KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

White House Rallies Democratic Governors Around Health Reform

The White House is calling on Democratic governors to help defend the health care overhaul.

Politico: "One day after California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, delivered a stinging attack on federal health care reform, Obama administration officials huddled with his Democratic counterparts to address their complaints about the legislation - and enlist them in the public campaign to support it. With a bill on the brink of passage, the White House is hoping to present a united Democratic front to help beat back the increasingly sharp attacks from Schwarzenegger and other Republican governors."

The Democratic Governors Association held a call with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and White House adviser Valerie Jarrett on Thursday. "... on today's call Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a key player at the DGA, urged his fellow governors to send a group letter backing the measure to every Democrat in Congress." Some Democratic governors, however, are less enthusiastic. "'It is a huge load on the states at a time when we are still climbing out of the recession,' Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen told Time. Jarrett and Sebelius also heard the governors repeat their request that the administration and Congress sweeten the bill, adding subsidies for state Medicaid programs like those received by Nebraska" (Martin and Smith, 1/7).

The call came after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif., "changed direction and become a battering ram for Republicans, who have seized on his caustic comments this week that the bill is a "trough of bribes, deals and loopholes" that unfairly penalize the state," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. "The governor raised eyebrows in his 27-minute State of the State address Wednesday when he criticized the financial burdens of expanding government health care, saying, 'You've heard of the bridge to nowhere? This is health care to nowhere'" (Marinucci, 1/8).

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