Tonight’s CNN Tea Party debate in Tampa covered a broad spectrum of topics: immigration, jobs, Social Security and executive power. Luckily, a good chunk of the debate focused on health policy. Viewers were treated to the candidates’ views on topics ranging from Medicare Part-D to 2010’s health care overhaul.
The discussion on Medicare Part-D, the federal government’s prescription drug program for seniors, stuck out as something new.
Former Pa. Senator Rick Santorum said he’d keep the program, but would find a way to pay for it. Texas Gov. Rick Perry – essentially – said the same thing. Texas Rep. Ron Paul said he voted against Part-D and will cut the program. However, Paul added it is not high on his list, and said he’d cut the Departments of Education and Energy first.
Viewers who watched previous debates saw some of the candidates’ talking points solidify tonight.
Minn. Rep. Michele Bachmann again raised her claim that President Obama “stole” $500 billion from Medicare for the 2010 health care overhaul. Bachmann’s claim is not new and is something she brought up before.
The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler looked at Bachmann’s accusation, and a similar claim by former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, after an earlier debate.
Kessler wrote, “Their comments are an echo of the politically effective – but misleading – charge the GOP made against Democrats in 2010 midterm elections…” Kessler added, “The health care bill, as mentioned, actually puts Medicare on a more solid financial footing.”
Romney, who is under attack for creating the model for the federal health care law in Mass., continued to say that Mass. is not the model for the 2010 health care overhaul and Obama should have left the decision to the states. “What the president did is simply wrong,” said Romney.
PolitiFact.com ruled that the 2010 health care overhaul shared qualities with the Mass. system. The website looked at the claim after former Minn. Gov. Tim Pawlenty levied it at the Aug. 11 Iowa debate.
“…The plans, though not completely identical, are very similar in structure,” wrote PolitiFact.com.
Another interesting moment occurred when Wolf Blitzer, the debate moderator, asked Paul who would pay for the treatment of an uninsured 30-year-old after a serious accident under his health care system.
Paul responded and Blitzer, attempting to get to the heart of his answer, asked, “Are you saying that society should just let him die?” A chorus of approval was heard throughout the audience, which is something blogs and talk shows already picked up on.
These are just some of the highlights from tonight’s debate. Be sure to check Mundified for a more complete analysis tomorrow.
Both The Washington Post and The New York Times published articles over the weekend that looks at how states are approaching health insurance exchanges.
The Washington Post looked at the various options being examined by the federal government and states to meet the Affordable Care Act’s 2013 deadline.
According to the Post, “…one thing appears increasingly certain: The system of 50 completely state-operated insurance markets envisaged by the law is not what Americans will encounter when these ‘exchanges’ open for business in 2014.”
However, Cheryl Smith, of Leavitt Partners, told the Post that she believes the deadline will be pushed back.
“I cannot foresee a world in which they don’t have to find a way to just push the deadline back in some way, shape or form,” said Smith.
The New York Times focused on New York and the fiscal side of the debate.
Rutgers Professor Ross Baker told the Times, “With a state as visible as New York, for the exchange to be obstructed is a very ominous sign for the ultimate implementation of the Affordable Care Act.”
According to the times, lawmakers must return to Albany before the next legislative session in January, otherwise the state will only have two more chances to seek funds for an exchange.
It appears Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is making ”death panels” part of his campaign. On Thursday the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza told a Lexington, S.C. crowd that he’d be dead if the Affordable Care Act was in place when he was diagnosed with cancer.
“I was able to go to the doctor I wanted to go to… You ought to be able to make these choices if you get a serious illness - not some bureaucrat in Washington, D.C.,” said Cain.
Here’s the video:
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, another Republican presidential candidate, also alluded to death panels at a campaign stop in South Carolina earlier this week.
For those…who contend that upholding the federal healthcare mandate is an easy case to decide, the undeveloped subtext is that Virginia and other challengers either do not understand the Progressive/Roosevelt constitutional settlement or are quixotically trying to overturn it. Nothing could be farther from the truth in the case of Virginia’s suit. Virginia has modestly framed its case within the scope of present authority. No existing case needs to be overruled and no existing doctrine needs to be curtailed or expanded for Virginia to prevail on the merits.— Virginia State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli co-wrote in the Texas Review of Law and Politics about his state’s challenge to 2010’s Affordable Care Act. The 46-page article outlines the state leadership’s argument that the debate over the health care overhaul’s constitutionality is about much more than health care.
Paul Van de Water wrote a post for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’s Off The Charts blog that says the Affordable Care Act may “vastly improve Medicare’s long-term financial outlook.”
“These reforms will take time to plan, test, and implement. But they can succeed only if we give them a chance, and that won’t happen if health reform opponents succeed in repealing them,” Van de Water wrote.
He added what the super committee needs to do to reach its goal.
The court’s bottom line is this. Congress cannot use its power under the Commerce Clause to eliminate distinctions between national and local authority, reducing the states to administrative units that implement federal policies and programs.— Wrote the lawyers for the 26 states suing the federal government over the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate in today’s Wall Street Journal.
A decision against it would be incredibly political, while a decision for would leave it as much of a political issue as it was before, still very hot. Politically, I’d say it cuts in favor of the statute.— Harvard’s Charles Fried, Reagan’s solicitor general, told the Washington Post about what a 2012 court date may mean for the Affordable Care Act.