KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Romney Defends Mass. Health Law But Says It Doesn’t Diminish His Opposition To Federal Law

Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney this weekend fired back at Democrats who have often pointed to the state health plan he implemented as a model for the national law. Also, House Republicans take a close look at AARP and one GOP lawmaker is suggesting health care changes he would like to see.

The Boston Globe: Middle East, Check. Now About That Health Care Law?
It was billed as a foreign policy address, but it didn't take long before the most prominent issue that could haunt Mitt Romney's presidential campaign came up. The first question from the audience after his 24-minute address yesterday before the Republican Jewish Coalition (in Las Vegas) was not about Israel or unrest in the Middle East. It was about Romney's health care plan in Massachusetts. Romney largely defended the rationale of the Massachusetts plan, but he sought to distinguish it from President Obama's national plan by casting it as an issue of states' rights (Viser,4/3).

Politico: Mitt Romney Defends Massachusetts Health Care Law In Las Vegas Speech
Mitt Romney directly addressed the Obama administration's backhanded plaudits of his Massachusetts health care law Saturday, defending the law's controversial individual mandate for the first time and promising that it wouldn't impede an aggressive attack on the president and his health care policy. "I will take [President Barack Obama] head on and aggressively if I'm the nominee," Romney told about 150 members of the Republican Jewish Coalition in town for their winter meeting (Hunt, 4/3).

NPR: Republicans Challenge AARP's Tax-Exempt Status
AARP was in the congressional hot seat once again Friday. Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee said the senior group's lucrative operations resemble those of an insurance company, not a tax-exempt advocacy organization. Democrats, meanwhile, said the hearing looked like a witch hunt. It seems as though someone on Capitol Hill is always mad at AARP. Not so long ago, it was Democrats who didn't like the group's support of President George W. Bush's Medicare drug plan. This year it's the Republicans, angry that the group worked so hard to pass President Obama's health care law (Overby, 4/1).

The Hill: New Member Of The Week: Heck Targets Health Care Reform Replacement
Dr. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) campaigned in 2010 with a "repeal, repair, replace" mantra for the federal Affordable Care Act, using his unique position as an osteopathic doctor to criticize the legislation. He was an emergency room physician, has trained medical first responders during 9/11 and still commands an Army hospital as an Army reservist. Heck said now that the GOP House has voted to repeal the federal health care law, he wants to speed things up in terms of replacing it. He has plenty of ideas. "The approach I have is patient-centered, it's not the requirement to buy a certain package from a certain [vendor] and you're dictated what kind of coverage you must have," Heck said (Cox, 4/4).

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