KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Romney’s Shifting Stance On Health Law Makes Waves

The GOP presidential nominee's comments Sunday that he would keep parts of the health law triggered questions about how he would cover those with pre-existing conditions, and reinforced doubts within his own party about his commitment to repealing the overhaul. Campaign aides attempted to clarify the comments.

The New York Times: It Will Be Tricky For Romney To Keep Best Of Health Law While Repealing It
Mitt Romney's pledge to guarantee access to health insurance for people with longstanding medical problems confused some experts and highlighted the difficulty of repealing the new health care law while keeping some of its popular features (Pear and Goodnough, 9/10).

NPR: Mitt Romney's Shifting Stance On Health Care
Mitt Romney seemed to make health care news in a Sunday interview on NBC's Meet the Press. He said he might not want to repeal all of the Affordable Care Act. … Of course not getting rid of the entire Affordable Care Act is not only an express violation of the Republican Party 2012 platform, but also is at odds with Romney's own position as detailed on the campaign's website. So, not surprisingly, it was only a matter of hours before the campaign walked the candidate's comments back (Rovner, 9/10).

Politico: Mitt Romney Struggles With ACA Replacement Goals
By the time Mitt Romney faces President Barack Obama for their first debate next month, he'll have to figure out a sharper way to explain what he would do to replace "Obamacare." That's the lesson of his "Meet the Press" experience this weekend, when he tried to tell the viewers that he'd pursue two of the most popular goals of the health care law — insurance for people with pre-existing conditions and coverage for young adults — and promptly had to reassure conservatives that he didn't actually mean he'd leave parts of "Obamacare" in place (Norman, 9/11).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Romney And Ryan Camps Walk Back Candidates’ Statements On Health Law
On Sunday, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, said he would keep the popular provision in President Barack Obama's health law that 'makes sure those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage.' And on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulus, Paul Ryan appeared to back a lesser-known part of the law called 'maintenance of effort' that prohibits states from making it harder for people to get covered by Medicaid, the state-federal health program for the poor, until 2014. Both statements seemed to signal dramatic shifts in position for the Republican presidential ticket. But campaign officials later insisted the men hadn't said anything they hadn't said before (Galewitz, 9/10).

Roll Call: GOP Downplays Mitt Romney Remarks
Congressional Republican leaders are downplaying GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's comments that he would preserve some parts of Democrats' health care reforms, but the remarks are causing some conservatives to question whether the former Massachusetts governor is committed to fully repealing the law…On Monday, the House and Senate Republican whips sought to explain that there is no daylight between Romney's stance and that of the Congressional GOP. The House has voted twice to fully repeal the law and more than 30 times overall to repeal all or part of it. The Senate has voted once on full repeal, which fell short. "The issue of pre-existing [conditions] and your children staying on [parents' insurance], those have been in Republican plans," House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Monday. "I think it's very clear that we have said we need health reform, but we think first we have to repeal Obamacare" (Newhauser and Sanchez, 9/11).

National Journal: Romney Vague On Popular Health Provisions
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has repeatedly vowed to repeal President Obama's health reform law and work with Congress to replace the most popular provisions with his own policies. But when it comes to exactly how he would achieve the same goals of making sure that people with preexisting conditions get insurance coverage and children can stay on their parents' insurance plans up to age 26, Romney has no clear plan. In a Sunday interview on NBC's Meet the Press, host David Gregory pressed Romney on whether he would put in place a federal ban on insurance companies denying coverage to patients who have preexisting medical conditions, one of the most popular provisions of the health reform law (McCarthy, 9/10).

Bloomberg: Romney's Protections For Sick Stop Short Of 65 Million In Need
Mitt Romney's pitch to ensure that sick people can obtain health insurance would draw the line well before covering the estimated 65 million Americans with pre- existing conditions.  Romney, the Republican nominee for U.S. president, said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sept. 9 that he would preserve some of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, including protections for people with existing conditions. Romney's proposal, which he has made before without providing details, would apply only to those who have been "continuously insured," such as people who leave a job with health benefits and then buy insurance on their own.  Keeping continuous coverage may be difficult because 89 million people, or more than one third of Americans younger than 65, were uninsured for at least one month, according to an Aug. 3 report from the Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based advocacy group that analyzed data from 2004 to 2007 (Wayne, 9/11).

Minnesota Post: Minnesota 'Liberty' Republicans Don't Like Romney 'Cherry-Picking' Parts Of ObamaCare
Mitt Romney's statement Sunday on "Meet the Press" that he'd keep some parts of the Affordable Care Act in place if he's elected didn't go over well with key Minnesota Republicans who supported Ron Paul. Minnesota RNC delegation chair Marianne Stebbins and fellow delegate Craig Westover sent a statement Monday decrying Romney's avowal to keep parts of ObamaCare, including the provisions to cover those with pre-existing conditions and keeping young adults on their parents' policies. Stebbins, a leader of the 'Liberty' Republicans in Minnesota, was the chair of the Minnesota delegation that cast 33 of the 40 delegates for Paul at last month's Republican National Convention (Kimball, 9/10).

Medpage Today: Does Romney Favor Pre-Existing Condition Ban?
The spokesman then cited a speech made by Romney in June in which he said, "I also want to make sure that people can't get dropped if they have a preexisting condition ... . So let's say someone has been continuously insured and they develop a serious condition and let's say they lose their job or they change jobs, they move and they go to a new place. ... We're going to have to make sure that the law we replace Obamacare with assures that people who have a preexisting condition, who've been insured in the past, are able to get insurance in the future." The Washington Post noted that this position is similar to an already-existing provision in a federal law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which says that an employer cannot deny health insurance coverage to a new employee with a previously existing condition, provided that the person has previously been continuously insured (Frieden, 9/10).

CNN (Video): What Is Romney's Health Care Plan?
CNN's Elizabeth Cohen discusses specifics of how Mitt Romney would replace Obamacare (9/10).

Fox News: Romney, Ryan Sound Bipartisan Tone On Taxes, Health Care
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are moving to define what they plan to do and what they stand for on the hot-button issues of health care and taxes, after enduring a week in which Democratic convention-goers tried to define that for them. Both candidates signaled room for compromise on those issues in interviews over the weekend. The remarks follow a convention in Charlotte, N.C., where speaker after speaker accused Republicans of favoring the wealthy in the tax code and imperiling Americans' access to care. On health care, Romney said Sunday he wants to keep parts of the health care overhaul spearheaded by President Obama. Though Romney vows to repeal the law, he said: "I'm not getting rid of all of health care reform" (9/10).

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