KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Senate Candidates Spar Over Medicare, Health Policies

Campaign debates in Virginia and Michigan focus on Medicare and health issues while the GOP candidate in Ohio says he has not yet signed on to Republican plan to revamp Medicare.  

The Washington Post: Virginia Senate Debate: George Allen, Tim Kaine Face Off In Richmond
In their second televised debate Monday night, former governors George Allen and Timothy M. Kaine clashed over health care, women's issues and Social Security as they sought to contrast how each would represent Virginia in the U.S. Senate (Haines, 10/8).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: In First Televised Prime Time Va Senate Debate, Kaine And Allen Target Money, Women's Issues
Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican George Allen drew sharper contrasts Monday between themselves in a televised primetime U.S. Senate debate on the issues of entitlements seniors have paid all their lives, with Allen backing higher retirement age and Kaine promising to protect Social Security "to my last breath." The fourth of five debates between the former Virginia governors and the first before a statewide broadcast audience ranged from abortion and contraception to looming military cuts to a Supreme Court case over racial diversity initiatives on college campuses (10/8).

Politico: George Allen Struggles On Abortion Questions
When asked about proposals in the GOP-led General Assembly's this year to require an ultrasound before women could get an abortion and to codify that life begins at conception — so-called "personhood" legislation — Allen punted and pivoted. "Some of those issues are state issues on informed consent," Allen replied, before shifting to contraceptive access, which was not brought up in the question (Catanese, 10/8).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: In Ohio, GOP Senate Hopeful Mandel Challenged By Dems As A Kid Who Hasn't Done His Homework
(Josh) Mandel uses his presentation to the Ross County group, many of them seniors, to promise to protect Social Security and Medicare. In a follow-up, he declined to back GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system for those 55 and younger. "When I go to Washington, I will work in a bipartisan way to save Social Security and Medicare. Thus far I have not endorsed anyone's specific plan," Mandel said in an interview (10/9).

The Associated Press: Hoekstra, Stabenow Senate Campaigns Spar Over Medicare
Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Republican challenger Pete Hoekstra swapped accusations Monday of favoring policies that would undermine Medicare, the health care program for seniors that has become a focal point of congressional and presidential campaigns. Hoekstra, the acknowledged underdog trying to unseat a two-term incumbent, made Medicare the subject of his first post-nomination television ad (Flesher, 10/8).

And news from one high-profile House race -

Politico Pro: Ryan Releases Medicare Ad For House Race
Paul Ryan is up with a new ad explaining his Medicare reform plan, but this one isn't for the vice presidential race. This one is for his House race — where he's still running for reelection in case the veep thing doesn't work out. The ad, targeted at his southeastern Wisconsin congressional district, hammers the Ryan message that his Medicare reform plan won't impact anyone over the age of 55 — a message that Gov. Mitt Romney could also benefit from in the swing state (Haberkorn, 10/8).

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