Health Overhaul Dominates Some State, Midterm Races, But Is Ignored In Others
Some races around the nation are being dominated by fighting over health issues and the health overhaul while others are ignoring it completely.
The New York Times reports on the Florida governor's race between Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Alex Sink. "The question for Rick Scott at last week's debate had been asked countless times: Why was he qualified to be Florida's governor when his tenure as a chief executive of Columbia/HCA led to $1.7 billion in fines for defrauding the government? Mr. Scott continued with the same general response he has been using for months, leaving unanswered persistent questions about whether he was a competent and honest executive." Sink has "run a series of stinging ads featuring Republican law enforcement officials describing Mr. Scott as untrustworthy, not just because of the hefty fines his former company paid, but also because of what the ads describe as a history of evasive responses. One number in particular appears often: 75. That is how often Mr. Scott invoked his Fifth Amendment right in a civil case tied to the Columbia/HCA fraud. ..."
Sink "has come under attack from the Scott campaign for fines paid by companies where she worked. Those fines, by comparison, were much smaller (in the most prominent case, $6.7 million), and she has said they were tied to parts of the business she did not oversee" (Cave, 10/27).
The Associated Press: The governor's race in Illinois is also loaded with health care messaging as the candidates differ on the state's role in implementing health reform. "Republican Bill Brady says he'd work with Congress to repeal President Barack Obama's health care overhaul if elected Illinois governor, while Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn says he'd do everything to implement the law if given a shot at a full term. ... Quinn, who believes the federal law will protect Illinois consumers from unfair insurance price increases, says he would continue to accept federal money tied to the law and use it to beef up Illinois' weak regulatory powers over health insurers. Brady calls the overhaul a government intrusion and says he would make sure Illinois joins 20 other states challenging the constitutionality of a requirement that most Americans buy health insurance. But he won't say what specific steps he'd take to turn his opposition into official state policy" (Johnson, 10/27).
In New Jersey, the Newark Examiner: "Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., now in a tightening race with Republican challenger Anna Little, apparently has dropped all mention of healthcare reform from his campaign site after touting it, as recently as last week, as his signature issue." Pallone dropped the mention from his "On the Issues" page and Little noticed, issuing a press release calling him out on it (Hurlbut, 10/27).
ABC News: "Vice President Biden has stumped for more than 100 candidates of all stripes and for all sorts of offices since taking office. But there's something unique about his visit to suburban Maryland tomorrow, where he'll raise money for Rep. Frank Kratovil, D-MD. It'll be the first time since the passage of health care reform, according to our records, that either Biden or President Obama will have stumped for someone who opposed the law. The streak holds for former House members seeking office outside the House." Kratovil is also getting advertising support from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the target of much criticism from the White House this year (Wolf, 10/27).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.