In Debate, GOP Hopefuls Clash On Health Reform, Medicare
One of the questions emerging in this primary contest is whether entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security will continue to be a political "third rail," or if public concerns about government spending have overcome this conventional wisdom.
Los Angeles Times: Candidates Agree: Keep Medicare Drug Program, Get Rid Of Waste And Fraud
Just after the candidates sparred over whether Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, the focus shifted to another topic of great interest to seniors – the Medicare prescription drug benefit embraced by former President George W. Bush and enacted during his tenure. They all agreed to maintain it, but that to pay for the program, government waste must end. (How they define waste is probably what distinguishes them from each other) (Abcarian, 9/12).
USA Today: Rick Perry Must Be The Front-Runner: Everyone Attacks Him
The emerging Republican campaign could test whether Social Security remains the "third rail" of American politics — that is, touch it and die — or if strains on entitlement programs and concerns about government spending have altered the calculations and changed the risks (Kucinich and Page, 9/13).
Dallas Morning News: Bachmann, Santorum Slam Perry On HPV Mandate
Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum teamed up to slam Rick Perry on his controversial HPV mandate. Bachmann said Perry's executive order never should've been done. "To have innocent 12-year-old little girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just flat out wrong," she said. Perry admitted that his executive order was a mistake and that he would do it differently if given another chance (Benning, 9/12).
Los Angeles Times: Mitt Romney Says Massachusetts Plan Wasn't Model For 'Obamacare'
Mitt Romney defended the health care plan he enacted as governor during Monday's Florida debate while rival Rick Perry defended Massachusetts' right to chart its own course, even if he didn't agree with what the state settled on (Memoli, 9/12).
The Hill: Romney Says Mass. Health Care Law Isn't Like Obama's
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney defended his health care record Monday as his more conservative rivals noted its similarity to the federal health care reform law. "I'm not running for governor; I'm running for president," Romney said during Monday's debate. "And if I'm president, on day one, I'll direct the secretary of Health and Human Services to grant a waiver from Obamacare to all 50 states. It's a problem, it's bad law, it's unconstitutional, I'll get rid of it." Romney tried to distance the reforms he crafted as Massachusetts governor from President Obama's health care law (Baker, 9/12).
Los Angeles Times: Tim Pawlenty Backs Former Rival Mitt Romney For President
Just weeks after abandoning his campaign for president, Tim Pawlenty is injecting himself back in the race with an endorsement of Mitt Romney. The expression of support for his former foe is a quick turnabout for the former Minnesota governor, who earlier this summer lampooned Romney over his health care reform plan, which Pawlenty called "Obamneycare" (Memoli, 9/12).
CBS News: Debate Exchange Offers Window Into Larger Question About Role Of Health Care
An interesting exchange in tonight's CNN Republican debate was prompted by the question to Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tex., about who should pay for medical care of the uninsured. "A healthy 30-year-old young man has a good job, makes a good living, but decides, you know what? I'm not going to spend $200 or $300 a month for health insurance because I'm healthy, I don't need it. But something terrible happens, all of a sudden he needs it. Who's going to pay if he goes into a coma, for example? Who pays for that?" asked host Wolf Blitzer. Paul, a medical doctor, first responded by saying American society is primed to believe government would pay for it. "Well, in a society that you accept welfarism and socialism, he expects the government to take care of him,' he said (Hendin, 9/13).
In other political news -
USA Today: Poll: 'Gaping Divide' Between Democrats And 'Switchers'
Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt said it is still early in the campaign and there will be a "vigorous discussion" on the president's and Republican field's differing views on Medicare, Social Security and job creation. Third Way concluded "there is a gaping ideological divide between Democrats and these crucial voters," but the group also found that the moderate voters are disillusioned with Tea Party-aligned Republicans, whom they view by a 3-to-1 margin as pushing the country in the wrong direction. Democrats and Obama could do well in winning swing voters by arguing that the Republican presidential field is beholden to the Tea Party, Kessler said (Madhani, 9/13).