KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Sen. Alexander Highlights ACA Opposition To Burnish Conservative Credentials

Health care issues play a role in federal and state campaigns across the country.

The Wall Street Journal: Tennessee GOP Challengers Struggle
To beat Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, Republican primary challengers Joe Carr and George Flinn both say they could use help from the conservative groups that propelled insurgent GOP challengers elsewhere. ... no cavalry is coming to help Mr. Carr or Mr. Flinn. The outside money has largely stayed home. ... Mr. Alexander has gone to great lengths to shore up his conservative credentials. ... Mr. Alexander is airing a statewide TV commercial featuring a clip of him confronting President Barack Obama during a 2010 forum about the Affordable Care Act (Epstein, 7/18).

The Wall Street Journal: 'Personhood' Issue Haunts Colorado Senate Candidate 
Rep. Cory Gardner, the Republican candidate for a Senate seat in Colorado, is trying to move away from the thorny issue of "personhood." His problem is that neither his foes on the left nor some friends on the right will let him. Shortly after entering the race against Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in February, Mr. Gardner disavowed his past support for the idea at the heart of the personhood movement, which is to give a fertilized egg the same rights as a person, thereby outlawing abortion and some forms of birth control. In backing away, he even called for the sale of birth control over the counter (Reinhard, 7/20).

Politico Pro: Obamacare Challenge: Choice Of Doctors
Anger over limited choice of doctors and hospitals in Obamacare plans is prompting some states to require broader networks — and boiling up as yet another election year headache for the health law. Americans for Prosperity is hitting on these “narrow networks” against Democrats such as Jeanne Shaheen, whose GOP opponent Scott Brown has made the health law a centerpiece of his campaign to unseat her. And Republicans have highlighted access challenges as another broken promise from a president who assured Americans they could keep their doctor. It’s not just a political problem. It’s a policy conundrum (Norman, 7/21).

The Washington Post: Americans For Prosperity To Add Offices In 2 New States
AFP has about 400 field operatives in states around the country. About 40 of those operatives are in Florida, where the group considers reelecting Gov. Rick Scott (R) a top priority. AFP is also spending tens of millions of dollars on issue advocacy television advertising. It began hitting some Democratic senators with negative ads last fall, with a particular focus on the Affordable Care Act, and so far AFP has spent about $44 million on television. On Thursday, AFP announced it would begin spending $1.3 million on a new round of advertisements critical of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rep. Ann Kuster (D-N.H.), both of whom face tight races next year (Wilson, 7/18).

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