This week: Healthcare to get air time in presidential debate

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Romney began invoking his state healthcare law ahead of the Republican National Convention, and has continued, saying Wednesday: "I got everybody in my state insured … I don't think there's anything that shows more empathy and care about the people of this country than that kind of record."

The Affordable Care Act remains divisive with the public and could spell problems for Obama with some swing voters. But polls also show Obama with a double-digit lead over Romney when it comes to healthcare issues. September's Kaiser Health Tracking Poll found Obama with a 20-point advantage over his GOP challenger on who is more trustworthy to determine Medicare's future. Obama came in 14 points ahead of Romney on who is more fit to cut Medicare spending. And the same survey found that 45 percent have a favorable view of Obama's healthcare law — a level of support the law has not seen in two years.

Back in Washington, D.C., the healthcare world will be looking at costs, Medicare Part D, and like everybody else, the presidential campaign.

On Monday, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) will join former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala to discuss entitlement reform and controlling healthcare costs at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Another panel on the same topic will include Alice Rivlin, former director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, and John B. Taylor, the former Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs.

The Commonwealth Fund will release a report analyzing the presidential candidates' healthcare plans, looking specifically at projections for the number of uninsured. The report will come out Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, the centrist think tank Third Way will release an opinion poll on the Medicare prescription drug benefit.