KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Examining The Budget Deal’s Political Dynamics

News outlets sort through the players in this drama to find winners and losers -- as well as how some lawmakers and advocates will move forward. 

The New York Times: News Analysis: Losing A Lot To Get Little
For the Republicans who despise President Obama’s health care law, the last few weeks should have been a singular moment to turn its problem-plagued rollout into an argument against it. Instead, in a futile campaign to strip the law of federal money, the party focused harsh scrutiny on its own divisions, hurt its national standing and undermined its ability to win concessions from Democrats. Then they surrendered almost unconditionally (Peters, 10/16).

The Dallas Morning News: Ted Cruz Left With Few Friends After Obamacare Fight Fails, Government Shutdown Ends, Debt Limit Rises
It might be time for Ted Cruz to get a dog. Because as the saying goes, if you want a friend in Washington, that’s what you do. And by the time Cruz’s crusade to defund Obamacare finally crashed to a halt Wednesday, the Texas senator had precious few friends left. The government shutdown alienated colleagues in both parties. It generated fresh animosity toward the tea party and a flurry of recriminations toward Cruz. Voter support for the Republican Party plunged. And the health care law survived unscathed (Gillman, 10/17).

The Hill: Rubio: The Fight Over Obamacare ‘Has Just Begun’
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) vowed to continue to fight ObamaCare as lawmakers negotiate long-term budget deals in the coming months. ... Rubio, along with Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), argued this summer that the vote on increasing the debt ceiling was the “last, best chance” Republicans had to stop President Obama’s signature healthcare law (Cox, 10/16).

CBS News: How One Man's Anti-Obamacare Strategy Led U.S. To The Brink Of Default
Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz has become the public face of the government shutdown. But you've probably never even heard of the 31-year-old conservative activist The Wall Street Journal calls "the strategist behind the shutdown." "The American people are overwhelmingly saying we need to stop Obamacare," said Michael Needham, the CEO of Heritage Action. It is the political arm of the nation's largest conservative think tank. Months ago, he and fellow activists devised a plan to try defund or delay Obamacare by blocking federal spending, even if it led to a government shutdown (Reid, 10/16).

Politico: Michael Needham: Obamacare Repeal In 2017
The CEO of conservative advocacy group Heritage Action said Wednesday that “everybody understands” that repealing Obamacare won’t happen until 2017. “Well everybody understands that we’re not going be able to repeal this law until 2017 and that we have to win the Senate and we have to win the White House,” Michael Needham said on Fox News’s “America’s Newsroom.” However, Needham said he admired the House Republicans for their strategy to defund Obamacare and hit the Senate for hindering those efforts (McCalmont, 10/16).

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