Today's early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including previews of the Democratic convention and a New York Times analysis of how the Obama and Romney campaigns vary on Medicaid policy.
Kaiser Health News: Medical Centers Begin Training Programs For Specialists On Addictions
Writing for Kaiser Health News, in collaboration with The Washington Post, Sandra G. Boodman reports: "They are seen every day in doctors' offices, outpatient clinics and hospital emergency rooms: men in their 50s with bleeding ulcers; young adults pulled from car crashes; middle-aged women fighting a losing battle against chronic pain. As dissimilar as they seem, many of these patients are also suffering from another illness -- alcohol or drug abuse – that is at the root of the more obvious ailments that keep them cycling through the medical system. Even so, their addiction is rarely addressed by doctors" (Boodman, 9/3).
Kaiser Health News: Insuring Your Health: HHS Says Health Plans Cannot Discriminate Against Transgender People
In her latest Kaiser Health News consumer column, Michelle Andrews writes: "In a recent letter hailed by advocates in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, the Department of Health and Human Services clarified that provisions in the Affordable Care Act prohibiting sex discrimination in health insurance apply to transgender people" (Andrews, 9/4).
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Sherpaa Could Guide The Way To New Company Health Care
Now on Kaiser Health News' blog, Ankita Rao reports on a health care option in New York: "In 2007 pediatrician Jay Parkinson, fresh from a Johns Hopkins residency program, rejected a traditional private practice model in developing his own approach to providing health care. To cut down on overhead costs and staff, Parkinson created a public Google calendar on his site for patients around Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood, where he lives, to request a time and date for appointments. He would then make house calls and request payment via the online service, PayPal" (Rao, 9/4). Check out what else is on the blog.
Kaiser Health News also tracked weekend news coverage of Democrats' plans to highlight the health overhaul law at their convention and efforts by President Obama and other key Democrats to assail Republicans' stands on Medicare and health.
The Wall Street Journal: Obama To Press Case For Four More Years
A senior Obama campaign official said the president may offer one or two new policy proposals in his speech Thursday, when he accepts the nomination for re-election, but that he would spend more time arguing that his existing ideas on health care, education and deficit-reduction amount to "a clear, concrete and achievable plan" for a second term. ... The party also will emphasize its support for abortion rights and insurance coverage for contraception. Speakers include the chiefs of Planned Parenthood and Naral Pro-choice America, as well as Sandra Fluke, the law student who came to prominence after radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh attacked her for supporting Mr. Obama's mandate that most employer health plans include contraception coverage (Meckler, 9/3).
The New York Times: Democrats Say U.S. Is Better Off Than Four Years Ago
A day after fumbling a predictable and straightforward question posed by Mitt Romney last week -; are Americans better off than they were four years ago -; the Obama campaign provided a response on Monday that it said would be hammered home during the Democratic convention here this week: "Absolutely." ... While Democrats pointed to polls showing that Mr. Romney appeared to get little polling "bounce" out of his convention, some Democratic strategists here conceded that Republicans had succeeded in muddying the waters on a traditional Democratic strong point, Medicare. ... Many Democrats had assumed the issue would be a major political help to them, but some Democratic strategists said Republican claims that Mr. Obama had cut $716 billion from the program had at least partly neutralized the Democratic advantage (Rutenberg, 9/3).
Los Angeles Times: Obama Aims To Tie Romney To Far-Right Republicans
Obama's team plans to portray the Republicans as an association of ideologues hoping to return to power with the election of a pliant White House servant who would follow a conservative, tea-party-driven agenda. In the Democrats' version of the campaign, (Mitt) Romney is a man with little substance who has subordinated himself to the party's most right-wing forces. Those include his running mate, Rep. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, and other House Republicans and GOP candidates who espouse views about reproductive rights that Democrats say put them out of step with a majority of voters, particularly women (Parsons, 9/3).
Politico: DNC 2012: Democrats Reframe Abortion Debate
Democrats think they've figured out how to win the abortion debate: Don't make it about abortion. Starting Tuesday, the Democratic convention here will feature speeches from Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, NARAL President Nancy Keenan and Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke, who became a flashpoint in the debate over requiring Catholic institutions to pay for birth control. But don't expect them to focus on abortion -; or even necessarily use the word. Instead, they'll defend President Barack Obama's record on reproductive health and reproductive rights. And, as they have before, they'll accuse GOP nominee Mitt Romney and his party of waging a "war on women" (Dovere, 9/4).
NPR: Romney And Abortion: Another Shift In The Works?
Is Mitt Romney shifting his abortion position again? It's fairly well-known that Romney proclaimed himself in favor of abortion rights when he ran for office in Massachusetts, then reversed himself before launching his presidential bid. But recently, the GOP nominee seems to be softening his opposition somewhat. Or is he (Rovner, 9/3)?
USA Today: Biden: GOP Would Turn Medicare Into 'Voucher Care'
The Obama campaign is trying to put a new tag on Republican Medicare plans. "Voucher care." "We are for Medicare, they are for voucher care," said Vice President Biden on Sunday in Green Bay, Wis. "It's basic." Under proposals backed by GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan and other Republicans, seniors would be given vouchers of a set amount to buy health insurance on the private market (Jackson, 9/3).
Politico: Pelosi Blasts Ryan Medicare Plan At Convention
Nancy Pelosi teed off on Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's Medicare plan, saying Democrats "created" the senior health care program and "will not let them take it away." In a 25-minute speech to the California Democratic Party delegation, Pelosi said that "nothing less than the character of our country" is on the ballot this November – a familiar refrain from the
House minority leader, who is trying to make Republican plans to reshape Medicare a major issue for the fall campaign. "We're going to reject the Ryan plan, which is a transparent trick to end Medicare," Pelosi said during a gathering over breakfast. "It's just plain wrong to privatize, voucherize and end Medicare as we know it" (Sherman, 9/3).