama And Romney Set Up Contrasts On Key Political Issues
On Medicare - Obama: Said he would never let Medicare be turned into a program in which seniors get a voucher that they in turn use to help buy private health insurance. Said he would reform Medicare but do it by reducing the cost of health care. Romney: Focused on criticizing Obama's health care overhaul, which takes nearly $700 billion out of the program over the coming decade by lowering payments to certain providers, mainly private insurers and hospitals. Has promised to overhaul those payment cuts (9/7).
The Washington Post: Political Conventions Get Deeply Personal
From heart-rending tales of premature babies to tactfully described female disorders, the organizers of the Republican and Democratic conventions have featured deeply personal stories of health struggles that in previous years might have been more at home on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" than at the podium of a national political event. … But the testimonials had a different purpose this week in Charlotte, where Democrats assembled to formally re-nominate Obama, and to take advantage of an engaged prime-time audience to push their talking points about women and the health-care law (Somashekhar, 9/6).
The New York Times: Checkpoint: A Night Of Speeches Under A Magnifying Glass
Mr. Biden criticized the Romney campaign on Medicare, saying, "What they didn't tell you is what they're proposing would cause Medicare to go bankrupt by 2016." But the actions he described would not end Medicare in four years. At issue is the Medicare trust fund … and what would happen to it if President Obama's health care law were to be repealed, as the Republicans have vowed to do. … The solvency of the trust fund has long been in question. Mr. Obama's health care law extended its solvency by curbing the growth of projected spending — the $716 billion Medicare cut that has been debated in the campaign — and by raising some revenues. As the 2011 annual report of the Medicare trustees put it, the financial status of the "trust fund is substantially improved by the lower expenditures and additional tax revenues instituted by the Affordable Care Act." Absent those savings, the trust fund will be exhausted sooner. What would happen then? (Cooper, 9/6).
The Washington Post's The Fact Checker: Fact Checking Obama's And Biden's Speeches At The Democratic Convention In Charlotte
In their defense of the administration’s policies Thursday night, President Obama and Vice President Biden sometimes took license with the facts or left out important information. Here are some highlights (Kessler, 9/7).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Schumer Wants Vote Soon On The Ryan Budget To Put GOP On Defensive About Medicare, Medicaid
Sen. Chuck Schumer says he wants the Senate to vote soon on the Ryan budget to put Republicans, including presidential running mates Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, on the defensive. The New York Democrat told The Associated Press Thursday that another public discussion and vote, this time on the Senate floor, would force the Republican ticket mates and GOP congressional candidates to defend the proposal's changes to government aid to seniors and the poor (9/6).
Los Angeles Times: Democrats Target Two GOP Congressmen From California With TV Ads
One ad slams Denham as a "career politician" who voted for a plan that would "essentially end Medicare" and cost seniors $6,400 more each year." The other accuses Bilbray of cozying up to special interests, alleging he has "raised thousands from Big Oil" and other interests he once lobbied for (Merl, 9/6).
Los Angeles Times: Romney Cedes Ohio TV Airwaves To Obama (At Least For Now)
Yet for reasons that his advisors declined to discuss, Romney has ceded the advertising airwaves to Obama over the last week in Ohio and other battleground states. … The Cleveland area is a Democratic stronghold where Obama trounced his Republican rival John McCain four years ago. But with 1.5-million television households in the Cleveland media market, which also covers the heavily populated Akron area, it is an essential part of any Romney scenario for winning Ohio (Finnegan, 9/6).
The New York Times' The Caucus: Ryan Does Not Bite Back After Clinton Attack
A day after Bill Clinton attacked Representative Paul D. Ryan's Medicare plan by saying "it takes some brass" to make the claims he has, Mr. Ryan did not mention the former president at a rally here on Thursday. Instead, Mr. Ryan repeated a staple of his stump speeches, telling supporters, "This debate about Medicare is a debate we want, it's a debate we're going to have and it's a debate we're going to win" (Gabriel, 9/6).
The New York Times: With Medicaid, Long-Term Care Of Elderly Looms As A Rising Cost
Medicaid has long conjured up images of inner-city clinics jammed with poor families. Its far less-visible role is as the only safety net for millions of middle-class people whose needs for long-term care, at home or in a nursing home, outlast their resources (Bernstein, 9/6).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Report: About 30 Cents Of Every Health Care Dollar Wasted; US Can Cut Costs Without Rationing
The U.S. health care system squanders $750 billion a year — roughly 30 cents of every medical dollar — through unneeded care, byzantine paperwork, fraud and other waste, the influential Institute of Medicine said Thursday in a report that ties directly into the presidential campaign (9/6).
The Texas Tribune/New York Times: Insurance Chief Answers Industry Bias Charges
She has been at the center of at least three public firestorms — for removing consumer protections in health insurance rules approved by her predecessor, for attending a campaign fund-raiser held by an insurance company and for suggesting that the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association raise premium rates (Aaronson, 9/6).
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