Health Reform Politics Still Swirling; SEIU Close To Choosing New Leader
CongressDaily: "When House Minority Leader Boehner ranks wholesale repeal of healthcare reform as Republicans' No. 1 priority, that thinking might be more wishful than pragmatic." If the GOP scores significant gains in the upcoming midterm and 2012 elections, they could draw Democrats back to the table to renegotiate certain parts of the law. "Republicans might be inclined to seek changes to the most expensive items ... such as provisions to subsidize the purchase of insurance and to expand Medicaid. Republicans might want to cut back on spending, or simply to change the nature of the changes, for example, to focus on lowering the cost of medical care."
"to create that leverage, Republicans could hold health reform spending hostage -- and even be willing to allow a government shutdown. ... While most of the law's spending comes automatically, for provisions that create entitlements, for example, some spending is discretionary and will require annual appropriations from Congress" (Werber Serafini, 4/29).
The Hill: In Nevada, the leading Republican candidate to challenge Majority Leader Harry Reid for his Senate seat "has seen her momentum slow in recent weeks as she has struggled to defend her claim that a bartering system - such as paying doctors with chickens - can lower the cost of healthcare. The quote has left Washington-based Republican strategists scratching their heads - bartering is not part of the GOP's playbook for attacking the Democrats' healthcare bill. And it might have opened the door for her primary rivals to seize the nomination." Republicans remain confident they can unseat Reid in the election this year (Miller, 4/29).
The Wall Street Journal: Meanwhile, the Service Employees International Union has moved closer to naming its health-care division director, Mary Kay Henry, to take the reins of the group after longtime president Andy Stern stepped down. "Ms. Henry, 52 years old, is a longtime colleague of Mr. Stern's. She joined the union in 1979 and ascended to her current position as executive vice president in charge of the union's health-care division, which represents at least half the union's total membership" of 2.2 million. Henry has the support of the SEIU's biggest local unions (Trottman, 4/29).
Los Angeles Times: Stern's chosen successor has stepped out of the race and thrown her support behind Henry. "The SEIU's international executive board is scheduled to vote on May 8, the day Stern's retirement becomes effective. If elected, Henry would serve out Stern's term, which ends in 2012." Stern often butted heads with some in the union, particularly "among healthcare workers in California, where a breakaway union is seeking to woo SEIU members" (McDonnell, 4/29).