KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Law Issues Bring Optimism To The GOP But Make Democrats Wring Their Hands

The health law's rollout is triggering a range of political postures, plans and strategies.     

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Analysis: To GOP, All Roads Lead To 'Obamacare'
Republican leader Mitch McConnell, with his eyes on the political road ahead and a GOP-damaging partial government shutdown in the rearview mirror, chalked the Senate shift up to "broken promises, double standards and raw power -- the same playbook that got us Obamacare." The calculation seems to be that there will be time for Republicans to retaliate for the Democratic maneuver that swept away generations of precedent in the tradition-bound Senate. The change didn't eliminate filibusters, and a spirit of revenge actually may give the GOP an incentive to launch them in greater numbers (11/22).

Politico: Dems Worry Leaders In Denial On Obamacare
Democratic leaders claim the bungled launch of Obamacare is just the latest news sensation -- a media-stirred tempest that looks in the heat of the moment like it could upend the midterm election, but ends up fizzling well before voters head to the polls. Some party strategists say they're in denial (Isenstadt, 11/25).

Politico: As Deadline Nears, Ticking Clock On Democratic Patience
Some Capitol Hill Democrats are preparing to launch broadsides against President Barack Obama if the Affordable Care Act website isn't fixed by the end of the month. That will come in the form of more aggressive scrutiny in Republican-led oversight hearings, open advocacy for further delay in the enrollment deadline and individual coverage mandate, and more calls for a staff shake-up in the White House (Allen, 11/25).

Los Angeles Times: Biden Keeps A High Profile -- Except On Health Care
The week of his 71st birthday, in a two-day trip to Houston and Panama City, Biden was hardly hiding. He toured the Houston port, walked a stretch of the Panama Canal, met with Panama's president and squeezed in meetings with opposition candidates and elected officials when he wasn't making calls to foreign leaders from Air Force 2. But at the same time, he was conspicuously avoiding the health care spotlight that has been glaring on the president, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and other senior officials. Biden did discuss health care at some events. In Houston, he talked with volunteers seeking to sign people up for coverage, meeting with them for more than an hour and reassuring them that would get back on track (Parsons, 11/22).

The New York Times: Don't Dare Call The Health Law 'Redistribution'
"Redistribution is a loaded word that conjures up all sorts of unfairness in people's minds," said William M. Daley, who was Mr. Obama's chief of staff at the time. Republicans wield it "as a hammer" against Democrats, he said, adding, "It's a word that, in the political world, you just don't use." These days the word is particularly toxic at the White House, where it has been hidden away to make the Affordable Care Act more palatable to the public and less a target for Republicans, who have long accused Democrats of seeking "socialized medicine." But the redistribution of wealth has always been a central feature of the law and lies at the heart of the insurance market disruptions driving political attacks this fall (Harwood, 11/23).

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