First Edition: November 5, 2012

Published on November 5, 2012 at 8:04 AM · No Comments

Today's headlines include reports about the final round of polls, forecasts regarding which party will control the House and Senate and analysis of how campaign-trail messages have been playing during the election season's final hours.  

Kaiser Health News: As California Prepares To Expand Medicaid, Only The Poorest Will Benefit In Sacramento
Capital Public Radio's Pauline Bartolone, working in partnership with Kaiser Health News and NPR, reports: "Midday on a Monday outside the Primary Care Center on Broadway and Stockton Boulevard in Sacramento, patients linger outside, waiting for services. Asked about their experiences at the clinic, they are eager to share – and many offer complaints" (Bartolone, 11/4). Read the story.

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Health Issues On The Ballot In The States; Petition Calls For Hurricane Sandy First Responder Health Benefits
Now on Kaiser Health News' blog, KHN editors offer a look at ballot issues in the states: "Sprinkled throughout ballots across the country are state initiatives that run the gamut from education to animal rights to marriage. And health care is well-represented, too. The National Conference of State Legislatures labels health a 'key issue' in this cycle's roundup of state ballot questions" (11/5).

Also on Capsules, Ankita Rao reports on Hurricane Sandy first responders' health benefits: "From leading evacuees through flooded streets to carrying a family pet out of a collapsing home, first responders have been dubbed the heroes of Hurricane Sandy. But not all of them had health benefits as they headed into the disaster zones this week" (Rao, 11/3). Check out what else is on the blog.

Kaiser Health News also tracked weekend health policy headlines, including coverage of how seniors are viewing Medicare in the context of this election (11/4).  

The Wall Street Journal: Obama And Romney Deadlocked, Polls Show
The dueling assertions of success came as a new national Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll of likely voters found the two men caught in a dead heat. Mr. Obama led his rival by a whisker, 48% to 47%-;a difference of seven voters among a pool of 1,475 surveyed. The poll has a margin of error is plus or minus 2.55 percentage points. Polls in many battleground states, from Virginia and Ohio to New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and even Michigan, also portrayed a race that is tightening down the home stretch (King and Meckler, 11/5).

USA Today: Final Swing States Poll: Fired-Up Voters Split, 48% to 48%
Voters in the nation's key battlegrounds have become as enthusiastic and engaged in the 2012 presidential election as they were in the historic contest four years ago, and they finally have made up their minds about President Obama and Mitt Romney (Page, 11/5).

Politico: Seniors Still Out Of Obama's Reach
Democrats hoped President Barack Obama would make inroads with seniors this year. ... for the most part, they just don't seem willing to give Obama a chance -; despite their distrust of Ryan's budget and Medicare reforms. ... the president's health care reforms have made things even more difficult, pollsters say. There's an inherent distrust of any changes to the existing system, and continuing resistance to the underlying idea of universal health care, which many seniors fear will cut into their benefits (Tau, 11/4).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Romney Pledges Bipartisanship In Final Push – And To Repeal Democrats' Priorities
In campaign stops in Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania, Romney reminded voters that on Day One, he would begin to repeal President Barack Obama's signature health care law. He also wants to weaken labor unions and overturn Democrat-backed legislation that overhauled the nation's financial system. But the polarizing priorities are not his focus at swelling rallies in the presidential contest's final hours (11/4).

The Wall Street Journal: In Its Final Lap, The President's Team Turns Nostalgic
Over the weekend, Mr. Obama sounded some of his successful themes from 2008, saying he would work with anybody from any party who is willing to move the nation forward. But he made clear there were lines he wouldn't cross, such as deep cuts to student aid and Medicaid. Along for the ride in the home stretch are many of Mr. Obama's senior advisers and closest friends, the people who helped engineer his rapid rise from state senator to president. His original speechwriting team, traveling with him aboard Air Force One, has employed a dose of superstition by vowing to not shave their beards until Election Day (Meckler, 11/4).

The New York Times' The Caucus: Ryan Says Obama Policies Threaten 'Judeo-Christian' Values
Representative Paul D. Ryan on Sunday accused President Obama of taking the country down a path that compromises Judeo-Christian values and the traditions of Western civilization. Mr. Ryan has previously criticized the Affordable Care Act for requiring church-run charities and institutions to include contraception in insurance plans for employees, a criticism widely echoed by conservatives. But this was the first time Mr. Ryan had used such strong language on the issue (Gabriel, 11/5).

The New York Times: Ryan, Quiet for Now, Is Said To Be Planning For An Active Role
Representative Paul D. Ryan may have largely disappeared from the national spotlight down the campaign homestretch, ceding attention to Mitt Romney. But if the Republican ticket prevails, Mr. Ryan plans to come back roaring, establishing an activist vice presidency that he said would look like Dick Cheney's under President George W. Bush.  Mr. Ryan would dedicate most evenings to dinners with senators and House members of both parties, aides said, as he steps into the role Mr. Romney promised: architect of a Romney administration's drive to enact a budget that shrinks the government and overhauls programs like Medicare (Gabriel, 11/3).

Los Angeles Times: Abortion Issue Galvanizes Voters In Battleground Ohio
[I]t's nearly impossible to spend time in Ohio this election year without noticing a surge of activity from Mitt Romney supporters and canvassers who say that values and abortion issues are paramount. ... Voters seem especially enraged about Obama's past positions on abortion and about a part of the Obama healthcare law that required Catholic-affiliated employers to pay for contraception coverage. ... Such excitement could energize voters in this crucial swing state, which is 21% Catholic and 24% evangelical Protestant, according to the Pew Forum (Semuels, 11/4).

NPR: Why Abortion Has Become Such A Prominent Campaign Issue
Abortion isn't usually a major issue in presidential campaigns. But this year is different. Both President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are putting the issue front and center, including official campaign-produced ads (Rovner, 11/5).

The Associated Press: GOP Likely To Hold House After $1B Campaign
In districts from one ocean to the other, Democrats have accused Republicans of trying to gut Medicare, the popular health insurance program for the elderly, and slice domestic programs like education while seeking tax cuts for the rich. They've also accused them of attacking women's rights with measures to curb abortion and cut funds for Planned Parenthood. ... The GOP has lambasted Democrats for supporting President Barack Obama's health care overhaul and other big spending programs like Obama's economic stimulus package. Democrats also are accused of cutting Medicare themselves and boosting taxes on the middle class (Fram, 11/3).

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