KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Policies Still In The Campaign Trail Mix

How is Medicare playing among the ever-important bloc of Florida senior citizens as the two presidential candidates vie for their votes? Similarly, it's also a hot topic in the Montana Senate race, which is one of the most intensely watched in the country.  

The Wall Street Journal: Medicare Fails To Sway Senior Votes
None of the current proposals to bolster Medicare changes benefits for the current generation of senior citizens. But the 88-year-old Republican [Leonard Yordon] and many other retirees of both parties speak of little else when talk here turns to the presidential election. Senior citizens are a coveted voting bloc in Florida, where they make up about a quarter of the electorate in this highly contested swing state. ... Polls now show Mr. Romney leading among the state's elderly voters by 6% to 12%—a sign he may be weathering reasonably well the charges by Democrats that he and running mate Paul Ryan would undermine Medicare (Campo-Flores, 10/29).

(Montana) KULR8: Tester Talks Medicare and Social Security
[Democratic] Sen. Jon Tester joined forces with the state's Republican Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger to criticize Congressman Dennis Rehberg for supporting what they call "irresponsible changes" to the programs. Tester said he wanted to set the record straight on Medicare and Social Security and how he and Rehberg differ. Bohlinger joined Tester saying the Democrat will protect benefits for Montana's seniors (Chen 10/30).

All the while, as high profile celebrities and surrogate speakers are appealing to last-minute voters, health policies often come up -  

USA Today: Pearl Jam Guitarist Asks Voter To Back Health Care Law
Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready may seem like an odd poster-child for President Obama's health care law. But the musician, 46, has Crohn's disease, an incurable gastrointestinal disorder. He says he was denied health insurance coverage twice because of his condition and needed the help of a patient advocate to navigate the bureaucracy to get his treatment (Camia, 10/30).

The Hill: Celebs Back Obama In 'Yes We Plan' Video
Celebrities have cut a video for Planned Parenthood's political arm to encourage votes for President Obama. The two-and-a-half minute "Yes We Plan" video echoes's much-viewed "Yes We Can" video backing Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. The new film does not mention GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney or specific policy debates, but alludes to disagreements between Romney and Obama over abortion rights and the mandate that most employers cover birth control for free in their health plans (Viebeck, 10/30).

The Hill: Romney Surrogate Says Roe v. Wade Won't Be Overturned
Former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) told voters in the crucial swing state of Ohio Monday that Roe v. Wade is not in danger of being overturned. Coleman, a surrogate for Mitt Romney, is Jewish and opposes abortion rights. He made his comment during a town hall with Jewish voters in Beachwood, a suburb of Cleveland. "The reality is that choice is an issue for a lot of people, an important issue. President Bush was president eight years; Roe v. Wade wasn't reversed" (Vieback, 10/30).

And physician-led PACs are making their voices heard in key House and Senate races -

Politico Pro: Physician PACs Step Up Spending
Several of the most prominent physician-led political action committees are on track to spend more on the 2012 election than they did in 2008 and 2010. The most notable increase comes from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which is on pace to nearly double its tally of political spending in 2008 and 2010. The group has spent $1.1 million so far on the 2012 race. ... The group has given money to some key Democratic races (Haberkorn, 10/31).

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