KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Handicapping How ‘Obamacare,’ Other Health Issues Play Into Campaigns

The New York Times examines how the outcome of midterm elections and subsequent efforts to replace parts of the health law could factor into the presidential campaign landscape. Meanwhile, a recent poll notes that small business owners are less concerned about the health law than previously.

The New York Times: Loss For Democrats In Midterm Elections Could Be Boon For Clinton
“A Republican Congress will present an inviting contrast and easily understood negative for whoever runs for president as a Democrat,” said Anita Dunn, a former White House communications director for Mr. Obama. At the same time, she added, “The president will have two more years to get things done, and clearly, a Democratic Senate would be better for that.” As little as Congress is doing now, losing the Senate beachhead poses numerous dangers to Mr. Obama’s agenda. Republicans would control which of his appointees receive confirmation votes, and how quickly. They could, as their House counterparts have done, initiate investigations of the administration. They could make him use his veto pen to fend off legislation impeding his climate-change initiative or repealing parts of the health care law. They could seek smaller compromises on trade, infrastructure or business taxation on terms that force Mr. Obama to choose between alienating his Democratic base or accomplishing nothing further before leaving office (Harwood, 8/20).

The Washington Post: Small Business Owners Aiming To Unseat Incumbents In Midterms, Poll Shows 
“It’s important for politicians to hear their voice and focus on issues relevant to this community,” John Swanciger, Manta’s chief executive, said in the company’s report. So, what issues are those? Not surprisingly, a third of the respondents said the economy still represents the country’s greatest challenge, more than any other issue presented in the survey. Manta polled more than 1,500 owners and reported a margin of error of just below 3 percent. Conversely, health care, which has been one of the most controversial political issues for small firms in recent years, has fallen to fourth on that list, now behind immigration issues and income inequality (Harrison, 8/20).

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood steps onto the Alaska Senate campaign trail --

The Hill: Planned Parenthood Attacks Alaska Republican Senate Candidate
Planned Parenthood's political arm is launching its largest ad buy so far this cycle against Alaska's freshly minted Republican Senate candidate. Planned Parenthood Action Fund debuted its digital ad campaign against Dan Sullivan less than 12 hours after the GOP establishment pick won his primary to challenge Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) in November. The effort seeks to highlight Sullivan's opposition to abortion, government funding for Planned Parenthood and ObamaCare's birth control coverage mandate (Viebeck, 8/20).

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