With Interest In Health Care High, Presidential Candidates Represent Stark Choice In Views

A study in this week's New England Journal of Medicine notes that one in five voters views health care as this year's highest priority issue -- that's more than in any election since 1992. Meanwhile, news outlets continue to examine the policies of President Barack Obama and GOP hopeful Mitt Romney.     

The New York Times: This Election, A Stark Choice In Health Care
When Americans go to the polls next month, they will cast a vote not just for president but for one of two profoundly different visions for the future of the country's health care system. With an Obama victory on Nov. 6, the president's signature health care law — including the contentious requirement that most Americans obtain health insurance or pay a tax penalty — will almost certainly come into full force, becoming the largest expansion of the safety net since President Lyndon B. Johnson pushed through his Great Society programs almost half a century ago (Goodnough and Pear, 10/10).

Politico Pro: Survey: Interest In Health Care Highest Since 1992
One in five voters view health care as their top priority in this year's presidential election, more than any contest since 1992, according to a study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. Relying on a Harvard University poll that gauged 1,406 likely voters' views on issues, authors Robert Blendon, John Benson and Amanda Brule reveal that Americans who rate "health care and Medicare" as a top priority skew sharply in favor of the Affordable Care Act. In fact, 41 percent say they'd be less likely to vote for a candidate who favors repealing all or part of the law, compared to 14 percent who are more likely to back such a candidate. Unsurprisingly, most who rated health care as their top issue were Democrats (Cheney, 10/10).

California Healthline: Obama, Romney Health Care Differences Detailed In Study
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney would dismantle most of the federal Affordable Care Act and make sweeping changes to Medicare and Medicaid, according to a study released Wednesday by UCLA's Center for Health Policy Research. The side-by-side analysis of health care proposals in the 2012 presidential contest found stark policy differences between the former Massachusetts governor and President Barack Obama, said Shana Alex Lavarreda, the report's co-author and director of UCLA's Health Insurance Studies Program (Hart, 10/11).

The New York Times: Voters Give Romney Better Grades For Leadership, Polls In 3 States Find
Mitt Romney is seen by more voters in three battleground states as a strong leader after his dominant debate performance last week, but perceptions that the economy is improving remain a buttress for President Obama as the 2012 campaign comes down to its final weeks. … The president's support is built on strengths that have been evident for months. In the two states where he holds an advantage overall, Mr. Obama has consistently outperformed Mr. Romney on a series of issues, including international affairs, health care and Medicare (Shear and Thee-Brenan, 10/11).

California Healthline: 'No Debate,' Cleveland Clinic's Great. But How To Replicate?
Despite better judgment -- or previous advice -- "Road to Reform" didn't take its own medicine and watched last week's presidential debate. And unsurprisingly, there was little new news for health wonks; President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney disagreed on many policies both in and out of health care. However, there was an unexpected moment: Both men found common ground on the Cleveland Clinic, agreeing that it's one of the nation's leading health systems -- even if they disputed how it got there.  Meanwhile, the Clinic seized on the moment. The health system quickly launched a new microsite … But there is debate over whether other systems can replicate the Clinic's model, and whether Obama's or Romney's reforms can help them get there (Diamond, 10/10). 

The Washington Post: Obama Vows More Aggressive Debate Approach Against Romney
Romney advisers have called Obama's questions about their candidate's honesty evidence that the president is unable to defend his record on job creation, health care and the management of the deficit. … In the radio interview, Obama said he expected the race to turn back his way, beginning Thursday night with the vice-presidential debate. He also dismissed the Democratic angst that has followed his performance in Denver as the same misplaced doubts that dogged his campaign four years ago (Wilson and Nakamura, 10/10).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.