KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Rand Paul, Who Opposed Federal ‘Handouts,’ Is Criticized For Taking Medicare Patients; Other Health Politics News

Rand Paul, a Kentucky GOP Senate candidate, sees Medicare and Medicaid patients, even as he opposes federal "handouts" and is facing criticism from his Democratic opponent for not releasing his Medicare billing records, The Associated Press reported. "Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton defended Paul's acceptance of Medicare and Medicaid payments, saying that to shun the two health care programs would 'penalize his older patients or his poor patients.' Paul said he sees patients who rely on the government programs, private insurance or who pay for their own care." Paul's campaign says half of the doctor's medical income comes from Medicare and Medicaid doctors, "which it says is in line with the average for eye doctors around the country." Paul's Democratic opponent Jack Conway has called for Paul to release his Medicare billing records (Schreiner, 6/15).

In the Florida governor race, Republican candidates Rick Scott and Bill McCollum are waging a bitter primary fight but they are also "strange bedfellows" on health care. Both opposed the Clinton and Obama health care proposals, and Sunshine State News reports on other coincidences. "Anyone who's been paying attention to the increasingly acrimonious Republican gubernatorial campaign knows by now that Scott was chairman and CEO of the HCA hospital chain when it was fined $1.7 billion by federal authorities. … McCollum's health care record is less well-known, and it was eerily aligned with Scott's. At the time Scott was taking fire at HCA, McCollum was promoting a softer approach to the problem of health care fraud, and earning contributions from Scott's company" (Ward, 6/16). 

The Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal: In Indiana, Gov. Mitch Daniels is turning out to be a key critic of the federal health law and could be eyeing a presidential run. "But Daniels, who has not ruled out a 2012 White House bid, is also serving up a broader critique, one that Indiana House Speaker Pat Bauer said is meant to bolster the governor's image as a possible presidential nominee. By 'demonizing health care,' Bauer said Tuesday, Daniels can diminish former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, whose state had its own health care plan, while building up credibility among conservatives. … Daniels hasn't gone as far as some Republicans who are calling for unconditional repeal. He contends that Republicans have to offer something other than going back to the old system" (Groppe, 6/15).

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