KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Political Hijinx Surround Gov’t. Shutdown Threat, Push To Defund Health Law

News outlets report on the possible mid-term election impact of the GOP push to shut down the government if the health law receives funding. 

Politico: The Great Democrat Hope: Government Shutdown
As it stands now, the midterm is shaping up as a stale, status-quo election — with Democrats calling their counterparts right-wing extremists, Republicans attacking their rivals over Obamacare and neither side making much headway. That's good for Republicans, since the party out of power in the White House almost inevitably picks up House seats in the sixth year of the presidency. Heavily-gerrymandered districts provide the GOP an extra layer of protection (Isenstadt, 8/22).

CNN: Playing Chicken Over Obamacare
Some GOP lawmakers appear willing to shut down the government in their fight to defund the president's health care law, but not everyone is on board (Acosta, 8/22).

Bloomberg: Republicans In Echo Before Big Burn Defy Affordable Care
Joseph Califano remembers the moment well. The nation’s doctors were threatening to boycott the new Medicare program, and President Lyndon Johnson had to get them on board or the 1965 extension of health care to elderly Americans would collapse. So the president set a trap (Tackett, 8/22).

The issue, and surrounding debate, is being replayed at town hall meetings held this month in congressional districts -

The Associated Press: Cassidy Won’t Support Shutdown Over Health Law
U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) split with some hard-line members of the GOP on Wednesday, saying he wouldn't support a federal government shutdown as a way to defund President Barack Obama's health care law if the move would stop defense spending (Deslatte, 8/21).

The Lund Report: Wyden-Smith Town Hall Spreads Word About Cover Oregon, Health Reform
The drumbeat to inform Oregonians about impending health reform continued on Monday with a town hall hosted by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden (D) and Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith that 120 people attended. Wyden trumpeted the Affordable Care Act and the changes it will bring to the healthcare system and people’s lives. “Healthcare is no longer going to be just for the healthy and the wealthy,” he said, particularly mentioning the Affordable Care Act’s provision illegalizing denying someone health coverage because of pre-existing conditions (Waldroupe, 8/21).

Health News Florida: Rally Cry: 'Defund Obamacare'
Opponents of the Affordable Care Act rallied hundreds of conservatives at a Tampa hotel Wednesday night with a call for the Republican House to strip funds for the law out of next year's budget. The budget vote is scheduled for right after Labor Day, in time for the 2014 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1 (Gentry, 8/22).

Arizona Republic: Salmon To Help Target ‘Obamacare’
U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon drew cheers from a Mesa town-hall crowd Monday, saying he plans to enter the fray this fall to support a government shutdown aimed at defunding the president’s health-care law. The Republican congressman was piggybacking on an ultimatum issued by fellow conservative Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who wants the GOP to refuse to fund the federal government past Oct. 1 unless money is cut from the health care law that will be rolling out in earnest at that time (Sanders, 8/21).

Also in the news -

Politico: Bobby Jindal Withdraws Request For Obamacare Funds
Gov. Bobby Jindal, a fierce Obamacare critic, pursued funds from an under-the-radar program in the health law until this week, when his administration reversed course, citing cumbersome federal rules. Health aides to the Louisiana governor began eyeing the program – a long-term care reform effort called Community First Choice – last year and went as far as submitting a formal application to CMS (Cheney, 8/21).

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