- OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Healthcare in the 2012 spotlight
The 2012 presidential hopefuls traded barbs over healthcare on Monday, putting the issue front and center as the campaign season wears on.
Mitt Romney turned 65 on Monday, making him eligible for Medicare. But his campaign confirmed that Romney doesn’t plan to enroll in the program and will instead keep his private insurance plan. The decision makes sense, politically, given that Romney supports a new system in which seniors would choose between Medicare and private insurance.
Defending that proposal on Monday, Romney’s campaign borrowed a line from its Democratic critics. The campaign said President Obama — not Republicans — would “end Medicare as we know it.” Romney said Obama hasn’t done enough to shore up Medicare’s finances, while also criticizing the healthcare law for the Medicare cuts it does make. Healthwatch has more on Romney’s critique.
- GOP senators request budget hearing with Sebelius
Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee want a hearing with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, following an exchange last week in which she was not sure of details about the healthcare law’s effect on the deficit.
Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) requested the hearing Monday in a letter to Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) They said the committee should look into revised cost estimates for the Affordable Care Act before marking up a budget resolution for next year.
- Dems targeted over support for healthcare law’s ‘rationing board’
The conservative seniors’ lobby 60 Plus launched a $3.5 million ad campaign on Monday against five vulnerable Senate Democrats.
- Health law board repeal bill raises concerns with trial lawyers
The powerful trial lawyers’ lobby has come out in force against a bill to repeal the healthcare reform law’s cost-cutting board because of the way it’s paid for, possibly depriving House Republicans of a unique chance to deal a bipartisan blow to President Obama ahead of the November election.
To pay for their repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), House leaders have proposed coupling it with legislation capping medical malpractice damages when it comes up for a vote next week. Tort reform has long been a Republican priority, but linking the two bills is likely to cause a number of defections among the 20 Democratic co-sponsors of IPAB repeal while diluting the GOP’s message about the unelected board’s lack of accountability.
“House Leadership has proposed to pay for … a bill that proponents say will restore accountability and protect patients’ rights — by attaching … a bill that will strip away patients’ legal rights and limit accountability in the health care industry,” said a spokeswoman for the American Association for Justice, formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.
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