As the Democrats prepare to open their National Convention this evening, the party has released its official 2012 party platform.  As with the Republican platform issued last week, it does not contain many surprises, but it is important to note the priorities each party has set heading into the election season.  Here’s a quick look at the major healthcare issues discussed.

Defense of the Affordable Care Act:  The platform notes that “over the determined opposition of Republicans,” Democrats “enacted landmark reforms that are already helping millions of Americans.”  Specifically highlighted are the ACA’s provisions allowing children to stay on their parents’ health insurance, requiring insurers to cover children with pre-existing conditions, prohibitions on caps for coverage, and cost-free preventative services.  The document warns that “Mitt Romney and the Republican Party would repeal health reform,” but promises that “we will continue to stand up to Republicans working to take away the benefits and protections that are already helping millions of Americans every day.”

Medicaid and Medicare:  Democrats promise to strengthen and expand Medicaid access for low-income and disabled Americans while explicitly opposing “efforts to block grant the program, slash its funding, and leave millions more without health insurance.

Similarly, the Democrats call Medicare a “sacred compact with our seniors” and vow to “adamantly oppose any efforts to privatize or voucherize Medicare.”

The platform does not lay out potential changes to either program other than touting those included in the ACA to “strengthen” each program.

Other Items of Note:  The platform also calls for investments in several sectors, including mental health services, HIV/AIDS funding, and programs to combat childhood obesity.  Democrats will also seek to provide additional sick leave for employees under the proposed Healthy Families Act and an expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act.