KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

IRS Scandal, HHS Fundraising Stir The Health Law Political Pot

The Obama administration's efforts to raise money from private sources for the health law have led some likely donors to become "skittish." Meanwhile, as GOP lawmakers seek to link the Internal Revenue Service issues to the health law, media outlets examine the IRS's reach in this regard.

The New York Times: Potential Donors to Enroll America Grow Skittish
The Obama administration's efforts to raise private money to carry out the president's health care law have provoked such a strong partisan uproar that potential donors have become skittish about contributing, according to several people involved in the fund-raising program (Pear, 5/19).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Republicans Seek To Link IRS Scandal And Tax Agency's Role Implementing Obama Health Overhaul
Political scandals have strange ways of causing collateral damage, and Republicans are hoping the furor over federal tax enforcers singling out conservative groups will ensnare their biggest target: President Barack Obama’s health care law. There is a link, but it may only be coincidence. No one appears to have connected the dots factually, and it’s unclear whether they will (5/18).

National Journal: Explaining The Connection Between Obama's Health Care Law And The IRS
Even before news organizations confirmed that Sarah Hall Ingram, who headed the tax-exempt division of the IRS, would lead agency's implementation of the ACA, Republicans wasted no time trying to link the scandal to the law. As the investigation into the IRS' targeting of conservative groups begins, here's an explainer to answer the role that the tax-collecting agency plays in the health care law's implementation (Catalini, 5/18).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: GOP Fears About IRS' Access To Medical Records Disputed
Listening to recent statements from some congressional Republicans, you might think that the 2010 health law allows the Internal Revenue Service to have access to your medical records. Not so, says the Department of Health and Human Services. "The Affordable Care Act maintains strict privacy controls to safeguard personal information. The IRS will not have access to personal health information," said agency spokeswoman Erin Shields Britt (Carey, 5/20.

News coverage also included political reports from both the state and national level -

Politico: Obamacare Allies Eye Ballot Initiatives
Obamacare backers stymied by conservative legislatures in red states may have a new approach: letting the voters break logjams with state ballot initiatives in 2014. Frustrated by conservative opposition to extending Medicaid even in states where Republican governors have embraced it, the president's allies are strategizing about asking voters to do what their elected leaders have not: accept billions of federal dollars to cover millions of poor people under Obamacare (Cheney and Millman, 5/19).

The Washington Post: McConnell Predicts Obamacare Will Be 'Biggest Issue' Of 2014 Election
The Senate's top Republican predicted Sunday morning that President Obama's health care law will be the biggest issue of the 2014 midterm elections (Sullivan, 5/19).

Modern Healthcare: Reform Update: ACA Foes, Supporters Trade Volleys
Democrats and Republicans played another game of political tennis this week when House Republicans served up another vote to fully repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Democrats returned a litany of reasons why the 2010 law is good for Americans. Hours before the House of Representatives voted 229-195 to approve overturning the entire Affordable Care Act for a third time in a little more than two years, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) used a tower of the law's regulations—rising more than 7 feet tall—as a prop to emphasize the GOP view that the incredibly complex law is damaging the economy, hurting patients' access to care, and preventing job growth (Zigmond, 5/17).

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