KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Democrats’ Once United Front Fraying As Some Urge Delay In The Individual Mandate

Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and Sen. Richard Blementhal, D-Conn., are the latest to joing the ranks of those who are urging this delay and who are criticizing the launch of  

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: More Democrats Seek Delay In Health-Law Penalty
More Democrats called for a delay in a core element of the federal health law, with two senators blasting the Obama administration’s rollout of a health-insurance website and its response to public criticism. Sen. Kay Hagan (D., N.C.), who is up for re-election in 2014, said in a Thursday statement that the $95 penalty on individuals who fail to enroll in a health insurance plan should be waived for two months. That penalty starts at $95 for 2014 tax returns. A few hours earlier, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) said in a television interview that the U.S. needs to consider delaying the penalty, which as at the heart of the 2010 law designed to prod Americans without health insurance into buying coverage (Hughes, 10/24).

Politico: Democrats' United Front Cracks
The great Democratic unity of 2013 held for five-and-a-half days. For weeks leading up to the shutdown -- and over the 16 days it dragged on -- President Barack Obama did the unthinkable: he held every Democrat in the House and Senate together. There weren't any defectors. There wasn't even anyone running to reporters to question his strategy. The man who'd disappointed them so many times was suddenly exciting them, with his newly apparent backbone and successful resistance to Republicans. They were rushing to do whatever they could to stand by him, next to him, with him (Dovere, 10/25).

Meanwhile, senators are now facing the choice of whether their staff members should obtain health insurance through the new online insurance marketplaces --

Politico: Senate Leaders Consider Health Exchanges
Senate leaders are beginning to make the tough choice about whether to put their staffers on Obamacare's health insurance exchanges. Three members of Senate leadership all plan to place their aides on the health exchanges, they confirmed to Politico. They are: Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the No. 3 in GOP leadership; Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), the No. 4 among Senate Republicans; and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), No. 4 in Senate Democratic leadership and the Senate Budget Committee chairwoman (Everett, 10/24).

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