KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Poll Shows Opposition To Health Law Softening; GOP And Dems Gird For Repeal Vote

The Associated Press: AP-GfK Poll: Raw Feelings Ease Over Health Law
Ahead of a vote on repeal in the GOP-led House this week, strong opposition to the law stands at 30 percent, close to the lowest level registered in AP-GfK surveys dating to September 2009. ... The law expands coverage to more than 30 million uninsured, and would require, for the first time, that most people in the United States carry health insurance. The poll finds that 40 percent of those surveyed said they support the law, while 41 percent oppose it. Just after the November congressional elections, opposition stood at 47 percent and support was 38 percent. ... [the poll] was conducted Jan. 5-10 ... and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points (Alonso-Zaldivar and Agiesta, 1/16).

Politico: Health Care Debate Will Go On, Coburn Says
Acknowledging that Senate Republicans face a difficult, if not impossible, obstacle in the repealing the Democrats' health-care package enacted into law last year, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), a leading conservative, vowed to continue pressing the issue. "The fact is is we're not through with the debate on health care in this country," Coburn said on NBC's "Meet the Press." ..."We welcome, in a certain sense, their attempt to repeal it because it gives us a second chance to make a first impression," [Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.] said on the same show (Bresnahan, 1/16).

The Hill: Senate Dems Indicate Willingness To 'Break Apart,' Fix Health Reform
Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) on Sunday said House Republicans remain determined to repeal the healthcare reform law, but one Democratic lawmaker urged her colleagues to instead focus only on reforming flawed provisions. ... Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said on CBS that lawmakers should aim to focus not on throwing out the reform law, but rather on repairing individual provisions. She acknowledged the law "is not perfect," and suggested Republicans and Democrats likely could agree on changing certain provisions. "Let's break it apart," she said during the show (Bennett and Johnson, 1/16).

The Washington Post: GOP Lacks Clear Health-Care Plan
[T]he GOP has a cupboard of health-care ideas, most going back a decade or more. They include tax credits to help Americans afford insurance, limiting awards in medical malpractice lawsuits and unfettering consumers from rules that require them to buy state-regulated insurance policies. ... House Republicans have termed their strategy "repeal and replace." But according to GOP House leaders, senior aides and conservative health policy specialists, Republicans have not distilled their ideas into a coherent plan (Goldstein, 1/15).

Related from KHN: Republicans' Health Reform Repeal Legislation And Original Overhaul Proposal

The Associated Press: For Heady Tea Party, Now The Hard Part Begins
House Republicans plan on Wednesday to fulfill a tea party priority: voting to repeal the health care law passed by Democrats last year. ... GOP leaders are sticking with a title for their resolution that Democrats say is inaccurate and unseemly in light of the six people killed in Tucson: "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act." Republicans acknowledge that the Senate is certain to block a repeal. Some veteran House members say it's unrealistic to think that even a freshman class of 87 Republicans, most of whom have tea party backing, can make a significant impact in their first term (Babington, 1/16).

The New York Times: In The Health Care Fight, A Political Focus On Jobs, With No Simple Answers
In the fight over whether the law will create or destroy jobs, both political parties cite evidence to support their claims. But many economists say the effect on jobs is likely to be modest - neither so negative as Republicans assert nor so positive as Democrats contend. In any event, economists say, the impact on jobs - a hot political issue now - is not a particularly good standard to use in evaluating a complex law that will affect one-sixth of the economy and almost every American (Pear, 1/15).

Springfield News-Leader/FactCheck.org: Check The Facts
When it comes to truth in labeling, House Republicans are getting off to a poor start with their constantly repeated references to the new health care law as "job-killing." We find: Independent, nonpartisan experts project only a "small" or "minimal" impact on jobs, even before taking likely job gains in the health care and insurance industries into account. The House Republican leadership, in a report issued Jan. 6, badly misrepresents what the Congressional Budget Office has said about the law. ... The GOP also cites a study projecting a 1.6 million job loss -- but fails to mention that the study refers to a hypothetical employer mandate that is not part of the new law (1/16).

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