Obama, Romney Spar Over Medicare, Health Reform Policies

News outlets offer a variety of coverage on these issues - including how Medicare is playing in the polls and what motivates senior voters. And a new Families USA study offers a critical assessment of Mitt Romney's health policies.   

The Washington Post: Medicare Working To Boost Obama In Swing States, Poll Finds
Voters in three critical swing states broadly oppose the far-reaching changes to Medicare -associated with the Republican presidential ticket and, by big margins, prefer President Obama to handle the issue, according to new state polls by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation. For seniors in Florida, Ohio and Virginia, Medicare rivals the economy as a top voting issue (Aizenman, Cohen and Craighill, 9/27).

The Associated Press/ABC News: Older Voters Look Beyond Medicare, Social Security
Who wins the trust of seniors … will be a deciding factor in the presidential election. That should be good news for Mitt Romney, because those 65 and older have backed the Republican candidate in both of the last two presidential elections. But President Barack Obama has been pounding Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, on their plan for Medicare. Those attacks are starting to bear fruit for Obama, who is gaining ground among seniors in two key battlegrounds: Florida and Ohio. Still, Romney has the edge nationally among seniors — in no small part thanks to seniors’ concerns about Obama's handling of the economy (Lederman, 9/27).

The New York Times: Obama Fills In Blanks Of Romney's Plans, And GOP Sees Falsehoods
The Obama campaign has run advertisements charging that Mitt Romney's Medicare plan "could raise seniors' costs up to $6,400 a year" ... The outdated charge that future Medicare beneficiaries could face $6,400 in higher costs comes from an analysis of an old proposal by Mr. Romney’s running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan, that has since been revised (Cooper, 9/27).

Politico: What Obama Isn't Saying About Medicare
As Woodward explains in "The Price of Politics," Obama was willing to make significant changes to the cherished federal health care plan for seniors last year as part of a grand bargain with congressional Republicans. And 2011 was hardly the first time Obama considered confronting the costly and popular program; it's also highly likely it won’t be the last if he’s reelected (Martin, 9/27).

Los Angeles Times: Obama And Romney Campaigns Take Battle To Virginia
Both candidates are heavily targeting women in Virginia, particularly in the northern suburbs of Washington, where Romney campaigned Thursday. Democrats are accusing Republicans of waging a "war on women" by targeting reproductive rights. They point to a measure that failed in the Virginia Legislature this year that would have required trans-vaginal ultrasounds before a woman could have an abortion. … Outside groups are also weighing in, airing ads that feature Romney's vow this year to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood (Mehta, Reston and Memoli, 9/27).

CQ HealthBeat: Families USA Report Says Americans Would Pay More, Be Less Likely To Have Coverage Under Romney
Tens of millions more people would be uninsured and Americans would pay thousands of dollars more each year for their coverage under Mitt Romney's health proposals than under President Obama's health care law, according to a report released Thursday by Families USA, the left-leaning group that strongly backs the overhaul. Entitled "ObamaCare versus RomneyCare versus RomneyCandidateCare," the report compares the health care law with the Massachusetts overhaul passed when Romney was the state's governor and to proposals he has laid out as the Republican candidate for president (Bunis, 9/27).

The Hill: Study: Families Would Pay More For Health Care Under Romney
Families would pay nearly twice as much for non-group health insurance under a President Romney than under President Obama, according to a new report from the liberal advocacy group Families USA. The study found that Mitt Romney's pledges to repeal the 2010 healthcare law, create a health insurance tax deduction and block-grant Medicaid would result in higher coverage costs and more uninsured Americans (Viebeck, 9/27).

Health News Florida: Economists Prefer Former Romney 
In Florida, the number of uninsured would grow by 500,000 by the end of Romney's first term, instead of dropping by 2.5 million if President Barack Obama is re-elected and the Affordable Care Act takes full effect, they said. The [Families USA] report was written by economists who helped design or implement the Massachusetts Health Insurance Law, signed by then-Gov. Romney in 2006 (Gentry, 9/27).

Also in the news -

Los Angeles Times: Paul Ryan Does Not Need To Be Unmuzzled, Paul Ryan Says
[T]he Wisconsin congressman pointed out that he has concentrated his efforts on interviews with regional reporters … But Ryan has not avoided places where he is likely to encounter hostile crowds. Last week, he gave a speech to the national AARP convention in New Orleans, where he was booed for advocating the repeal of the president's healthcare law and the restructuring of Medicare for future retirees (Abcarian, 9/27).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major 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.