KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Some Democrats, Including Reid, Embrace Health Law As Fall Campaign Battles Continue

Politico: Some House Democrats are touting the new health law - and their support of it - as a positive in their fights to keep their seats in midterm elections this fall. The Democrats are "framing key provisions as a 'Patient's Bill of Rights.' Spurred by last week's release of a series of rigid insurance rules, the lawmakers are defying this election season's conventional wisdom placing by health care front and center." Among them are Reps. Dina Titus and Shelley Berkley or Nevada. Also, "Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) touted the latest benefits to students at Temple University Monday morning. Both are considered very likely to be re-elected this fall. … Several more Democrats have written op-eds in their local newspapers and press releases explaining the list of benefits" (Haberkorn, 9/27).

Los Angeles Times: In Nevada, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has launched an attack on his opponent, Sharron Angle, using Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to slam "Angle's opposition to state lawmakers requiring that insurance companies cover, among other things, autism treatment and colon cancer screenings. 'You don't want insurance companies picking and choosing who gets coverage and who doesn't,' Sebelius said at a forum in Reno, where large blue signs proclaimed that Reid was 'Standing Up to Big Insurance.' … In Nevada, healthcare reform has long been a potential quagmire for Reid. His approval ratings were already dismal, and libertarian-leaning voters balked at the legislation's vast reach." Angle's spokesman said "she was merely criticizing 'costly unfunded government mandates that drive up the cost of health insurance and reduce the level of care.' That dovetails with Angle's philosophy that government should have as little role as possible in private industry" (Powers, 9/28).

The Washington Post: "'It is my understanding that Sharron Angle believes that there is a hoax, under the guise of autism, where you would include requests for treatments that may not even be required,' said Sebelius, who was in Nevada promoting health care reform with Harry Reid. Sebelius pounded Angle's comments as 'insulting' to parents and kids, adding: 'I don't know if there is any place in the country where the differences in the candidates are more stark than here'" (Sargent, 9/27).

Roll Call: In the meantime,that Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Penn., said in a CNBC interview Monday that President Obama "'really failed' to educate the public on health care reform and other signature issues, which he claimed has contributed to his own tough re-election campaign. … He said misconceptions about health care reform are swirling in his district at a time when he is facing 'the toughest' re-election campaign of his 25-year career" (Bendery, 9/27).

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