As Senate Debate Approaches, Partisans Step Up Volume
Volleys of rhetoric, attack ads and procedural parries are rippling through the Congressional health care debate.
The Philadelphia Inquirer: "Democrats are emailing thousands of people who backed Barack Obama last year in two GOP-controlled Pennsylvania congressional districts, asking them to protest their representatives' recent 'no' votes on health care reform legislation" (Fitzgerald, 11/16).
Lansing State Journal: The "Democratic National Committee will run radio ads this week targeting four Michigan Republicans in Congress who voted against health care reform this month but represent districts that backed President Barack Obama in last year's election" (Spangler, 11/16)
MinnPost: The Democratic National Committee is running ads "in 32 Republican-held congressional districts" around the country "where voters backed Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election." The ads attack Republicans for voting against the health-reform bill, claiming, for instance, that one member "stood with the insurance industry, not the people he was elected to represent" (Wallbank, 11/16).
NPR: Democrats also have taken aim at insurers more broadly, shifting the term for their massive legislative effort from "health care reform" to "health insurance reform." Experts say the latter may be a more accurate term for a reform effort that squeezes insurers but may not do enough to change the health delivery system and bridle rising health costs (Welna, 11/17).
Roll Call: "Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) confirmed Senate Democratic leaders' fears that he will insist that the massive health care reform bill be read aloud on the Senate floor." The voluminous bill would take "several days" to read in its entirety (Pierce, 11/16).
The Washington Times: "Senate Republicans say they're prepared to file dozens of amendments on the health care bill Democrats send to the floor, targeting proposals to cut Medicare spending and increase taxes, warning that the Democrats' overhaul plans will raise insurance premiums for all Americans" (Haberkorn, 11/17).
In a separate story, The Washington Times reports on the two Republican physicians who serve in the Senate and who "don't sound like other Republican lawmakers when they talk about the debate over reforming the nation's health care system." The two doctors, Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and John Barrasso of Wyoming, "say the Democratic lawmakers' proposals being presented to Congress would allow the government too much control over physicians' and patients' decision-making and destroy the art of medicine. Coburn is also attacking the bills because, he says, they would take the art out of medicine" (Haberkorn, 11/17).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.