KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Political Playbooks Direct Lawmakers To Find Obamacare ‘Stories’

Lawmakers are being urged by their respective parties to publicize constituents' experiences with Obamacare -- horror stories, in the case of Republicans, and success stories showing the law "delivering on its promise" for Democrats. Meanwhile, a CNN/ORC poll shows that Democrats have lost their post-government shutdown lead among registered voters in a generic ballot.

The Washington Post: Democrats Eagerly Seeking Signs Of Success With Health-Care Law
The political battle over the future of the national health-care law is about to become a media faceoff between Republican accounts of mishap and failure vs. Democratic stories that hint at eventual success. In a pre-Thanksgiving messaging memo, Democratic senators are being urged to use the holiday break to find success stories and “aggressively publicize them so that people can see the law is delivering on its promise.” The memo was prepared and distributed by the Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, the Senate Democrats’ political messaging operation (O'Keefe, 11/26).

CBS News: On Lawmakers’ Thanksgiving Menus: Obamacare Stories
Democrats and Republicans are ready to talk about Obamacare over the Thanksgiving recess, and their respective communications strategies revolve largely around finding and sharing their constituents’ personal stories. In its Thanksgiving “playbook,” as reported in the Washington Post, the House Republican Conference offers its members several ways to share Obamacare horror stories. They’re encouraged to share stories via social media sites like Twitter, create videos on the subject and embed “share your story” buttons on their own websites (Condon, 11/26).

CNN: CNN/ORC Poll: Democrats Lose 2014 Edge Following Obamacare Uproar
Democrats a month ago held a 50%-42% advantage among registered voters in a generic ballot, which asked respondents to choose between a Democrat or Republican in their congressional district without identifying the candidates. That result came after congressional Republicans appeared to overplay their hand in the bitter fight over the federal government shutdown and the debt ceiling. But the Democratic lead has disappeared. A new CNN/ORC poll indicates the GOP now holds a 49%-47% edge (Steinhauser, 11/26).

The Hill: Senate Dems Want HealthCare.Gov CEO
Seven Senate Democrats are calling on President Obama to appoint a permanent "chief executive officer" to oversee the ObamaCare website after the departure of Jeffrey Zients at the end of the year. In a letter sent to the White House on Tuesday, seven Senate Democrats say the position should report directly to the president and be "empowered with the authority to ensure that is fixed quickly, completely, and permanently" (Sink, 11/26).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: 8 Senate Democrats Seek Obamacare Enrollment ‘Alternative’
Eight Senate Democrats — including key leadership member Charles Schumer of New York – told the Obama administration Monday that they 'continue to be troubled by the ongoing technical difficulties' with and want an alternative way for insurers and web-based brokers to enroll subsidy-eligible consumers (Appleby, 11/26).

The Associated Press: Obama's Gatekeeper Now Point Man On Health Care
White House chief of staff Denis McDonough was ready to vent. "I've had too much humble pie," he fumed, striding into a top aide's West Wing office. "That was the last slice. I'm full." McDonough had just finished another hand-holding meeting with health care advocates anxious over the disastrous rollout of the health care law. For weeks, President Barack Obama and White House officials had been apologizing for and promising fixes to a faulty website and an unmet promise to insurance holders that they could keep their policies. McDonough's message: It was time to change tactics, quit lamenting the problems and start emphasizing the benefits of the health care overhaul (Kuhnhenn, 11/27). 

Politico: Group To Hit Mike Enzi On Obamacare
A conservative nonprofit group is set to launch a TV attack ad Monday intimating that Republican Sen. Mike Enzi is less than pure in his opposition to Obamacare. Americans for Job Security highlights the incumbent’s support for exchanges during the 2010 debate over Obamacare (Hohmann, 11/26).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.