KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Reactions — Even Threats — Continue To Emerge Over Lawmakers’ Reform Votes

Lawmakers are considering how health care reform will change their prospects for office as some tout the law amid threats from the public.

Philadelphia Daily News: Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, was in Philadelphia Tuesday, "to stoke his political marketability - while coping with a significant health-care liability. … Romney is haunted by his 2005 push for universal health insurance in Massachusetts that resembles a GOP-loathed health-care reform bill signed into law last month by President Obama. Romney, addressing about 600 people at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, offered a 45-minute critique of Obama's presidency, calling his foreign policy 'misguided' and complaining that Obama was seeking too much government control on domestic issues. He touched only briefly on health care." Romney, however, was questioned on health care by audience members and said health reform should be left up to states, "the way it's laid out in the Constitution," Romney said (Brennan, 4/7).

Wheeling (W. Va.) News-Register: Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va., defended his health care yes vote to 100 people at a community center in Weirton, W. Va. Tuesday. "Mollohan called the reform bill 'evolutionary rather than revolutionary,' adding it will not impede upon health care plans Americans already use. He acknowledged it is not 'perfect legislation,' noting compromises had to be made for it to pass." Mollohan also defended the constitutionality of the bill, saying - like many Democrats - that the "commerce clause" in the Constitution that allows the federal government to regulate interstate commerce gives the federal government the authority to mandate people purchase health insurance (Hicks, 4/7).

Southeast Missourian: Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., "used a Tuesday visit to Cape Girardeau (Mo.) to promote his call to repeal the recently enacted federal health care overhaul bill and replace it with 'real health care solutions. Blunt, a Springfield Republican, said a 12-point program he is promoting would lower costs, improve care and fix problems with the health care system. He called for liability reform to reduce malpractice awards, the creation of health plans for small businesses, allowing insurance to be purchased across state lines and eliminating the use of pre-existing conditions as a reason for denying coverage" (4/7).

Roll Call: In the meantime, Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., was greeted by enthusiastic constituents at a town hall meeting she held Tuesday. "About 30 constituents - most of them in their 70s and 80s - applauded and murmured agreement throughout Edwards' hourlong forum. While some Members of Congress are receiving death threats over Congress' recent passage of the health care reform act, Edwards appeared to be benefiting Tuesday from her vote on the legislation" (Yehle, 4/6).

The same can't be said for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., who decided to hold a town hall meeting despite threats she's received after her yes vote on the health reform bill, The Hill reports. "Many opponents of the bill filled the audience and shouted at the congresswoman. She repeatedly had to ask for members of the crowd to 'be respectful'" (Fabian, 4/6).

Roll Call, in a separate story: Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., has also received threats - his coming via e-mail. His chief of staff reported that threatening e-mails were sent to his campaign Web site and that they've been reported to the Capitol Police and FBI office in Memphis (Newhauser, 4/6).

McClatchy: A man has been charged with threatening to kill Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., over her support for the health reform law. FBI agents arrested a Washington state man on the charge Tuesday. "Charles Alan Wilson, 63, was arrested without incident in Selah, Wash., where he lives, after investigators connected him to a series of profanity-laced phone messages left at Murray's office shortly after the Washington state Democrat voted in favor of the health care bill" (Blumenthal, 4/6).

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