KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

GOP Steadies Aim On Dems, Even Those Without Obamacare Ties

One North Carolina Democrat who never voted for the health law finds he still has a tough fight from Republicans. In the meantime, new polls show support for the health law at a new low, but some still see the law as Obama's biggest achievement.

The Associated Press: House Foe Of Health Overhaul Still Top GOP Target
Listen carefully when Republicans say they can blame almost every House Democrat for the flaws of the health care overhaul. Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., is the exception. He's never voted in favor of President Barack Obama's signature health care law. It's a key reason the nine-term Democrat is still in Congress. It might be enough in 2014, although he barely won last year. In a district redrawn by Republicans for Republicans, McIntyre is the GOP's top Democratic target in the battle for control of the House (Kellman, 12/23).

Time: 3 House Races Obamacare Will Decide In 2014 
Even after House Republicans led the government to a shutdown in October, Democrats have little to no chance of retaking the lower chamber. Among other factors, the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act has caused potential candidates to drop out or wait for a better climate, and thrown up in the air the safety of Democratic incumbents across the country. In his most recent forecast, David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report writes that Democrats would now need to win 42 of 43 the competitive races in 2014 to capture the House. Here are three House races where Obamacare could strengthen John Boehner’s grip on the Speaker's gavel (Rogers, 12/23).  

CBS News: Americans See Health Law As Obama's Biggest Achievement And Failure, Poll Suggests
A new Gallup poll shows that Americans would name the Affordable Care Act as President Obama's greatest achievement and his greatest failure, though a larger percentage hold a negative view. Obamacare dominates almost every other response on both the success and failure lists. The next two greatest achievements that survey respondents named were getting the troops home/ending wars and capturing al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden/anti-terrorism efforts, both of which were named by 7 percent of people as the top achievement. The only other category that matches Obamacare is "none," which is a result of 40 percent of people who self-identify or lean Republican who said they could not name something they consider his greatest achievement (Kaplan, 12/23).

The Fiscal Times: Obamacare Poll Numbers Hit New Low
The headline number from the CNN/ORC International poll released this morning is 62 percent – that's the share of Americans who reported that they opposed Obamacare, and it's the highest figure ever. Only 35 percent of respondents said they were in favor of the law. A deeper dive into the new poll numbers, however, reveals a somewhat more nuanced view of the law among Americans. Of those who said they were opposed to the law, a significant percentage – equal to 15 percent of the population overall – said  their opposition stemmed from a belief that the law is "not liberal enough" (Garver, 12/23). 

And Politico looks at one group that has come out in favor of the law --

Politico: Taking A Different Path, Hispanic Evangelicals Support Obamacare
Under the big evangelical tent where tens of millions of Americans worship, Hispanic churches are embracing Obamacare despite the concerns about religious freedom that have tarnished the law for many of their fellow believers. Pastors have encouraged support since enrollment for health coverage began in October. Their take is that the law's positives outweigh its negatives, especially for the one in three Hispanics without insurance, the highest uninsured rate of any racial or ethnic group. Many of the uninsured are eligible for major new health benefits plus subsidies to help them afford coverage (Cunningham, 12/22).

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