KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Rubio Backs Cruz On Shutdown, McCain Calls Fight ‘Fool’s Errand’

While news outlets identify fissures among Republicans in the fight tying government funding to derailing the health care law, the billionaire Koch brothers deny playing any role.

The New York Times: Republicans Using Shutdown To Stake Positions For Potential 2016 Bids
Eager to regain favor with conservatives as he considers running for president, Mr. Rubio has fully embraced Mr. Cruz’s effort to block financing for the new health care law, standing with him at news conferences and through procedural maneuvers that led to the shutdown (Martin, 10/9).

Politico: John McCain: Obamacare Fight 'A Fool's Errand'
Sen. John McCain said Wednesday that there was never a chance of defunding Obamacare, blaming politicians who said it was possible for the current government shutdown. "We started this on a fool's errand, convincing so many millions of Americans and our supporters that we could defund Obamacare," McCain (R-Ariz.) told Wolf Blitzer on CNN. "[That] obviously wouldn't happen until we had 67 Republican senators to override a presidential veto." McCain stopped short of naming any of his colleagues specifically when asked who was to blame for the shutdown, but he did say that he believes those who initially advocated for tying the president’s signature health care law to budget negotiations were responsible (Delreal, 10/9).

The New York Times: Kochs Deny Pushing For Shutdown Over Health Law
Koch Industries, whose co-founders, Charles and David Koch, are major donors to Tea Party-inspired conservative causes, accused Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, on Wednesday of spreading "false information" about the brothers by suggesting they are behind the move to end financing for President Obama's healthcare law and the partial shutdown of the federal government (Stolberg, 10/9).

Bloomberg: Koch Industries Distances Itself From Obamacare Fight
Koch Industries Inc., a holding company led by two billionaire brothers who help finance Republican-aligned public policy groups, sent a letter to U.S. senators yesterday saying the company hasn’t advocated using Obamacare as leverage in the debate about government spending (Bykowicz, 10/10).

NBC News: Kochs To Congress: Focus On Spending Not Obamacare
In a move that highlights a growing rift in conservative ranks, Koch Industries -- the privately held energy conglomerate owned by billionaires Charles and David Koch -- today distanced the firm from allied political groups lobbying to keep the government shut down unless Obamacare is defunded. A letter, signed by the company's chief lobbyist and sent to members of Congress, says that Koch Industries has taken no position on the shutdown dispute in Congress "nor have we lobbied on legislative provisions defunding Obamacare (Isikoff, 10/9)."

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