Dems And GOP Each Find Something To Cheer About In Health Care Polls; Justice Thomas’ Wife Against LawThe Associated Press: An AP-GfK poll has found that "the GOP is now leading Democrats on virtually every measure" except health care and social security, which is split nearly evenly. "Republicans get higher marks with likely voters than Democrats on handling the economy, taxes, the deficit, job creation, immigration and national security, and on managing the federal government. Likely voters are evenly split on which party would best handle health care and Social Security." The economy, however, is driving the debate in most races. "Democrats have struggled to find a winning message in such tough economic times. ... a majority of likely voters opposing [the president's} remake of the country's health care system. They are divided over whether to change the law to expand it or repeal it entirely" (10/20).
The Wall Street Journal: The GOP has made some gains in the public's mind on how they would handle health care, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found. "On health care, where Democratic leaders pushed through a big overhaul this year, 42 percent of those polled said Democrats would do best, compared with 32 percent who favored Republicans, a 10-point advantage. But the Democratic advantage had been at least 18 percentage points all through the George W. Bush presidency, and it reached 36 points in January 2008 as President Barack Obama took office" (Meckler, 10/20).
NPR: In the months since the law passed, "it is the opponents of the health care overhaul who have done most of the educating. And polls have shown the public remains not only sharply divided over the merits of the measure, but continually confused about what it contains and what it would do. One reason is the massive amounts of money being poured into questionable campaign advertising by outside groups who have complaints about the new law. Advocates for the measure are pushing back, sometimes with humor. Health Care for America Now, an umbrella coalition of labor and consumer groups, has produced an online video featuring comedian Jack Black as a 'liar for hire' working undercover in an elementary school." Anti-reform groups outspend their counterparts 7-1 (Rovner, 10/20).
The Hill: Meanwhile, "a controversial GOP plan to tackle deficit spending by privatizing the nation's entitlements could help Democrats in senior-heavy Florida, a top Democrat argued Wednesday. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said the 'dramatic contrast' between Democrats and Republicans on Medicare and Social Security 'is absolutely going to be critical' at the polls next month." Seniors are worried about GOP plans to privatize Social Security and to turn Medicare into a voucher program, she said (Lillis, 10/20).
The Associated Press, in a separate story, reports on the post-election strategy of Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, should the GOP gain a majority. "Speaking from his home in Louisville, Ky., McConnell said there are several areas of agreement that already exist between congressional Republicans and Obama that, theoretically, could pass quickly. Those issues, he said, include an arcane tax reporting law on businesses that's part of the unpopular health care overhaul" (Kellman, 10/21).
Tribune Washington Bureau/Los Angeles Times: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' wife, Virginia Thomas, is working to help repeal the health overhaul despite conflict of interest questions. "'With the U.S. Constitution on our side and the hearts and minds of the American people with us, freedom will prevail,' says a position paper posted on the website of Liberty Central, the group formed by Virginia Thomas this year to advance conservative principles and candidates. Justice Thomas, a conservative, could provide a key vote to strike down the law" (Hennessey and Savage, 10/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.