KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

In Vice Presidential Debate, Biden And Ryan Clash On Health Issues

In this face-off, the two candidates outlined very different sets of policies and perspectives on issues ranging from their respective Medicare plans to the uninsured and abortion.  

Los Angeles Times: Vice Presidential Debate Gets Prickly On Healthcare
As the candidates for vice president parried, Ryan accused the Obama administration of "getting caught with its hand in the cookie jar," and Biden charged that the plans proposed by Ryan and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney would privatize Medicare and wind up cutting benefits for younger people as they approached retirement age (Landsberg, 10/11).

The Wall Street Journal: Understudies Give Viewers A First-Rate Performance
But once the debate got to the differences between the two parties on spending, entitlements and taxes, the sparks flew. The two men couldn't agree any more than their parties have over the past four years. The vice president portrayed Republicans as opposed to the crown jewels of the Democratic Party, Social Security and Medicare. … He found ways to repeatedly drive home the fact that he has been around a lot longer than his 42-year-old Republican opponent. He invoked his dealings with Ronald Reagan, and with the late House Speaker Tip O'Neill. He charged that Republicans put two wars on a credit card. Through it all, Mr. Ryan stood his ground and gave back without flinching, giving as good as he got. He marshaled facts and figures and the details he has mastered as the Republicans' budget wunderkind (Seib, 10/12).

The New York Times: Night Of Withering Ripostes, Mostly Delivered By Biden
It was a sharp and spirited debate, with both candidates delivering some lacerating blows, but Mr. Ryan at times seemed disconcerted by the sheer blowhard intensity Mr. Biden brought to the night. Mr. Ryan tried to be respectful, listening to the vice president with a tilted head, choirboy smile and puppy-dog eyes, but he showed his irritation when Mr. Biden kept interrupting to attack his policy on Medicare. "I know you're under duress," he told the vice president, prompting another belly laugh (Stanley, 10/12).

The New York Times: Biden Vs. Ryan: No Shy People Onstage
On critical issues, Mr. Ryan did not shy from his and his party's plans to fundamentally alter Medicare. And while Mr. Romney had played down the benefit of the ticket's tax plan for the wealthy, his running mate fell back on Republican orthodoxy, defending "small businesses" and rich households from what he suggested was the rapacious reach of President Obama. …  Mr. Biden was equally steadfast, accusing Mr. Ryan of shifting a health care burden borne for decades by the government onto the elderly, and playing the populist on taxes (Weisman, 10/11).

The Associated Press: Biden, Ryan Focus On Health Care, Economy
At odds early and often, Joe Biden and Republican Paul Ryan squabbled over the economy, taxes, Medicare and more Thursday night in a contentious, interruption-filled debate. "That is a bunch of malarkey," the vice president retorted after a particularly tough Ryan attack on the administration's foreign policy. "I know you're under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground, but I think people would be better served if we don't interrupt each other," Ryan said later to his rival, referring to Democratic pressure on Biden to make up for President Barack Obama's listless performance in last week's debate with Mitt Romney (10/12).

Meanwhile, news outlets examined the number Ryan used regarding how many people could lose their health insurance once the health law kicks in -  

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Inside Paul Ryan's Health Insurance Number
Ryan's closing statement included a claim that 20 million people are projected to lose their health insurance once the Obama health law takes effect. That figure likely comes from a possible scenario mentioned deep into this March 2012 set of estimates by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office that contemplates what employers might do after 2014 when many will be penalized for not providing insurance but can also look to new options such as subsidies towards the cost of premiums for private insurance or Medicaid coverage for low-income workers (Radnofsky, 10/11).

The Washington Post: Fact Check: Losing Health Insurance
What does Ryan mean when he says 20 million Americans will lose their health insurance under Obamacare? … The CBO cautions that there is a "tremendous amount of uncertainty" about how employers and employees will respond to the legislation. "One piece of evidence that may be relevant is the experience in Massachusetts, where employment-based health insurance coverage appeared to increase after that state's reforms," the CBO noted. Mitt Romney, as governor, ushered in health-care legislation that served as a model for Obama's health plan (Kessler, 10/11).

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