Bayh Urges Dems To Move To The Center; Nelson Says He Cannot Support National ExchangeThe Wall Street Journal: "Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, the very embodiment of calm understatement, seems an unlikely character to play the role of scold. But in recent weeks-particularly after last week's Massachusetts mauling-he has been scolding his Democratic Party, and sternly. His message: Democrats and their president need to move decisively to the political center and root themselves there by showing they are serious about controlling spending and the deficit." He also said in an interview that President Obama "needs to 'step it up'" in his Wednesday State of the Union address "and get tougher with Congress" (Seib, 1/26).
Politico: "Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) said Monday that he would oppose any health care reform bill with a national insurance exchange, which he described as a dealbreaker. ... If Senate Democrats still had 60 votes, this would matter a lot. ... But for now, Democrats are trying to write a companion bill to the full Senate legislation that would need only 51 votes in the Senate." If Democrats are successful in that endeavor, "Nelson's threat ... doesn't mean much" (Budoff Brown, 1/25).
MarketWatch: "Groups representing doctors, seniors and women rallied their troops Monday, urging lawmakers to press on with reform efforts despite tough new political realities. The merits of the bills haven't changed, AARP Spokesman Jim Dau said." The American Medical Association reconfirmed its support for comprehensive reform. In addition, the American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Physicians and American Osteopathic Association sent a letter to Democratic leaders "expressing continued support for health-reform legislation, including ensuring a 'sufficient supply of primary-care physicians and other specialties facing shortages."' The American Public Health Association went on record with its support, too, and the "National Women's Law Center urged supporters to tell their members of Congress that action is needed" (Gerencher, 1/25). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.