Lawmakers, Axelrod Push And Pull On What Health Reform Means To Campaigns
Politico: Senior White House adviser David Axelrod said Sunday that he thinks voters will eventually warm to health care reform. He made his comments on NBC's "Meet the Press."
"'I think that health care, over time, is going to become more popular,' he told David Gregory. 'But people are focused on this economy right now - they've got anxiety about this economy. That's what's driving the vote right now.' President Barack Obama's signature accomplishment is currently so unpopular with voters that no Democratic candidate is running ads promoting it" (Allen, 9/12).
The New York Times: The health law is weighing heavily on a race in Ohio as Rep. John Boccieri campaigns across the state, followed nearly everywhere he goes by his vote in favor of the Democratic health bill. "Here in northeastern Ohio, as around the country, the political impact of the health care vote has been eclipsed by voters' concerns about the economy and jobs. But Mr. Boccieri, a freshman Democrat who supported the final bill after first voting against a more expensive House version, still finds himself defending the law at stop after stop." He changed his vote to ensure the bill's passage and thereby created an opening for this criticism. "The health care overhaul, a dream of liberal Democrats for decades, has been used by political opponents to build a case that Mr. Obama is guilty of ideological overreach. Yet despite a White House campaign to promote the law's most popular components before the midterm elections, recent polls suggest that national support is at best stagnant, in the range of 40 percent, and may be declining after early signs of improvement" (Sack, 9/10).
The Colorado Statesman: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., made a stop at a Denver Health, a large hospital in Denver, late last week to tout the law. "DeGette's Republican opponent in November's election, Mike Fallon, said the picture she paints is not so rosy. Fallon, an emergency room doctor who performed his residency at Denver Health, said the health care legislation does nothing to improve the quality of care" (Bowe, 9/10).
Politico, in a separate story: Groups - including some new ones - also are trying to use the health law to influence political races. "Social Security Institute president Larry Hunter, a longtime Republican adviser, will launch the for-profit Alliance for Retirement Prosperity on Wednesday, a $5 million conservative challenge to the AARP. Where the non-partisan, nonprofit AARP has sided with the Obama administration on many issues - most recently and prominently, ardently supporting the health reform law - the alliance will actively lobby for the health law's repeal. Other conservative senior groups have already jumped into the fray on the health reform debate. Last week, the 60 Plus Association launched a $4 million ad campaign targeting House Democrats who supported the health reform law" (Kliff, 9/13).
Kaiser Health News tracked more political developments over the weekend, including reports about GOP plans for the future.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.