AP Poll: People Who Think Health Law Should Do More Outnumber Those Who Think Govt. Should Stay Out Of ItThe Associated Press: As Republicans seek to use the health law as a major talking point to help them win more seats in Congress, a "new AP poll finds that Americans who think the law should have done more outnumber those who think the government should stay out of health care by 2-to-1." The poll found four in 10 adults think the law didn't go far enough to change the system "regardless of whether they support the law, oppose it or remain neutral. On the other side, about one in five say they oppose the law because they think the federal government should not be involved in health care at all." The AP poll was conducted by Stanford University and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and has a margin of sampling error 3.9 percentage points (Alonso-Zaldivar and Agiesta, 9/26).
USA Today: In the meantime, another poll - this from the Kaiser Family Foundation - has found that the health law "regained support among more Americans this month," but opponents are more likely to vote in November. (KHN is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.) "As some initial provisions took effect six months after its enactment, the law was favored by 49% to 40% in the [KFF] monthly tracking poll. That margin shrunk to 46%-45% among likely voters." Democrats remain the more trusted party on health care and Medicare, according to the poll, and four in 10 Republicans said they were more likely to vote because of the law, compared with three in 10 Democrats. "Seniors continued to oppose the law, 49% to 38%, and to view the parties equally on health care issues" (Wolf, 9/27).
NPR's Shots Blog: "Perhaps it's not so surprising that Americans would be a little happier about overhaul in the same month that some of the first changes, such as an end to lifetime limits on coverage, start to kick in. But they're still not a majority. About one-quarter of Americans - 26 percent - believe health overhaul should be repealed, the [Kaiser] poll finds. And the thing that most people seem to agree on is that they really don't understand what overhaul is all about. Some 53 percent said they feel that way, up 8 percentage points from August" (Hensley, 9/27).
Roll Call: Democrats, however, are hoping for a bump in the law's popularity ahead of the midterm elections after several consumer-friendly provisions took effect last week. "House Democrats said they don't know whether it was the result of luck or strategic planning that widely supported consumer protections in the health care bill are kicking in as lawmakers enter the final stretch of campaigning. Couple these changes with a renewed push by the Obama administration and outside advocacy groups, and voila: Many Democrats are ready to publicly embrace an issue they largely ceded to Republicans and their accusations of a costly, big-government takeover." Democrats are using the provisions to paint the differences between themselves and Republicans (Bendery, 9/27).
NPR, in a separate story on what happens if the GOP takes Congress: "Even if the GOP were to win control of the House and Senate in November elections, [NPR correspondent Julie] Rovner says, any repeal legislation is certain to be vetoed by President Obama. Republicans would need a two-thirds majority in both houses to avoid a veto, which she says seems highly unlikely. Republicans seem to want to let the new benefits [enacted last week] stay in place, Rovner says, noting that the patients' bill of rights was mostly bipartisan. Both parties are having problems with the insurance industry, she says. And that industry doesn't support many of these changes unless they're also accompanied by a requirement that everyone have health insurance - something that's at the top of the Republican hit list" (9/25).
MedPage Today/ABC News has more on the Republican plans for the health law that they unveiled in their new 21-page "Pledge to America" last week. In it, Republicans hope to repeal the law, enact medical liability reform, allow people to buy health coverage across state lines and expand health savings accounts among other things (Walsh, 9/25).
The Washington Times: Meanwhile, the health care sector is spending big to affect the fall races. "But even though Democrats are leading the race for cash from health care sector hospitals, drug companies and doctors, it's too early to tell whether the industry is fighting to protect or revamp the legislation. While corporate political spending is on pace to set another overall record for midterm elections, no one is spending more money this year than the health care industry. Through the second quarter, the health care industry has spent $267 million on lobbying, topping the $260 million spent by manufacturing and retail, and the $252 million spent by the banking and insurance sector" (Eldridge, 9/26).
The Baltimore Sun: Medical industry donations are also spilling into the eastern Maryland congressional race between Republican Andy Harris and Democratic incumbent Frank Kratovil. "Harris has worked hard to raise money from fellow doctors around the country. Anesthesiologists from at least 39 states and the District of Columbia have responded by pumping more than $250,000 into his campaign, according to Federal Election Commission records, making them far and away the largest single interest fueling Maryland's most competitive House race." Harris has raised more from health professionals than anyone in the country who is challenging in a House race (West, 9/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.