KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Two Views Of Romney/Ryan Victory Impact On Abortion; Unmarried Women Gain Electoral Clout

The New York Times: If Roe V. Wade Goes
It is no secret that Mitt Romney and his running-mate, Representative Paul Ryan, are opponents of abortion rights. ... They would depart slightly from the extremist Republican Party platform by allowing narrow exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the woman. Beyond that, they would move to take away a fundamental right that American women have had for nearly 40 years. ... We do not need to guess about the brutal consequences of overturning Roe (10/15).

The New York Times: Paul Ryan, Catholic Dissident 
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s stance — that he personally opposes abortion but does not believe in imposing those beliefs on others — came across as a wishy-washy mélange of moral intuitions. In contrast, Representative Paul D. Ryan, who laid out his ticket's policy to "oppose abortion with the exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother," appeared to represent the principled, Catholic anti-abortion position. But while Mr. Ryan's vision for abortion policy is far more restrictive than current law, it is not the one advocated by the Catholic hierarchy. ... The problem with the position is that it is neither principled nor realistic (Michael Peppard, 10/15).

The Wall Street Journal: To the Wavering Voter
No, abortion rights and access to contraception will not be jeopardized if Mitt Romney becomes president. Not remotely, not vaguely, not even close. ... It's not a question of Mr. Romney's sincerity on social issues. It's the fact that since Roe v. Wade became the law of the land almost 40 years ago, Republican presidents have named seven justices to the Supreme Court, while Democratic presidents have named only four. Guess what? Roe v. Wade is and will remain the law of the land. ... No, your grandmother will not be thrown off a cliff. Then again, she might just be if you think that we can retire 76 million baby boomers over the next 18 years without adjusting to a world of longer lifespans and potentially lower trend growth (Brett Stephens, 10/15).

Los Angeles Times: The Politics Of Common Sense
[Romney and Ryan] have pledged that any changes in Medicare or Social Security will not affect anyone currently 55 or older. Why oldsters would want to be left out of reform, if it's going to be so wonderful, is a bit of a mystery. So are the details of what Romney and Ryan have in mind. But those under 55, Ryan said in the vice presidential debate, will have "a voluntary choice of making their money work faster for them within the Social Security system." What he means here is not clear. What he is trying to imply is very clear (Michael Kinsley, 10/16).

Politico: Getting Back The 47 Percent 
Unmarried women — women who are divorced, separated, widowed or never been married — are a huge, rapidly growing part of the electorate and they could make the difference in key races this year. They make up 25 percent of the voting age population nationally and account for an even larger percentage of the population in 19 battleground states ... In the national survey, we learned that unmarried women reject "you're on your own" economics ... They strongly agree that we should "use the budget to help the middle class by seriously investing in education, rebuilding America and making sure Medicare is there" now and in the future (Page Gardner and Stan Greenberg, 10/16).

The Washington Post: How Romney's Extreme Policies Insult Us All
At first glance, it might seem as if Mitt Romney’s path — from voting in the 1992 Democratic presidential primary to being the 2012 Republican presidential nominee — was linear. But over the past, winding, 20 years, Romney has held every possible view on every possible issue — often at the same time. When it comes to policy, he's been downright promiscuous. He was for a woman's right to choose before he was against it. ... He was for – no, he wrote – health reform before he was against it … before he was for the parts that everybody liked. This isn't a platform — it's a punchline (Katrina vanden Heuvel, 10/15).

Kansas City Star/McClatchy: Mr. Romney, People Die Because They Lack Health Insurance
While discussing the U.S. health care system, Romney amazingly and wrongly said that Americans don’t die for lack of health insurance. ... Oh yes we do, Mr. Romney. This nation has millions of people who become ill because they can't afford preventive medicine. We have sick people who can't get well because they can't afford medications. We have people who live in pain because they can't pay for treatments. And yes, Mr. Romney, we have people who die sooner than they should because they don't have insurance. Different studies have placed the number from 18,000 to nearly 45,000 people a year (Barbara Shelly, 10/14).

The Boston Globe: The Attack On Medicare
Despite his attempts to distance himself from the Republican Party, in his short tenure Senator Scott Brown has not stood up for the improvements that Obamacare brings. He has repeated the Republican candidates’ misstatements about Medicare cuts. He has voted to repeal Obamacare, including the Medicare benefits it offers. ... We need leaders who know that by better meeting the needs of patients and focusing on research and innovation to find even better ways to give care, we can control costs the right way, improve outcomes, and preserve and protect Medicare and Medicaid. Elizabeth Warren understands that (Dr. Donald M.Berwick, 10/15).

The Washington Post: Our Choice In Virginia: Tim Kaine For The U.S. Senate
Two former Virginia governors, Timothy M. Kaine and George Allen, are running for the U.S. Senate seat that Mr. Allen fumbled away six years ago. They are partisan stalwarts who disagree on deficit reduction, energy policy, health care, abortion, the death penalty and much else. The contrast in character and intellect is even more stark. ... In their debates, Mr. Kaine has displayed a command of detail while Mr. Allen trades in gauzy hyperbole. In one such exchange, it was apparent that Mr. Allen did not understand how birth-control pills work nor the implications of "personhood" legislation he supports, which declares that life begins at the moment of conception. As Mr. Kaine has pointed out, such a measure could imperil legal birth-control pills (10/15).


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