Public Perceives Health Law Parts Better Than Whole
Some of the law's specific provisions draw stronger support than the entire package, but the real key to the measure's future is increasingly linked to President Barack Obama's polling numbers.
Modern Healthcare: Health Reform Parts are Greater (at Least for Now) Than Their Sum
It's been a longtime Democratic mantra that even though the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has consistently drawn more opposition than support from the public, solid majorities really liked individual components. Although still unpopular (PPACA was supported by 38.6 percent and opposed by 50 percent in the Sept. 27 RealClearPolitics poll of polls), some of the law's individual provisions continue to draw strong support. The latest example of that phenomenon was the active support such a provision garnered this week from a congressional Republican, who is otherwise committed to the law's repeal and replacement. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) joined Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) in writing CMS this week to demand…faster implementation of the law (Daly, 10/6).
Politico Pro: Why ACA Depends On Obama's Poll Numbers
So far, the Republicans' efforts to repeal or defund the Affordable Care Act have been entirely symbolic; without control of the Senate or the White House, there's not much they can actually do. But now, with Democrats on the defensive in the Senate and Obama's poll numbers tanking — 43 percent of those surveyed in a recent Politico/George Washington University Battleground Poll said they definitely won't vote to reelect him — the law's opponents are beginning to think about repeal strategies that could get them to the finish line. The supporters aren't panicking — but they're paying attention (Nather, 10/6).
In related news, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is offering assistance related to how member plans can proceed with implementation of the law even if they are located in conservative red states —
Politico: Insurer Creates Red-State Strategy
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is teaching its member plans how to overcome conservative opposition to the Democrats' health care law. At a closed-door meeting Wednesday at D.C.'s Grand Hyatt with member plans from across the country, association officials covered topics like "Moving exchanges forward," "What motivates conservatives to oppose creating exchanges? Myths vs. facts," and "Tactics and strategies," according to a meeting agenda. The group heard from Mississippi Department of Insurance Senior Attorney Aaron Sisk during lunch. According to multiple people who attended the meeting, there was a focus on what Blues plans could do to counter "hard-core conservatives" who are refusing to set up exchanges (Nocera, 10/6).
Meanwhile, here's more coverage related to specific health law provisions —
CQ HealthBeat: HHS Touts Health Care Law Results For Prevention, Prescription Drugs
In their continuing effort to show how the health care overhaul is making a difference, Obama administration officials Thursday released data showing that nearly 20.5 million Medicare recipients took advantage of new free preventive care and that nearly $1.8 million people got prescription drug discounts that help them handle the Part B donut hole. "Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more people with Medicare are getting preventive services like mammograms for free," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement releasing the data (10/6).
The Hill: GOP Wants CLASS Act Hearing
Senate Republicans on Thursday asked for a hearing on the controversial CLASS Act program created by the health care reform law. There are serious questions about whether the new insurance program for long-term care will get off the ground, and whether it can remain solvent without dipping into tax revenues. Several Senate Republicans — including Budget Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) — wrote to Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) to ask for a hearing on the program. Republicans released internal emails last month in which Health and Human Services officials questioned whether the CLASS program could work, and the program's chief actuary said in a separate email exchange that nearly everyone working in the CLASS office was being reassigned (Baker, 10/6).