KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Neither Side Budging On Health Law As Gov’t Shutdown Continues

Neither Republicans nor Democrats appear ready to budge in the short-term to end a government shutdown and their impasse over funding for the health law. House Republicans are looking to pressure moderate Democrats in the Senate by sending the upper chamber a series of bills aimed at funding popular government services, but Republicans are beginning to feel the pressure building over who will get the blame for the shutdown.

The Wall Street Journal: Capital Digs In For Long Haul
President Barack Obama pointed the finger at House Republicans for their efforts to scale back or dismantle the 2010 health law, the Affordable Care Act. "They've shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans," Mr. Obama said from the White House Rose Garden. House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) pinned the blame on his adversaries, saying, "Senate Democrats today slammed the door on reopening the federal government by refusing to talk." House Republicans launched a new strategy aimed at increasing pressure on Senate Democrats to negotiate with them, only to see it fail in their own chamber Tuesday night. GOP leaders brought forward a series of short-term bills to finance small parts of the government, including veterans services and national parks, through Dec. 15 (Hook, Peterson and Lee, 10/1).

The Washington Post: Washington Braces For Prolonged Government Shutdown
Washington began bracing for a prolonged government shutdown on Tuesday, with House Republicans continuing to demand that the nation’s new health-care law be delayed or repealed and President Obama and the Democrats refusing to give in. There were signs on Capitol Hill that Republicans -- knowing that blame almost certainly will fall most heavily on them -- are beginning to look for ways to lift some of the pressure (Tumulty and Montgomery, 10/1).

Los Angeles Times: Republican Moderates Hold Key To Ending Government Shutdown
In the current battle, conservative Republicans have forced votes on issues they hoped would cause Democratic senators from Republican-majority states to break with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada). Democrats have hoped to divide suburban moderates such as Meehan from hard-line conservatives, who have repeatedly tried to tie money for government agencies to measures aimed at delaying or dismantling President Obama's health care law (Memoli and Mascaro, 10/1).

The New York Times: Conservatives Choose Between Budget And Health Law
Congressional Republicans have insisted on defunding, delaying or repealing the Affordable Care Act as a condition of keeping the government running. Congressional Democrats have refused to negotiate over the health care law, and much of the federal government has shut down (Lowery, 10/1).

Politico: House Conservatives Still Fighting On Obamacare
They've tried to defund, delay and eliminate portions of the president's health care law, and they're still not wavering. Instead, they are demanding that Senate Democrats and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) come to the negotiating table. But at the first post-shutdown meeting of House Republicans on Tuesday, conservatives ignored questions about a realistic way out of the current standoff (Gibson, 10/2).

The Wall Street Journal: Deep Divide Over Health Law Persists
Lurking behind the first government shutdown in 17 years are two starkly different views of how Americans see the health care law championed by President Barack Obama. In making the budget fight all about the law, popularly known as Obamacare, Republicans point to a program they say is broadly and consistently unpopular. Democrats see a program that Americans aren't quite sold on yet but believe should be given time to work -- and they note the health law is actually less unpopular now than the Medicare prescription-drug benefit was before it went into effect. Complicating the debate, recent polls provide ammunition to both sides. Surveys reveal an American people clearly ill at ease over the law, but also uncertain over its provisions and ambivalent about its eventual impact (King, 10/1).

In the meantime, some health care services are shuttered as a result of the shutdown --

Medpage Today: Shutdown Halts Some Health Care Operations
Several medical groups decried the effect Tuesday's shutdown will have on research programs, funding to children's hospitals, and some public health activities. Even though many activities of the Department Health and Human Services (HHS) don't rely on annual funding from Congress or are deemed essential to public safety, many health programs will be limited or temporarily shuttered during the government shutdown. The CDC will continue "minimal support" on public health activities such as outbreak investigations, processing of lab samples, and maintaining a 24/7 operations center, according to a contingency staffing plan released by HHS Monday. It will be unable to support its annual seasonal influenza program and outbreak detection and linking (Pittman, 10/1).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.