President Criticizes GOP Over Medicare, Other Health Care Issues
On Sunday, President Obama criticized GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), for failing to offer details on their plans for Medicare and portrayed Romney and congressional Republicans as outdated on other health care issues, the New York Times reports.
During a campaign speech at the University of Colorado, Obama said that Romney and Ryan have not "offer[ed] a single new idea" and that Romney failed to "reveal the secret sauce" for his own plans, including those that would transform Medicare into a premium support program.
The speech demonstrated the latest attempt by the Obama administration to describe Republicans as "backward-looking," including health care issues such as contraception and abortion, according to the Times. Obama described the GOP's agenda as "better suited to the last century," adding that "it could have been on 'Nick at Night.'"
Further, Obama described his own agenda as one that would protect the progress he made over the last four years, including passing the Affordable Care Act. He said the GOP would rescind those gains, such as expanded health insurance coverage (Calmes, New York Times, 9/2).
Meanwhile, in an interview with Parade magazine, Obama said Republican voters "often agree with me" on policy positions, noting that many of his positions have earned bipartisan support, including the federal health reform law (Cohn, "Blog Briefing Room," The Hill, 9/1).
Health Care Front and Center at Democratic National Convention
Obama and other speakers at this week's Democratic National Convention are expected to discuss health care, including the Medicare issue, and will take advantage of the high-profile opportunity to promote the health reform law, National Journal reports (Lawrence, National Journal, 9/2).
David Axelrod, Obama's top campaign adviser, said Democrats will use the convention to tout the health reform law's benefits (Cheney, Politico, 8/31). Several strategists said it is the right move for Democrats to go on offense regarding the ACA. Pollster Stan Greenberg said Democrats should "absolutely" talk about the law at the convention.
Meanwhile Geoffrey Garin said the convention is "the right forum" to "set the record straight" on how the ACA deals with Medicare (National Journal, 9/2).
According to Politico, Axelrod seemed eager to discuss Medicare. "Historically, the Republican Party has been hostile to Medicare," Axelrod said, adding, "If they want to debate Medicare, we're happy to have that debate" (Politico, 8/31).
Pelosi, Biden Criticize GOP Over Ryan's Medicare Proposal
In related news, Vice President Joe Biden at a campaign stop in Wisconsin warned voters that Ryan's Medicare proposal would turn the program into "VoucherCare," Politico reports (Min Kim, Politico, 9/2).
In his criticisms, Biden referred to his mother, saying, "I can't picture handing her a voucher at age 80 and saying, you go out in the insurance market and you figure out what's best for you" (Jackson, "The Oval," USA Today, 9/3).
Meanwhile, during a speech to the California Democratic Party delegation, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called Ryan's plan a "transparent trick to end Medicare." She added, "It's just plain wrong to privatize, voucherize and end Medicare as we know it" (Sherman, "On Congress Blog," Politico, 9/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.