KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Republicans May Be Vulnerable On Social Issues In Nov. Elections

Political news coverage includes highlight some continuing health care issues.

The New York Times: In Strategy Shift, Obama Team Attacks Romney From the Left 
Just hours after Romney accepted the endorsement of Gov. Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania, the Democratic National Committee was out with an ad "Mitt Romney and Tom Corbett: Too Extreme for Women." The ad featured the traditional spooky music accompanying video of Corbett defending his advocacy of a proposal that could make women undergo ultrasounds before receiving abortions, and saying women could “close their eyes” if they didn’t want to see what was on the screen (Cooper, 4/20).

Los Angeles Times: Mitt Romney Trying To Get Conservatives In His Corner
Mitt Romney is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, and for some conservatives that is a pill still too bitter to swallow. ... Carolyn Thomson, a 69-year-old from North Huntington who attended the GOP dinner in Greensburg, is one of Romney's targets. ... she continues to have misgivings about Romney's past support for abortion rights and his crafting of a Massachusetts healthcare plan that was a precursor to the president's federal plan. "There are some things I'm not really pleased about. Honestly, I think he's a RINO — a Republican in name only" (Mehta and Reston, 4/20).

Chicago Tribune: 5 Things The Early Polls Tell Us About The Obama-Romney Matchup
In the Pew survey, Obama had a significant lead among respondents who said their top priorities include healthcare, education, the environment and birth control. ... Obama was winning among women, 53% to 40%, while Romney was leading among men, 50% to 44%. In the CBS/New York Times poll, it was 49% to 43% for Romney among men, but the exact opposite among women. ... Sixty percent of female respondents said they were very or somewhat confident that Obama would make the right decisions on women's health issues, while just 43% said that of Romney. But only 5% of voters overall said women's health issues were the most important factor in their vote (Memoli, 4/20).

MSNBC: First Thoughts: Lookin' Like '04 Or Maybe '96
While Obama’s economic messaging might be better than Romney’s, health care remains a problem for the president. In the poll, 36% call the health-care reform a good idea, while 45% call it a bad idea. That’s down from the 39%-39% split in January. What’s more 49% favor repealing and eliminating the law, while 42% oppose that (Todd, Murray, Montanaro, and Brower, 4/20). 

CNN: Manchin May Buck Party In Presidential Voe
As a Democrat in conservative West Virginia, Sen. Joe Manchin has sought to make his independence clear. ... "I have some real differences with both Governor Romney and the President, as I have said many times," he said in the statement. "I think there are many West Virginians like me who have deep concerns about Governor Romney understanding the challenges ordinary people face. And there are many West Virginians who believe that he's out of touch, especially because of his plan to end Medicare as we know it" (4/20).

The New York Times: Concern in G.O.P. Over State Focus on Social Issues
The recent flurry of socially conservative legislation, on issues ranging from expanding gun rights to placing new restrictions on abortion, comes as Republicans at the national level are eager to refocus attention on economic issues. Some Republican strategists and officials, reluctant to be identified because they do not want to publicly antagonize the party’s base, fear that the attention these divisive social issues are receiving at the state level could harm the party’s chances in November, when its hopes of winning back the White House will most likely rest with independent voters in a handful of swing states (Cooper, 4/20).

Politico: Paul Ryan Goes National
[A]s his public profile has soared, [Rep. Paul] Ryan has quietly built a national political operation that’s flush with cash and designed to defend himself and his party against attacks. ... But it certainly doesn’t hurt to have this kind of impressive operation in the works if Ryan gets tapped as vice president — or if he wants to make a national run himself in the future. ... The downside: His time in the House leaves plenty of fertile ground for attack, and his aggressive overhaul of Medicare and proposed tax cuts for the wealthy make him an easy target for opponents (Sherman and Bresnahan, 4/20).

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