Daily Rounds: Romney Airbrushes Health Reform; Cheating In Government Class; Abortion And Prematurity; Reality Check On GOP Health Costs

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Humanize This! (The New York Times) — "The man to bring universal health care to his state did not mention that stupendous feat; it was airbrushed out, Soviet style, from the film that introduced Romney. A man whose father walked out on the Barry Goldwater convention of 1964 because it was too extreme let the heirs to those toxic politics write a platform that would move the country backward by two generations. At the end of the night, the great mystery remained: not just who is Mitt Romney, but how does he cut taxes, raise or maintain defense spending, save Medicare and do it all without adding to a burden of debt that may outlive Romney himself. He gave no answer, because the real substance of his campaign is a construct built on a fantasy. Now he has to sell it."

Harvard Investigates 125 Students For Cheating On Final Exam (The Boston Globe) "Nearly half the students in an introductory government class are suspected of jointly coming up with answers or copying off one another. Groups of students appear to have worked together on responses to short questions and an essay assignment, violating a no-collaboration policy that was printed on the exam itself, said Jay Harris, Harvard’s dean of undergraduate education...College officials declined to name the course or any students involved, citing federal privacy laws. But the Harvard Crimson identified the class late Thursday as Government 1310: Introduction to Congress, taught by assistant professor Matthew Platt."

Does Mother's Abortion History Affect Baby's Birthweight? (NPR) — "Specifically, the authors found the risk for having a baby born very premature (earlier than 28 weeks) was only statistically significant for women who'd previously had two abortions or more. Women who'd had three or more abortions were a third more likely to deliver a first baby earlier than 37 weeks, 43 percent more likely to have a baby with a low birth weight and twice as likely to have a baby with a very low birth weight. But the researchers caution that many caveats come along with the study. One is that because it is observational, in that it looked only at medical records, comparing the birth outcomes for women with varying number of abortions. "No matter how large and well-controlled, it only shows there is a link between abortion and some adverse birth outcomes," said lead author Reija Klemetti, an epidemiologist at the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki. "It cannot prove that abortions are the cause."

Romney's Misleads On Obama's Health Costs: Reality Check (Bloomberg) — "Though President Barack Obama’s health-care plan was modeled after one enacted in Massachusetts by Romney, and its mandate that Americans buy insurance was initially proposed by Republican lawmakers, Republicans have opposed the law. Republican-led states unsuccessfully sued to overturn it.
The facts: Connecting current inflation in health care to the new law, which doesn’t take full effect until 2014, is a stretch. Health-care costs have been rising faster than prices in general for many years, though the pace has been slowing recently, in part because of the recession. Health costs rose 3.4 percent in 2010 from 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while the U.S. inflation rate was 1.6 percent. Obama’s health-care law cuts future Medicare costs by more than $700 billion over 10 years, in part by reducing payments to hospitals and insurance companies, including those that provide costlier Medicare Advantage plans. Romney says he would restore that money. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that repeal of the law would increase the federal deficit by $100 billion over 10 years. Republicans have yet to offer full details of how they would replace the health-care law. They have pushed measures to limit compensation for patients injured by medical malpractice. A 2009 Congressional Budget Office report found that a $250,000 cap on damages would reduce health costs by $54 billion over 10 years, or 0.5 percent of annual health-care spending."

This program aired on August 31, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.