In NEJM, Romney, Obama outline their health care plans

Journal editors asked candidates to outline their vision for the U.S. health system

In dueling commentaries published in NEJM, President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney outlined their visions for the future of the U.S. health care system.

Romney pledges to repeal ACA

In his commentary, Romney criticized the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and noted that "experts continue to warn that the current path is unsustainable—that for all its frustrations, the system is becoming more expensive and will eventually bankrupt our government."

If elected, Romney wrote that he would:

  • Repeal the ACA and replace it with "common-sense, patient-centered reforms suited to the challenges we face;"
  • Control and reduce health care costs by offering incentives to "providers, insurers, and patients" (although he did not elaborate on those incentives);
  • Call for changes in the tax code;
  • Strengthen and expand "health savings accounts" and establish "strong consumer protections;"
  • Not change Medicare for current beneficiaries or those who would enroll in the next 10 years;
  • Reform Medicare into a means-tested premium support program for future beneficiaries; and
  • "Convert Medicaid into a block-grant system that properly aligns each state's incentives around using resources efficiently."

Obama defends ACA

In his commentary, Obama wrote that "supporters and detractors alike refer to [ACA] as Obamacare. I don't mind, because I do care." He went on to outline the benefits of the ACA.

If reelected, Obama says he would:

  • "Keep Medicare and Medicaid strong" by "working to make the programs more efficient without undermining the fundamental guarantees;"
  • Find a permanent solution to "Medicare's flawed payment formula that threatens physicians' reimbursement;"
  • Support clinical research; and
  • Work on medical malpractice reform that does not include "placing arbitrary caps that do nothing to lower the cost of care" (Obama, Health Affairs, 9/26; Romney, Health Affairs, 9/26).

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Daily roundup: Sept. 27, 2012

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