Health Care Angst Keeps Campaigns On Edge In Final Week
Interest and anger about health care is fueling tension in political campaigns for offices ranging from insurance commissioner to U.S. senator.
The Sacramento Bee: "If money talks, then it's shouting at the top of its lungs in the California insurance commissioner's race. Special-interest cash has piled up on both sides. As of Wednesday, lawyers and labor had put $1.38 million into the campaign of termed-out Democratic Assemblyman Dave Jones of Sacramento. The insurance industry, using harder-to-track "independent expenditures," has dumped about $3 million into ads against Jones and for GOP nominee Mike Villines, a Clovis assemblyman also forced out of office by term limits" (Ortiz, 10/26).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: "Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul slammed President Barack Obama's overhaul of health care and Wall Street regulation with opponent Jack Conway firing back on Monday that Paul was looking for a $2,000 Medicare deductible and a national sales tax. Their final debate lacked the fireworks of a prior exchange when Paul angrily confronted Conway about a TV ad that pointed out accusations that Paul, while a student at Baylor University, was a member of a secret society that mocked Christians" (Alford and Schreiner, 10/25).
Separately, The Associated Press/Washington Post report: "New York's major candidates for governor shared their ideas Monday for letting some air out of the Medicaid balloon in New York, which spends more on the federal health care program for low-income people than Texas, Florida and Michigan combined. Republican Carl Paladino released a plan Monday that he said would reduce New York's 'gold-plated' system to be more in line with other states. He promises a $20 billion cut in the $52 billion program" (Gormley, 10/25).
The Washington Examiner: "Former Maryland governor Bob Ehrlich will seek to exempt the state from federal health care reform if he wins the November election against Gov. Martin O'Malley, Ehrlich said Monday. Ehrlich said exempting Maryland from new health care mandates - a feat 20 other states are attempting to do through the courts - will be a priority over his first seven days as governor of Maryland, assuming he is elected" (Peterson, 10/25).
Campaign advertising is also skirting the fringe of the health debate.
The Hill: A federal judge in Ohio on Monday declined to hear a challenge against that state's law against 'false statements,' setting up a hearing Thursday on an anti-abortion-rights group's ads against incumbent Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio). Driehaus, who is trailing in the polls, had complained to the Ohio Elections Commission after the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List ordered billboard ads stating that Driehaus 'voted for taxpayer-funded abortion'" (Pecquet, 10/25).
The New York Daily News: "A nonpartisan group that reviews campaign ads for accuracy found Revere America's attack ad on Democrats makes several false claims. Factcheck.org, an operation run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, says claims are made without citing evidence. That includes saying Congress' health care overhaul will lead to worse care, higher costs and longer wait times to see a doctor and that it will 'hurt seniors'" (Lesser, 10/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.