Health Care Votes Haunt Anti-Abortion Dems; Republicans Confront Challenges With ‘Pledge’Politico: Anti-abortion Democrats are facing stiff opposition in their bids for re-election because of their votes for health reform. Organizations like the Susan B. Anthony List and other anti-abortion groups are now attacking former allies who once sided with them on abortion. "Now, SBA List is engaged in a multimillion-dollar attack on its former allies, replete with bus tours and billboards alleging that members 'voted for taxpayer-funded abortion.' The group invested $1.5 million in its 'Votes Have Consequences' bus tour in August, targeting anti-abortion Democrats who supported health reform. Just last week, SBA List spent $55,000 on 32 billboards dotting the districts of three vulnerable Democrats. On the other hand, Democrats for Life of America, the group most fiercely devoted to defending anti-abortion Democrats, has been essentially inactive this election cycle. Its political action committee brought in $2,431 and spent a paltry $308, according to Federal Election Commission filings. DFLA has made no contributions to federal candidates." The targets of the SBA List include Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, D-Penn. (Kliff, 10/6).
The Hill's Healthwatch blog: "The anti-abortion group Americans United for Life announced Tuesday that it is spending $600,000 to target 12 Democrats in battleground districts in the closing weeks before the mid-term elections. The campaign targets Democrats who voted for the health reform bill, which AUL believes allows taxpayer-funded abortions because it provides subsidies for the purchase of health plans that offer the procedure even if the subsidies can't be used to buy the abortion coverage itself" (Pecquet, 10/5).
Politico, in a separate story: Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney's past in helping pass state health reform in Massachusetts is also haunting him. "Now, stopping 'Obamacare' cold has become an article of faith on the right, and Romney is facing the prospect that his health care plan could be his undoing as a presidential contender. Conservatives, in turn, are increasingly blunt in their advice to Romney: Say you're sorry." Romney so far is not backing down, however. "His message is the same today as it was in March, when there was still hope that voters would warm up to the Obama legislation once it passed. Romney blasts the federal law as a takeover of health care, while defending the 2005 Massachusetts version. He argues the two are as different as night and day, despite their common and most reviled feature, the mandate on individuals to purchase insurance. It's a two-step that conservatives say they aren't buying" (Budoff Brown, 10/5).
The Washington Post: Meanwhile, Republicans' "Pledge to America," which includes a wholesale repeal of the Democrats' health law, isn't attracting many Republicans willing to run on it. "For all the fanfare and publicity that accompanied the pledge's release, relatively few Republican candidates nationwide appear to be adopting it as a guiding vision, much less incorporating it into their campaigns. That stands in contrast to the document the pledge is most often compared to, the 1994 'Contract With America,' which Republicans announced just before they captured control of Congress. Other Republican candidates said they consider the document an a la carte menu of policies from which to choose, not a manifesto to endorse" (Pershing, 10/5).
The Washington Post, in a separate story: AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said Democrats would have an easier time getting re-elected if they were more ambitious with their health care legislation. "'What I hear on the ground is that people didn't say, "You went too far on health care,"' Trumka said. 'They say: "You didn't do enough; you should've had a public option; you should've had this; you should've had that."' Trumka said union members would be more apt to vote for Democrats had they included a public option in the health bill (Rucker, 10/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.