KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Poll: Obama’s Lead On Health Care Issues Narrows Post-Debate

Overall, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press poll found that GOP presidential pick Mitt Romney wiped out President Barack Obama's advantage and took the lead by four percentage points.  

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Romney Leaps Past Obama In Pew Poll
While the Pew poll shows notable gains for Mr. Romney, it still reflects a very close race. Messrs. Romney and Obama are tied among registered voters. Mr. Obama is still viewed as better able to connect with ordinary people, according to the survey. By small margins, the president is seen as the better candidate to deal with Medicare, health care and foreign policy. And more than half of voters – 53% — say that "It's hard to know what Romney really stands for" (Nelson, 10/8).

Politico Pro: Pew: Obama's Health Care Lead Narrows After Debate
Despite the enduring unpopularity of Obama’s health care law, voters in September believed he would do a better job on health care than Romney, 52 percent to 39 percent. That lead has now shrunk to 47 percent to 44 percent in favor of Obama in the days following the Oct. 3 debate. The same goes for Medicare (Millman, 10/8).

The Hill: Poll Shows Obama's Lead On Healthcare Shrinking
Medicare is a central line of attack for the Obama campaign, especially in the pivotal swing state of Florida. Romney and Ryan want to partially privatize Medicare, offering seniors a fixed amount of money to put toward either private insurance or traditional Medicare. Democrats say the plan would "end Medicare as we know it" (Baker, 10/8).

Meanwhile, McClatchy contrasts the different paths the two candidates have chosen on Medicare and Social Security -

McClatchy: Obama, Romney Offer Different Paths On Medicare, Social Security
Medicare is the nation's biggest buyer of health care, spending $550 billion last year to provide care for 48.7 million Americans. The problem is that the taxes paid by workers and employers to finance the program aren't covering the full cost, and the government since 2008 has been drawing off its trust fund to make up the difference. Barring changes, the trust fund runs out in 12 years – 2024 – and the government would have to raise taxes or cut services. ... President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney offer vastly different approaches to putting both popular programs on sound financial footing (Pugh, 10/8).

And look who is popping up on the campaign trail -

Politico: Experts: Sebelius Can Visit Ryan's District
When HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius visited Paul Ryan's district Sunday on behalf of President Barack Obama's reelection bid, she was careful to follow the rules: The campaign paid for the trip, not the government, and campaign officials said she was just there as a supporter, not as HHS secretary. So is that enough to make it OK? Legally, yes, experts on government ethics rules say. It doesn't look great, according to some ethics lawyers — but they insist that's the system we have (Nather and Cheney, 10/8).

Politico Pro: GOP Sends Doctors On 'Repeal' Tour
It's time to call in a doctor. The House Republican physicians are fanning out across the country this month, doing health-oriented campaign and fundraising events for Mitt Romney and other House members. It's part of a Republican strategy that's been in place since the debate over the health law started: Have the doctors talk about the problems in "Obamacare" and make the case for its repeal. It's playing out in this election cycle as physician-lawmakers travel around the country to co-host town halls with candidates, participate in fundraisers or visit with state medical groups (Haberkorn, 10/9).

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