Blue Dogs’ Bargain Blasted As Centrists’ Role QuestionedKaiser Health News reports that an agreement by House Democrats with fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats has a cadre of detractors, including "state officials worried about increased Medicaid costs and liberal lawmakers upset about a proposed reduction in subsidies for low-income families to buy insurance."
"The pact with the Blue Dogs, announced Wednesday, would trim $20 billion from the bill's 10-year price tag by requiring states to cover 7 percent of the cost of expanding Medicaid, the state-federal health program for the poor and disabled .... In addition, the agreement would cut $100 billion by making insurance subsidies available to families and individuals only after they spend 12 percent of their incomes on premiums, up from 11 percent in the existing bill."
"Some state officials immediately voiced displeasure about the Medicaid change. While contributing seven percent to the expansion of Medicaid 'doesn't sound like a lotthat's money right now that every state would have difficulty coming up with," said Tony Keck, health policy adviser to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican" (Pianin and Carey, 7/31).
Politico examines the "great constant of American politics: the relentless pressure on Southern, white Democratic lawmakers to steer a course between conservative elites at home and their often lower-income constituents. It's a difficult path for anyone to walk, especially in often rural districts where a handful of vested interests - sometimes amplified by talk radio - can dominate" (Rogers, 7/31).
Health industry lobbyists are increasingly turning their attention, and dollars, to Blue Dogs, the Washington Post reports. "The roiling debate about health-care reform has been a boon to the political fortunes of [Rep. Mike] Ross [D-Ark.] and 51 other members of the Blue Dog Coalition, who have become key brokers in shaping legislation in the House A look at career contribution patterns also shows that typical Blue Dogs receive significantly more money -- about 25 percent -- from the health-care and insurance sectors than other Democrats, putting them closer to Republicans in attracting industry support" (Eggen, 7/31). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.