Candidates Continue To Clash Over Health Care Law
Candidates around the nation are increasingly focusing on what they'll do with the new health law if they're elected as clashes over the overhaul's usefulness and future continue to occur on the campaign trail.
The Associated Press/MSNBC reports on the West Virginia Senate race between Republican John Raese and Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin. "They also diverged on federal health care reform, which Raese called 'pure, unadulterated socialism ... the worst bill that has ever come out of the United States Senate and House.' Raese said he would repeal the legislation entirely, complaining that it supplants what should be doctor-patient relationships with patient-bureaucrat relationships. Manchin acknowledged problems with the legislation but said there are elements worth keeping, including provisions that prohibit insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions" (Smith, 10/18).
The Hill's Healthwatch blog: "Manchin, the Democrat in a surprisingly tough contest to replace the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), launched an ad distancing himself from both the White House and its new healthcare reform law." But, "[f]ast forward to this week, and Manchin is out with a new ad that blasts GOP candidate John Raese for opposing one of the central benefits of the healthcare reform law: the prohibition on denying coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions" (Lillis, 10/18).
The Miami Herald: In Florida, the race between Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Alex Sink for governor has also taken a health care turn. "These days, on the campaign trail, Scott showcases the word 'promise.'' He pledges to help turn the economy around and create jobs as he did in the 1990s when he led Columbia/HCA. As the nation's largest and most aggressive hospital company, Columbia/HCA was a high-profile target of many lawsuits, which probably makes Scott the most deposed candidate for governor in recent memory." Sink has hit Scott on the depositions he had to give in several cases involving Columbia/HCA and fraud in recent advertisements. "Another spot from Sink notes that Scott in 2000 pleaded the Fifth Amendment 75 times in a contract dispute against Columbia/HCA, which soon paid a record $1.7 billion Medicare fraud fine - albeit three years after Scott left the company. Both Sink ads accuse Scott of having something to hide" (Caputo, 10/18).
Kansas Health Institute's News Service: In Kansas, "'[r]epeal and replace,' that's what Republican gubernatorial candidate Sam Brownback says should be done with the new federal health reform law, which he consistently voted against in the U.S. Senate. ... But the candidate has said little about why he opposes health reform. Or what he would do as governor to combat its implementation." KHI examines some of Brownback's claims on the health law, such as that it will add hundreds of millions in new Medicaid costs to Kansas (Shields, 10/18).
Des Moines Register: In Iowa, "voters' choices for governor and attorney general could determine how closely the state cooperates with the new federal health reform law. Gov. Chet Culver, a Democrat, says the law offers practical, affordable ways for the state to help cover residents who lack health insurance. Culver's Republican challenger, former Gov. Terry Branstad, says he would try to avoid participating in parts of the program that he considers too expensive. If Iowans elect the Republican attorney general candidate, Brenna Findley, over incumbent Democrat Tom Miller, they could see their state join a 20-state lawsuit trying to block the health reform law." State administrators also expect the law's Medicaid expansion in Iowa to add up to 100,000 to the health care program for the poor that already covers 375,000 in that state (Leys, 10/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.