KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

GOP Vows To Stick To Principles, Including Medicare And Medicaid

News outlets covered the winter meeting of the Republican National Committee, where party members said they needed to adjust their tone, but not their conservative positions, including on entitlements.

The Associated Press: Ryan Says GOP Need To Pick Its Fights With Obama
Rep. Paul Ryan said Saturday that Republicans need to stick together and pick their fights during President Barack Obama's second term, rejecting some White House proposals outright and trying to infuse others with conservative principles. In a speech to conservatives, the GOP's 2012 vice presidential nominee said Obama would attempt to divide Republicans but that the party must avoid internal squabbles ... As chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ryan said ... he would promote changes to Medicare and Medicaid and would propose a budget "that will balance and pay down the debt" (Thomas, 1/26).

Reuters: Bruised Republicans Vow To Give Party's Image A Makeover
Bruised and divided by November's election losses, Republican leaders emerged from a series of self-analysis and strategy sessions this week with the outlines of a game plan to reverse voting trends that favor Democrats. ... State officials from across the nation said the party should not abandon its conservative proposals for reduced government spending and stronger economic growth, but needed to articulate them better.  (Whitesides, 1/25).

The Wall Street Journal: GOP’s Priebus Wins Re-Election, Vows ‘Permanent Campaign’
Republicans voted overwhelmingly to give their party chairman, Reince Priebus, a second two-year term as the GOP looks to regain its footing following last year’s presidential loss. ... Mr. Priebus and other party leaders gathered in Charlotte expressed no similar desire to modify the party’s positions, arguing that it’s challenge was centered more on tone and messaging, not content (King Jr., 1/25).

McClatchy Newspapers: GOP Ponders Uncertain Future For Policies And Political Tactics
[F]ew wanted to discuss where the conservative and politically difficult tea party movement fit. ... Priebus also urged the gathering to keep drawing sharp contrasts with Democrats. Obama, he said, has made them “one of the most government-dependent parties that we’ve ever seen in the modern era" (Lightman, 1/25).

Politico: GOP Leaders Insist No Overhaul Needed
Many of the 168 elected members of the committee brought up the comments about rape by GOP Senate candidates Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana. ... “I feel like a pro-life position is a position that a lot of people have, but that doesn’t have anything to do with crazy talk about rape,” [Mississippi Republican Chairman Joe Nosef said].  Without objection, the full RNC approved a resolution by voice vote Friday calling on Congress to defund Planned Parenthood and redistribute the money intended for cancer screening and preventive services to organizations that do not perform abortions. (Hohmann, 1/25).


Politico Pro: The Quiet Liberal Plans For Entitlement Reform
Democrats are trying to push the biggest Medicare savings off the table — and they don’t want to touch Medicaid at all. Even so, the ideas that already have been blessed by groups on the left could allow President Barack Obama to get the discussion on entitlements going without infuriating his base. Here are the highlights of the Democratic entitlement reform menu: ... Medicare: Expanded means testing ... Faster payment reforms ... Drug rebates (Nather, 1/27).


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