Health Reform Politics: GOP Campaigning Against Law; Dems Have Mixed StrategyThe Associated Press: "Even if Republicans succeed beyond any current predictions and capture both the Senate and the House, they wouldn't have enough GOP votes to overcome President Barack Obama's veto." But, they could exercise the "congressional power of the purse, denying the administration billions of dollars ... Faced with an opposition Congress 'defunding' his health care plan, would Obama make a stand? Would he risk shutting down the Health and Human Services department, the IRS, or perhaps even the whole government? 'At that point, does he let everything else go?' asked former Rep. Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican elected in the GOP wave of 1994.' Even if Republicans win, 'they can beat their chests and say they won't fund the implementation of the law, but I think the law is the law, and if you can't change it, then, frankly, you have a responsibility to carry it out,' [House Majority Leader Steny] Hoyer said" (Alonso-Zaldivar, 9/7).
Politico, on the relationship between Obama and the would-be speaker if the GOP wins a majority in the House, John Boehner: "The White House claims it has tried to work with Boehner, only to be shut out. Boehner responds that he never hears from Obama or other administration officials, not even through intermediaries, and that any partisan stalemate is the president's fault" (Sherman and Bresnahan, 9/8).
In a separate story, Politico reports that Democrats are planning to use health reform to their advantage "in the few liberal districts with sitting Republicans or no incumbent running for reelection, such as the Louisiana 2nd, Hawaii 1st and Illinois 10th .... Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is in Louisiana's 2nd District [Wednesday] to co-host a roundtable discussion on the law with Democratic candidate Cedric Richmond. ...
Democrats see the New Orleans-area district as a good pickup opportunity this fall" (Haberkorn, 9/7).
The New York Times' FiveThirtyEight Blog writes that most Democratic candidates are being careful on health reform: "rather than being a matter of unique importance, health care is instead one of a patchwork of issues contributing to a tricky political environment for the Democrats, an analysis of campaign Web sites suggests, in which they have few forward-looking messages for voters." In an analysis of 33 "toss-up" districts, FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver found 79 percent of Democrats highlighted health care while 97 percent of Republicans did (Silver, 9/7).
Fox News: Some Democrats are campaigning against the health overhaul or remaining entirely silent on the matter. "One Democratic lawmaker says she's thinking about her family as well as her constituents. 'It's why I voted against all the bailouts and the trillion-dollar health care plan,' said Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-S.D. ... [Meanwhile] ads for Reps. Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania, Glenn Nye of Virginia, and Bobby Bright of Alabama features voters or narrators praising the lawmakers for their independent streak. Other lawmakers appear to be running as fast as they can from the overhaul, as if the law never happened" (Angle and Clark, 9/7).
The Hill: And the head of a group called the National Doctors Tea Party is accusing the American Medical Association of being "self-serving" for supporting health reform. "San Diego anesthesiologist Adam Dorin, founder of PhysiciansAgainstObamacare.org, writes in the fall issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons that the AMA is more interested in its prestige and financial contracts than physicians' interests. The AMA flatly denied the allegation" (Pecquet, 9/7).
Finally, The Hill reports in a separate story that the president's economic agenda is affecting the timing of other health bills pending in Congress. "The Senate on Tuesday is still expected to take up two amendments to a small business bill that would affect a tax filing requirement created by the healthcare reform law. An amendment by Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) would eliminate the provision requiring businesses to report more purchases (on goods valued over $600) to the IRS." A food safety bill, however, is ready to move but it's unclear when or if it will (Pecquet, 9/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.