First Edition: November 7, 2012
Today's headlines detail the outcome of the presidential election, as well as House and Senate races, and offer analysis regarding how those results will impact the implementation of the health law, negotiatioins surrounding the looming fiscal cliff and other health policy issues.
Kaiser Health News: President's Win Is Reprieve For 'Obamacare'
Kaiser Health News staff writer Jay Hancock writes: "President Barack Obama's victory cements the Affordable Care Act, expanding coverage to millions but leaving weighty questions about how to pay for it and other care to be delivered to an increasingly unhealthy, aging population. … Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had promised to repeal the act and replace it with something that would loosen government’s involvement in health care. Conservatives portrayed the law's survival as limiting the freedom of patient and doctor and adding to a federal debt that recently exceeded $16 trillion" (Hancock, 11/7). Read the story.
Kaiser Health News: Obama Win Boosts Health Law, But States Still Control Its Destiny
Kaiser Health News staff writer Phil Galewitz reports: "President Barack Obama's re-election ensures the survival of his landmark health care law, but predominantly Republican state officials will get a big say in how it is carried out. State lawmakers will control whether millions of uninsured people get coverage through Medicaid beginning in 2014, as the law envisions. They'll also decide whether to set up online markets where individuals can shop for coverage and seek federal subsidies to lower their costs" (Galewitz, 11/7). Read the story.
The New York Times: Electorate Reverts To A Partisan Divide As Obama's Support Narrows
With voters worn by hard times yet many of them hopeful of better times ahead, Americans reverted to more traditional lines compared with the broader-based coalition that made Barack Obama president four years ago. He was seen generally as more empathetic and better able to handle Medicare and an international crisis. The two were about even when it came to who was better able to handle the economy and the federal budget deficit. Three-fifths of voters said they opposed raising taxes to help cut the deficit, a finding that favored Mr. Romney. But almost half support higher taxes on incomes over $250,000, as Mr. Obama has proposed (Calmes and Thee-Brenan, 11/6).
The Wall Street Journal: Obama Seizes Another Chance
The Barack Obama who won a second term Tuesday was a different candidate from the one swept into power four years ago on promises of hope and change. Instead, he has envisioned a second term that would bring a handful of solid victories; a deficit deal, an immigration overhaul and corporate tax reform top his list. He wants to protect and implement laws from his first term, particularly his health-care reform and new financial regulations. Most urgent will be deficit talks that will begin almost immediately in hopes of keeping the nation from going over the so-called fiscal cliff, the combination of across-the-board tax increases and sweeping spending cuts set to kick in unless an alternative is found by year's end (Meckler, 11/7).
Politico: Obamacare Survives – Now What?
It has now survived two near-death experiences. The Supreme Court could have struck the law down, but it didn't. And with Barack Obama in the White House for another four years, it's not going to get repealed — or even gutted. Now it has to work. If it does, more Americans might come to accept it — and even be glad it passed. If it doesn't, Obama's legacy will be tarnished. And Republicans will say "we told you so" for years to come (Nather, 11/7).
The New York Times: News Analysis: Question For The Victor: How Far Do You Push?
The champagne bottles from victory celebrations in Chicago will barely be emptied before Mr. Obama has to begin answering that question. The coming end-of-the-year fiscal cliff prompted by trillions of dollars of automatic tax increases and spending cuts could force Mr. Obama to define priorities that will shape the rest of his presidency before he even puts his hand on the Bible to take the oath a second time. … It may have been inevitable that Mr. Obama could not live up to the heavy mantle of hope and change he assumed in 2008 as the first African-American to be elected president. Inheriting an economy in crisis, he pushed through a sweeping stimulus package, the health care law and Wall Street regulatory measures, and he headed off another depression. But he failed to change the culture of Washington or bring unemployment down to healthy levels (Baker, 11/7).
Los Angeles Times: New Analysis: Maybe Stalemate's Latest Victory Means Voters Will Finally Win
On such questions as whether Americans should pay higher or lower taxes, whether Medicare and other entitlements should be scaled back, and whether millions of illegal immigrants should be pushed to leave the country or given a path to citizenship, Democrats and Republicans have stalemated. Leaders of each party have deferred compromise in the hope that voters would give their side a clear mandate. On Tuesday, Democrats won a significant victory, reelecting Barack Obama as president and retaining control of the Senate. Still, America's most expensive election did almost nothing to change the Capitol's balance of power (Lauter, 11/7).
The Washington Post: Fresh From Reelection, President Finds Himself On Edge Of 'Fiscal Cliff'
The president, who won reelection late Tuesday, must now confront the "fiscal cliff," nearly $500 billion in automatic tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect in January that could throw the nation back into recession. … Obama has threatened to veto legislation to avert the cliff that extends the Bush tax rates for the wealthy. After a campaign focused heavily on that pledge, Democrats say the president is prepared to draw a firm line in the sand, even if it means letting one of the largest tax hikes in U.S. history take effect on Jan. 1 (Montgomery and Goldfarb, 11/6).
Politico: No Clarity On Fiscal Cliff After Election
Obama's convincing reelection, the Republicans' sustained majority in the House and Democrats' hold on the Senate only further complicate the prospects of cutting any kind of deal on expiring income tax rates, massive pending cuts to Pentagon spending and entitlement reform. A clarifying election this was not. Instead, it's the beginning of a stare-down that will almost certainly last months (Sherman and Raju, 11/7).
The New York Times: Republicans Face Struggle Over Party's Direction
The coming debate will be centered on whether the party should keep pursuing the antigovernment focus that grew out of resistance to the health care law and won them the House in 2010, or whether it should focus on a strategy that recognizes the demographic tide running strongly against it. … The first test of whether Republicans see any political need to be more conciliatory will come quickly in the lame duck session of Congress this month, when they will face pressure from the White House, Congressional Democrats and perhaps the Senate Republican leadership to strike a deal to avert the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and the beginning of automatic across-the-board spending cuts (Hulse, 11/7).
The Wall Street Journal: Economy's Fate A Central Concern Of Voters
Fears over the economy and unemployment were the central focus of voters who cast ballots in the presidential election Tuesday, with issues such as health care, the federal budget deficit and foreign policy rated far lower in importance. Exit polls showed that many voters see Mitt Romney as better positioned to fix the economy and President Barack Obama as having a better feel for the middle class and how to handle Medicare (King, 11/6).
Politico: Exit Polls 2012: Split On Obamacare
Voters are deeply divided on whether some or all of the Obama health care law should be repealed, according to early exit polls. Forty-five percent of voters said they think the 2010 law should be either fully or partially repealed, compared with 47 percent who want to see the law remain as-is or see it expanded further (Schultheis, 11/6).
The New York Times: Republicans Stand Firm In Controlling The House
Deep disapproval of Congress and dissatisfaction with partisan division appeared no match for Congressional incumbency on Tuesday, as Republicans seemed to have retained a firm hold on the House of Representatives, assuring the continuation of divided government for at least another two years. … Retirements by a large number of Democratic members, and a message on Medicare that more or less fizzled, were additional impediments. Blue Dog Democrats, a group of moderates whose numbers have been dwindling, were particularly endangered as they struggled to defend districts they had long held (Steinhauer, 11/7).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Republicans Renew House Control; Boehner Says Voters Want Parties To Cooperate On Economy
Shortly after Obama's re-election was clear, Boehner — re-elected without opposition — said voters had conveyed a desire for compromise. That was a departure from the House GOP's general tone over the past two years, during which the conservative GOP House majority has had numerous bitter clashes with Obama over deficit reduction, taxes and spending (11/7).
The Wall Street Journal: GOP Retains House Control
Republicans retained control of the House Tuesday night, confronting President Barack Obama with a continuing partisan obstacle to his second-term agenda (Hook, 11/7).
The Washington Post: Democrats Hold On To Senate Majority; Key Wins For Kaine In Va., Warren In Mass.
Still, a bare majority for Democrats offers them the chance to control the chamber's agenda and committee structure. With that edge comes new leverage in negotiations over the nation's most difficult problems, including fiscal issues that must be addressed even before the next Senate takes office. With the GOP retaining control of the House of Representatives, Democrats needed to hold the Senate as a legislative ally to a reelected President Obama (Helderman, 11/6).
NPR: Republicans Keep The House; Democrats To Retain Senate
Republicans have easily maintained their hold on the House, while missteps from Tea Party favorites helped Democrats retain a majority in the Senate. That means the two chambers of Congress remain deeply divided, with prospects for agreement on such big ticket items as deficits, tax rates and climate change unclear (Johnson, 11/6).
The Wall Street Journal: Democrats Rack Up Wins To Keep Senate Majority
Democrats kept control of the Senate by winning a series of high-profile races, giving them a continued stronghold in Washington and disappointing early Republican hopes of retaking the chamber (Bendavid, 11/7).
Politico: Abortion, Rape Controversy Shaped Key Races
Two Republicans who made widely criticized remarks about abortion and rape lost their Senate elections Tuesday, the result of a massive backlash by female voters in states where Republicans should have won handily. Rep. Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana each made deeply controversial remarks about rape that played a significant role in shaping their public image, resulting in losses that make it highly unlikely that the Republicans could win control of the Senate (Haberkorn, 11/6).
The New York Times: Turnaround In Missouri As Incumbent Keeps Seat
Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill won a second term on Tuesday, beating Representative Todd Akin in a remarkable turnaround for a lawmaker once believed to be the Senate's most vulnerable Democratic incumbent. … Ms. McCaskill painted Mr. Akin as an extremist, highlighting statements by him and his votes on things like Social Security, federal school lunch subsidies and the definition of rape. She tried to portray herself as a bipartisan moderate, and vastly outspent Mr. Akin on ads. Mr. Akin sought to link Ms. McCaskill as closely as possible to President Obama, who has been unpopular in Missouri. He highlighted Ms. McCaskill’s early support of Mr. Obama, and her votes in favor of the health care law and the stimulus package (Eligon, 11/7).
The New York Times: Warren Defeats Brown In Massachusetts Senate Contest
She cast herself as a fighter for the middle class and a champion of women’s causes. In her closing message to voters, she said Mr. Brown occasionally cast good votes but he was unreliable because he had voted against equal pay for equal work, health insurance coverage for birth control and a Supreme Court nominee who supported abortion rights (Seelye, 11/6).
The Washington Post: GOP's Akin, Mourdock Lose Senate Elections
Democrats scored decisive Senate wins in Missouri and Indiana after candidates supported by the tea party and evangelical Christians made controversial remarks on rape, pregnancy and abortion that appeared to cost them the support of more-moderate voters in their party (Jaffe, 11/7).
The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Baldwin Defeats Thompson To Win Wisconsin Senate Seat
Ms. Baldwin ran unopposed. But as a seven-term congresswoman, she had compiled a voting record that made her a target. Mr. Thompson painted Ms. Baldwin a supporter of tax increases and burdensome environmental regulations. Mr. Thompson also tagged Ms. Baldwin as a big-government liberal, noting she said that she was "for a government takeover of health care." Ms. Baldwin labeled Mr. Thompson an ally of big-money interests who would undermine social programs like Medicare. She pounced on Mr. Thompson for saying at a Tea Party meeting, "Who better than me to come up with programs to do away with Medicaid and Medicare?" Mr. Thompson later explained that he only meant that he wanted to reform Medicare to protect it for current and future senior citizens (Hughes, 11/7).
The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Heinrich Wins New Mexico Senate Race
Mr. Heinrich and Ms. Wilson clashed over taxes, regulation, energy, and the role of government, drawing sharp contrasts on almost every issue. Mr. Heinrich called for allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for individuals making more than $200,000 a year and couples making more than $250,000 a year. He said tax increases had to be part of the answer to reducing the deficit and criticized Ms. Wilson for supporting the Bush tax cuts. Ms. Wilson favored a one-year extension of the Bush tax cuts, giving Congress time for Congress to overhaul the tax system. She said the Bush tax cuts helped the economy. Ms. Wilson called for repealing Mr. Obama's signature healthcare law. Mr. Heinrich voted for the measure, which requires individuals to carry health insurance (Hughes, 11/7).
NPR: Gubernatorial Battles: Republican Takes N.C., Democrat Wins N.H.
Voters in North Carolina put a Republican in their governor's office for the first time in two decades, and New Hampshire elected a new female Democratic governor. But the closely watched tossup races in Montana and Washington, where Democrats currently serve as governors, remained too close to call late Tuesday. Eight of the gubernatorial seats up for grabs are now held by Democrats; three are in Republican hands. Republicans currently hold 29 governorships, Democrats have 20, and Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee is an independent (Halloran, 11/7).
The Wall Street Journal: Stock Futures Move Lower As Obama Wins
Stock futures slid late Tuesday and early Wednesday as voters re-elected President Barack Obama, though some investors said they expected the passing of the election to clear the way for further gains in the market. The presidential contest drew close attention from investors, in part because of its implications for U.S. spending, tax and health-care policy. Money managers said among their top concerns is the new government's ability to reach a deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff," more than $600 billion worth of tax increases and reduced spending set to go into effect next year (Jarzemsky, 11/7).
NPR: Business, Labor Groups Laud Obama Victory
Exit polls showed the economy was Issue No. 1 with voters in this presidential election. And it didn't take long for labor organizers and business leaders to start offering their thoughts on the re-election of President Obama. Because of White House policies, the U.S. economy is "beginning to pick up steam," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement. He cheered Obama's win and put congressional Republicans on notice that Democrats will focus on "ending the Bush tax cuts for the rich and opposing any cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits" (Geewax, 11/7).
The Washington Post: Five Things The Election Results Mean For Business And Entrepreneurs
President Obama is projected to win reelection, defeating Mitt Romney thanks largely to battleground victories in Ohio, Wisconsin and Virginia. … But here's an early glimpse of what small and young businesses can expect from a split Congress and Obama's second term in the White House. … Obamacare full-steam ahead: Romney won't have the chance to extend waivers to the states, nor will he be able to lead a charge to fully repeal the health care reform law. The president's victory quashes the legislation’s biggest remaining threat, and though regulators must still determine exactly how to implement the changes, the law will take full effect as scheduled in the president's second term in office. Changes will include an employer mandate for businesses with 50 or more employees and a tax credit for business owners' contributions toward their employees' health costs (Harrison, 11/7).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: With The Election Over, What Small Business Owners Can Expect From President Obama's 2nd Term
Even so, many small business owners are critical of the president's performance. They are anxious about taxes and the bulging federal deficit. Many opposed the health care overhaul and complain that they are being squeezed by excess regulations. So now that Obama has won four more years, what can small business owners can expect from Obama on taxes, health care, the economy and regulation? The Associated Press interviewed small business experts and advocates to find out (11/7).
USA Today: Voters In 38 States Decide Sweeping Ballot Initiatives
A vote in Massachusetts on whether terminally ill patients can legally get drugs from a physician to end their lives was too close to call early today. The issue had been hotly debated in the heavily Catholic state. Similar laws have passed in Oregon and Washington. Thirty-four states prohibit assisted suicide outright, while Massachusetts and six others ban it through common law. Montana's Supreme Court ruled that state law doesn't prohibit doctors from helping patients die (Weise, 11/7).
The Wall Street Journal: Florida Rejects Health Law Measure
Voters in Florida threw out a proposal to try to block the federal health law's requirement that people purchase insurance or pay a penalty by amending the state’s constitution. … Voters rejected the measure by a slim margin, suggesting that the strength of hostility to the individual mandate had waned slightly. Three other states, Alabama, Montana and Wyoming, were weighing similar provisions (Radnofsky, 11/6).
The Washington Post: Florida Rejects Health-Care Mandate Ban
According to AP, Florida voters have rejected a proposal that would have banned government mandates for health insurance, such as the Affordable Care Act. The amendment required 60 percent voter approval, but failed to get 50 percent. The amendment was a symbolic measure by the Republican controlled legislature, since the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the law. Alabama voters have a similar measure on their ballots (McDuffee, 11/6).
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