KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Democrats Confident That Medicare Issue Will Help Them Win In November

News outlets are reporting that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that the Republican plans for Medicare are driving votes to Democratic candidates.

The New York Times: Challenged on Medicare, G.O.P. Loses Ground
Maria Rubin is one of the coveted independent voters in [Florida] ... She does share her age (63) and, more quickly, her opinion on Medicare: “I’m not in favor of changing it, or eliminating it.” ... The latest New York Times/CBS News poll, conducted over the last week, found that Mr. Obama held an advantage over Mr. Romney on the question of who would do a better job of handling Medicare. That is ... a shift from just last month, before the parties’ national conventions, when the two men were statistically tied on the issue (Calmes, 9/15).

CNN: Pelosi Says Ryan Pick Makes It Easier For Dems To Take House
A CNN/ORC poll taken earlier this month indicated Medicare was among the top three most important economic issues for voters, after unemployment and the federal deficit. And a New York Times survey last week showed a significant majority of voters wanted Medicare to remain unchanged, rather than shift to a system like the one Ryan has proposed (Liptak, 9/16). 

Politico: Pelosi: GOP Medicare Stance Can Deliver House To Dems
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney may have delivered control of the House to the Democrats by putting the Medicare issue center-stage in the November election and selecting Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his running mate, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in an interview aired Sunday. ... "On August 11th, when Governor Romney chose Ryan, that was the pivotal day," the California Democrat said (Gerstein, 9/16).

The Washington Post: Nancy Pelosi: Democrats Have 'Excellent Chance' To Take Back House Majority
“The issues are with us,” Pelosi said in an interview broadcast Sunday morning on CNN’s “State of the Union.” She pointed to Ryan’s budget proposal that revamps Medicare into a voucher program for Americans currently 55 and under as a major focal point in the battle for the House majority and a reason for Democratic optimism. (Sulllivan, 9/16).

Los Angeles Times: Pelosi Says Medicare Will Help Democrats Win Majority In House
“We have been saying there are three important issues in this campaign. And in alphabetical order, they are Medicare, Medicare, Medicare,” she said. ... “We were on a path. I would have said to you then we were dead even. Well, the momentum is very much with us, the Medicare issue in this campaign. We have the message, we have the messengers, we have the money, we have the mobilization. We have a very excellent chance to take back the House,” Pelosi said (Little, 9/16).

The Hill: Pelosi: Ryan Boosts Democrats’ Chance Of Winning Back House
The GOP ticket though has gone on the offensive over Medicare, seeking to dent the Democratic advantage on the issue. Romney and Ryan have accused the Obama administration of weakening the program with $716 billion in “disastrous cuts” to fund his own healthcare reform bill. The White House has countered that those reductions in spending are to Medicare over the next decade and came from trimming waste and fraud (Mali, 9/16).

The Associated Press: With 7 Weeks To Go, Obama-Romney Race Still Tight
Frustration is showing in some GOP circles because Romney has failed to move ahead [of] Obama despite months of highlighting the nation's high jobless rate and the millions of dollars spent pushing an economic message on TV. Romney allies are urging him to find a message that will persuade disillusioned voters to give him a chance. They reject the notion that Romney is careening from topic to topic, despite recent emphases on Medicare and international leadership (Bakst and Babington, 9/15).


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