KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Politics And Health Care: Poll Finds ‘Many’ Want More Government As Money Pours Into Some Campaigns

Less than six weeks before the midterm election, some news outlets covered public opinion and politics.

The Associated Press: A new AP poll finds that Americans who think the law should have done more outnumber those who think the government should stay out of health care by 2-to-1. ... The poll found that about four in 10 adults think the new law did not go far enough to change the health care system, regardless of whether they support the law, oppose it or remain neutral. On the other side, about one in five say they oppose the law because they think the federal government should not be involved in health care at all."

"[But] Broad majorities of both the 'get-outs' and 'do-mores' said medical care, health insurance and prescription drugs cost too much. And most said the system should aim to increase the number of people with insurance and enable Americans to get the care they need, while improving quality. The differences emerge when it comes to the means" (Anlonso-Zaldivar and Agiesta, 9/25). (The poll was conducted Aug. 31 to Sept. 7 by Stanford University and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and has a margin of error of +/-  3.9 percentage points.)

Roll Call: "With some of the most popular provisions of health care reform taking effect last week, Congressional Democrats are getting back on offense just weeks ahead of the midterm elections. ... Many Democrats are ready to publicly embrace an issue they largely ceded to Republicans and their accusations of a costly, big-government takeover. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen said the new health care policies are just the kinds of tangible issues Democrats can use to contrast themselves against Republicans, who have lambasted Democrats' 'Obamacare' plan and have called for repealing health care reform altogether. ... Not that everyone in the majority is eager to tout health care reform. Thirty-four Democrats opposed the final bill, and others are in close races with Republicans running on a platform of fiscal responsibility" (Bendery, 9/27).

NPR: "In Florida, the health care overhaul was a hot issue even before the campaign season began. And it helped launch Rick Scott, the Republican nominee for governor, into politics. ... Health care is also playing a big role in some Florida congressional races where Democrats are considered vulnerable. The 60 Plus Association, a Virginia-based group that bills itself as a conservative alternative to AARP, is running ads in at least three Florida districts held by Democrats, including Suzanne Kosmas and Alan Grayson. ... Polls show that health care actually is not high on the list of voters' concerns in Florida - trailing the economy, jobs, taxes, education and the cost of housing. [But] concerns about the plan - and how it will affect Medicare - are key to efforts to influence one of Florida's largest and most politically active voting blocs: senior citizens" (Allen, 9/25).

The Baltimore Sun: "In his second run at the seat he missed narrowly two years ago, [Republican Andy] Harris has worked hard to raise money from fellow doctors around the country. Anesthesiologists from at least 39 states and the District of Columbia have responded by pumping more than $250,000 into his campaign, according to Federal Election Commission records, making them far and away the largest single interest fueling Maryland's most competitive House race. About one in five dollars donated by individuals to Harris' 2010 candidacy has come from medical professionals, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics ... Health care is likely to be back on the agenda in Washington next year, regardless of who controls Congress. And anesthesiologists are under growing pressure in an emerging debate about slowing the rising cost of care" (West, 9/26).

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