KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Heritage Action Kicks Off Its ‘Defunding’ Tour

 Heritage Action's push, which is being called the "last, best chance"  to block the health law, features a bleak assessment of Republican Party's willingness to fight the measure. Meanwhile, at this summer's town hall meetings, it appears that neither the law's advocates nor opponents are safe. Also in the headlines, a new ad is released by Crossroads GPS targeting the employer mandate.

Politico: Heritage Action Kicks Off Obamacare Defunding Tour By Taking Aim At GOP
A last-ditch effort to derail Obamacare started in a barn [in Arkansas] Monday night — because it's not going to start in Washington, advocates told a packed crowd at the opening night of Heritage Action's August defunding tour. Heritage Action, trying to fuel an effort to defund the president's health care law on the cusp of its launch, offered a bleak assessment of a Republican Party that's held 40 anti-Obamacare votes: They don't have the guts to do everything necessary to stop the law, and that's where the Heritage faithful step in (Millman, 8/20).

The Associated Press: Group Kicks Off Nat’l Tour On Health Law Defunding
One of the chief backers of a plan to defund the federal health care law by tying it to budget negotiations said Monday that he didn't believe Republicans would be blamed for a government shutdown as supporters of the approach launched a national tour to spur support for the idea. Dismissing concerns from some Republicans, former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina called the defunding idea the "last, best chance" to stop the federal health care overhaul before key parts of the law take effect later this year (DeMillo, 8/20).

Roll Call: 'Defund Obamacare' Letter To Be Unveiled After Heritage Push
Heritage Action for America has a message for 100 House Republicans: You want to sign freshman Rep. Mark Meadows' letter. The advocacy group launched a $550,000 online ad campaign Monday that targets GOP lawmakers who haven't yet signed on to the petition being circulated by the North Carolina Republican (Dumain, 8/20).

Bloomberg: Tea Party Finds It Harder To Get Attention On Health Law
During Congress's August break in 2009, the Tea Party movement helped Republicans demonstrate public anger about President Barack Obama’s health-care legislation by showing up at rowdy town-hall meetings. This year, many of those same groups that now seek to deny funding for the health-care law's implementation are having to work harder to get Republican lawmakers' attention during their August break (Rowley, 8/20).

The Wall Street Journal: Town-Hall Dramas Use Activists' Scripts
Immigration advocates, tea-party organizers, privacy-rights activists and others are using community meetings during this month's congressional recess to pressure politicians, drive news coverage or produce a bit of video that might gain attention to their cause. Tea-party activists confronted a North Carolina Republican about ending President Barack Obama's signature health-care law and posted on a website a video of his response, which they found unsatisfactory (Hook, 8/20).

The New York Times: Amid Talk of White House Run, Texas Senator Targets Obama's Health Plan
Senator Ted Cruz, after two days of bedevilment over his birthplace and eligibility for the presidency, returned to form on Tuesday night with a rally [in Dallas] before the conservative faithful aimed at ginning up support to defund President Obama’s health care overhaul. ... The event was part of Heritage Action for America's "Defund Obamacare" tour, which began Monday in Fayetteville, Ark., and will make stops in nine cities. But Mr. Cruz is only appearing at the Dallas rally, and he drew a standing ovation from a crowd of roughly a thousand people (Parker and Martin, 8/20).

The Washington Post: Hecklers Confront Ted Cruz At Town Hall Meeting
A Dallas town hall meeting designed to rally support for defunding President Obama’s health-care law grew testy Tuesday night when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) was interrupted three separate times by hecklers. The conservative senator handled each interruption calmly, asking that he be allowed to finish his remarks. "You have health care, we should too!" chanted a pair of protesters near the end of Cruz's remarks (Sullivan, 8/20).

The Associated Press: Sen. Marco Rubio Talking Less About Immigration, More About Health Care
On a recent swing through the most conservative parts of his state, Sen. Marco Rubio told a packed banquet hall at the St. Andrews Bay Yacht Club that major policy issues were threatening the American dream: onerous taxes, burdensome regulations — and, above all, President Barack Obama's health care law (8/20).

The Hill: Crossroads Ad Hits ObamaCare Employer Mandate
A new ad from Crossroads GPS, the super-PAC tied to Republican strategist Karl Rove, attacks ObamaCare's employer mandate. The ad criticizes the healthcare law for requiring employers to provide healthcare coverage to employees who work more than 30 hours per week (Baker, 8/20).

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