KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Contraception Coverage Flap Becoming Key Issue In Senate Races

On this point, the Massachusetts Senate rate between Republican Senator Scott Brown and his Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren is drawing media attention.

The Connecticut Mirror: Senate Candidates Use Flap Over Contraceptives To Raise Money And Support
Congress can't seem to stop its debate on birth control -- and one reason is that it's bringing in lots of votes and money. ...  Republicans are also using the issue to raise money among conservatives and broaden GOP support among Catholics, who are strongly opposed to Obama's contraceptive mandate. But, in general, the flap over birth control is helping Democrats solidify their base and gives them an opening to appeal to independent women, said Jennifer Duffy of the Cook Political Report (Radelat, 3/1).

The Hill: Schumer Focuses On Battle For The Senate, Scott Brown And Contraception
Democrats are zeroing in on Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and contraception in their effort to retain the Senate. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday signaled he and his party think Brown did them a favor by voting for a controversial bill to weaken the Obama administration’s birth-control mandate. Democrats are busy framing the issue as a fight over contraception and women’s rights, and they showed they think the can win over women voters in Massachusetts and other states (Baker, 3/1).

Boston Globe: Brown Releases Pitch For Women’s Combat Service, Ends Kennedy Ad
On a day when his leading Democratic opponent accused US Senator Scott Brown of taking a vote that put women’s health in jeopardy, the Republican released a new radio ad touting his support for allowing women to serve in combat. The ad is part of Brown's regular series of "Scott Brown Radio Reports." The previous ad in the series, which will now go off the air, drew controversy because Brown invoked Edward M. Kennedy in explaining his support for a measure that lets employers exempt health coverage for drugs or procedures if they have a moral objection to them (Bierman, 3/2).

Boston Globe: Former Mayor Ray Flynn Backs Brown On Birth Control Stance
Ray Flynn, the former Democratic mayor of Boston, is applauding Republican US Senator Scott Brown for supporting a "conscience exemption" from President Barack Obama's policy on birth control coverage. "I find it outrageous that anyone in a position of public trust would trample on the conscience of people of religious beliefs," Flynn, a former Ambassador to the Vatican, said in a letter to Brown today (Finucane, 3/1).

WBUR: Democrats Hope to Turn Contraception Issue Against Brown
[O]n the Democratic blog Blue Mass Group, co-founder David Kravitz wrote that [Sen. Scott] Brown is now stuck with what Kravitz called "his foolish vote."  Polls don't provide much insight on the issue yet. There have been four polls in the past month that compare Brown and Democrat Elizabeth Warren. The WBUR poll showed Warren slightly ahead. Two others gave Brown a lead of 9 to 10 points (Thys, 3/2).

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