KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Some Embattled Democrats Embracing Obamacare

News outlets look at Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor's promotion of the health law in a campaign ad as a sign the law may be less radioactive. Meanwhile, Politico notes that 30 of the 34 House Democrats who voted against the law are no longer in office as the partisanship that it engendered grows.

The Associated Press: Democrats Reframe Debate On Health Care
One of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats is standing by his vote for President Barack Obama's health care law, a fresh sign that the unpopular mandate may be losing some of its political punch. In an ad released this week, two-term Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor says he voted for a law that prevents insurers from canceling policies if someone gets sick, as he did 18 years ago when he was diagnosed with cancer. That prohibition on ending policies is one of the more popular elements of the 4-year-old law that Pryor never mentions by its official name — the Affordable Care Act (Cassata, 8/22).

The Hill: Dems Find Obamacare Ammo
Vulnerable Democrats are finding ways to tout ObamaCare in an election cycle where the unpopular law was expected to be a liability for their party. The most overt emphasis on healthcare came this week, when Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) debuted an ad centered on his 1996 bout with cancer and his vote for the 2010 legislation, which protects people with pre-existing medical conditions from losing insurance coverage. "No one should be fighting an insurance company while you're fighting for your life," Pryor says in the ad while sitting next to his father, David Pryor, a beloved former senator in Arkansas (Viebeck, 8/22).

Politico: Only 4 Anti-Obamacare House Dems Left For Fall Elections
Thirty-four House Democrats bucked their party to vote against Obamacare when it passed in 2010. Today, only four of those lawmakers are still in office and running for reelection this fall. The dramatic downsize underscores not only how consequential the health care law vote was but how quickly moderate Democrats have been eliminated on Capitol Hill. Even those who opposed the law had trouble surviving the highly partisan atmosphere it helped to create (Haberkorn, 8/22).

Another health-related issue is also coming up on the campaign trail -

The Hill: Groups Attack Vulnerable Dems On Late-Term Abortion Bill
Anti-abortion groups are campaigning against three Democratic senators in key battleground states who oppose a ban on late-term abortions.  A coalition of groups including Concerned Women for America, Family Research Council Action, Students for Life of America and the Susan B. Anthony List is traveling to the home states of Sens. Mark Udall (Colo.), Kay Hagan (N.C.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.) to hit them for opposing a bill banning abortions after five months. Last year the House passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has picked it up in the Senate, but the bill has not seen any traction (Al-Faruque, 8/21).

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