KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

GOP, Former Mass. Sen. Brown Eye New Hampshire Seat

In Nebraska, a Republican Senate candidate opposing the health law once consulted for firms trying to implement it.

The New York Times: Scott Brown May Seek Office Again, But In New Hampshire
If Mr. Brown enters the race, polls have indicated that he would be the strongest Republican to challenge Ms. Shaheen, but the most recent poll, by Suffolk University, found him trailing by 13 percentage points. Even if he did not win, he would force the Democrats to spend a lot more time and attention in New Hampshire than they had been prepared for. With his national name recognition and the importance of the race, Mr. Brown -- who represented Massachusetts for three years -- would be expected to raise a serious amount of money. Ms. Shaheen is perceived as vulnerable because of her strong support for President Obama’s health care law, which polls show is deeply unpopular in New Hampshire (Seelye, 3/13).

Politico: Ben Sasse Aided Firm Implementing Obamacare
Nebraska Republican Ben Sasse has built his Senate campaign on his opposition to Obamacare -- but he once consulted for a firm that was working to implement it. Sasse provided early “strategic advice” to former Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt’s health care consulting firm while the firm pitched itself to clients in early 2010 to help implement the Affordable Care Act. Sasse is listed, along with his photograph and biography, as a “senior advisor” under the heading “Leavitt Partners team” in PowerPoint presentations from April and May 2010 in which Leavitt’s firm sold its Obamacare expertise (Epstein, 3/14).

Ads opposing candidates' Obamacare stances are becoming ubiquitous --

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Americans For Prosperity Targets Pryor’s Support for Health Law
Conservative group Americans for Prosperity launched a $700,000 ad campaign targeting Sen. Mark Pryor (D., Ark.) for his support of the Affordable Care Act. The ad, which will be broadcast statewide beginning Thursday and running for the next three weeks, brings the group’s total spending on the Senate race to more than $1.3 million. In the ad, a woman identified as Wanda of Marion, Ark., says Blue Cross Blue Shield notified her and her husband that their health coverage would be canceled as of December 2014. “Well now, when somebody tells you if you like it, you can keep it, you believe them,” she says, referring to remarks President Barack Obama made when he was touting the health care law. “But that’s not so in this case” (Ballhaus, 3/13).

Bloomberg: Obamacare Foes Run Nearly Half of Early Ads For Congress
President Barack Obama’s health-care law is fueling an explosion in early television advertising before November’s congressional elections, with close to half the commercials attacking the measure. More than 66,000 ads in U.S. House and Senate races aired through March 9, more than triple what candidates and allied groups aired during a comparable period four years ago, according to New York-based Kantar Media’s CMAG, which tracks advertising (Giroux, 3/14).

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