Obama vs. Romney on healthcare platforms

President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney faced off this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, which published commentaries from both presidential candidates, who detailed their platforms and visions for the future of healthcare.

Both candidates agreed healthcare is one of America's great strengths, yet one of the biggest challenges, and pointed to high costs as challenges to its citizens.

While Obama defended the Affordable Care Act, Romney called for repeal of the ACA and said he would replace it with "common-sense, patient-centered reforms."

Obama said, under health reform, Americans have seen changes, including the individual mandate, the lifting of lifetime insurance caps, insurance rebates, preventative care and new care models--namely accountable care organizations and readmissions programs--and will see insurance expansion in 2014. The law also helped root out Medicare and Medicaid fraud, he said.

If elected for a second term, Obama promised to carry out the ACA, while offering a permanent fix to Medicare's payment formula.

The President also commented on the loaded term "Obamacare."

"Supporters and detractors alike refer to the law as Obamacare. I don't mind because I do care," Obama said.

Romney, whose commentary was titled "Replacing Obamacare with Real Health Care," called out a 2,700-page health reform law and added "red tape" to the healthcare dilemma.

"President Obama's 2700-page federal takeover does not solve our problems," the governor said.

Romney, who his opposition called the "architect of health reform in Massachusetts," called for changes in the tax code and promised to not change Medicare for current beneficiaries and those enrolling in the next decade. Regarding Medicaid, Romney said states could decide how their resources are used, by converting to a block-grant system aligned with incentives.

Both candidates supported malpractice reform.

"Doctors should spend more time treating patients and less time practicing defensive medicine," Romney wrote.

Similarly, "I support medical malpractice reform to prevent needless lawsuits without placing arbitrary caps that do nothing to lower the cost of care," Obama said.

According to today's Gallup Poll, 49 percent of registered voters support Obama, while 44 percent support Romney. According to two new Washington Post polls, Obama is leading in the swing states of Ohio and Florida with higher voter trust over Medicare issues, according to the newspaper.

For more information:
- read the Obama commentary
- see the Romney commentary
- check out the Gallup Poll
- here's the Washington Post article

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