Democrats Face High Stakes, GOP Seeks Advantage
As Democrats struggle with the health reform proposal from Sen. Max Baucus, the GOP is hoping to seize the advantage.
Roll Call: The stakes are high for Baucus, D-Mont., who chairs the Finance Committee. "With momentum building for health care reform and the process in the Finance Committee beginning to take on an air of inevitability, a Baucus victory will likely overshadow many of the missteps that some Democrats feel he made in pursuing a bipartisan bill that has yet to materialize. However, a failure would likely result in many of his Senate colleagues calling for his head" (Pierce and Drucker, 9/24).
Meanwhile, Republicans are attacking Baucus over what they call an attempt to "muzzle" criticism by insurance companies in hopes of regaining momentum in the reform debate, Roll Call reports in a separate story. Baucus asked a federal employee to investigate mailers sent by Humana to policyholders, encouraging them to protest reform. A senior GOP lawmaker described it as part of a "continuing series of actions" by Democrats "to mute and silence anybody who doesn't agree with them" (Stanton, 9/24).
The Associated Press/Seattle Times: Former Bush adviser Karl Rove said Republicans need to do more than simply oppose health reform. "We'll be defined this year by what we oppose, and we're opposed to Obamacare. But by next year, we need to be able to articulate what it is we're for, because there is a problem -- some people are not getting health insurance and can't afford it," he said at a Nevada fundraiser. He anticipated his party would pick up seats in Congress at next year's election (Garcia, 9/23).
Boston Globe: "House Republican leaders added their voices yesterday to those who say the focus on health care on Capitol Hill is crowding out other crucial issues, namely what to do in Afghanistan" (9/24).