Advocacy Groups And Politicians Stake Out Health Overhaul Strategies In The Changed Political LandscapeKaiser Health News reports that advocates of the health law, which is under renewed attack by Republicans after the mid-term election, are "huddling in an effort to thwart GOP efforts" to overturn the law. "Groups that back the law aren't likely to coalesce around a single message to increase public support. Some patient groups, for example, are likely to try to steer clear of partisan politics and focus instead on promoting the law and pressing for its full implementation. Other groups, however, are likely to champion the law to rally the Democratic base for the 2012 elections." The groups include Families USA, whose executive director - Ron Pollack - hosted a sessions with 20 groups Tuesday to talk strategy. The groups included patient groups, labor groups such as the SEIU and health care providers (Carey, 11/11).
The Associated Press reports that the public is mixed in its feelings about the GOP health plan, according to an AP-GfK poll. "When it comes to the health care law Obama signed in March, just 39 percent back the GOP effort to repeal it or scale it back. Fifty-eight percent would rather make even more changes in the health care system or leave the measure alone. ... The poll underscored deep partisan divides on taxes and health care. ... While 61 percent of Republicans want to repeal Obama's health overhaul, 85 percent of Democrats want to expand it or leave it in place." The poll was conducted Nov. 3-8, interviewed 1,000 U.S. adults and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points (Fram, 11/11).
The Associated Press/The Washington Post: A major part of the health law has its roots in conservative support, a federal official says. "'You could say Obamacare was Romneycare before it was Obamacare,' said Joel Ario of the Office of Insurance Exchanges in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Potential Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was persuaded by the conservative Heritage Foundation to support online insurance exchanges when he was governor of Massachusetts, Ario said. The exchanges became a key to Massachusetts' health overhaul, which in turn became the model for nation's law." But Democrats are struggling now to win public and Republican support for the idea; the exchanges are mandated by law to be up and running by 2014 (Johnson, 11/10).
The Associated Press/Boston Globe reports that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin "attacked President Barack Obama on Wednesday for his support of abortion rights and for the federal health care overhaul as the former Alaska governor appeared in Texas with another tea party favorite, Gov. Rick Perry. The 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee also said the federal health care law is the 'mother of all unfunded mandates' and means federal funding will go toward abortions." The law "walled off" federal funds from being used for the procedure with an executive order from Obama that was signed just before the health law's passage, but opponents aren't convinced it does enough to stop federal money from being used to fund abortions (Robbins, 11/10).
CQ HealthBeat reports that backers of a lawsuit challenging the law are facing a Friday deadline to file supporting briefs in the lawsuit. "Interested parties must file a motion by Friday if they later want to submit a 'friend of the court' amicus brief. Only a few had been filed by Wednesday afternoon. But clerks for Judge Roger Vinson in the U.S. District Court Northern District of Florida in Pensacola said that they were inundated with calls asking about the filing process" (Adams, 11/10).
Finally, a Republican in pursuit of a high-ranking seat on a key House committee is "using campaign-style tactics and opposition research dumps in his long-shot quest" for the post, Politico reports. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, wants to be chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, a key committee on health issues, and is " digging into the voting record of Barton's lead rival, Rep. Fred Upton, to show he's not conservative enough" to chair the committee (Samuelsohn and Sherman, 11/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.