KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Medicare, Abortion Grab Attention In Some House, Senate Races

News outlets offer another round of coverage on the Wisconsin Senate race and a tight New York House race, while candidates' views on abortion are spotlighted in Indiana and Missouri.

The Wall Street Journal: Democrat In GOP District Tries To Hang On
The numbers say former Erie County Executive Chris Collins, a Republican, should be having an easy time beating Democratic Rep. Kathy Hochul in New York's most Republican district in the House of Representatives. In February 2011, Republican Rep. Chris Lee, who represented the seat she now holds, resigned after the website Gawker posted details of an online flirtation between him and a woman who wasn't his wife. About three months later, Ms. Hochul won a special election by attacking Republican plans to overhaul Medicare. For Democrats, it was a successful test of a message they have since taken national. But 17 months later, things are harder for Ms. Hochul (Grossman, 10/23).

Politico: Wisconsin Senate: Can Tommy Thompson Recapture Magic?
The last time Tommy Thompson appeared on a ballot Mike Holmgren was the head coach of the Packers, "ER" was the top-rated show on television and Twitter was still a decade away from mainstream popularity. The year was 1998, and Thompson sailed to a fourth term as governor, disposing of his Democratic opponent by a 21-percentage-point margin. … Yet, there's evidence that Thompson's more recent work in Washington has tarnished his sterling image back home. Thompson served as a senior partner at the Beltway lobbying powerhouse Akin Gump, making millions as a consultant on health care issues after serving as Health and Human Services secretary under President George W. Bush (Cantanese, 10/23).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: How Thompson, Baldwin Differ On Medicare
Tommy Thompson is open to raising the age at which people receive Medicare and offering less of a benefit to those who have more money, introducing another stark distinction between the candidates in Wisconsin's U.S. Senate race. The Thompson campaign said all of the changes would be for future beneficiaries. Thompson's challenger, Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin of Madison, opposes both ideas, saying she wants to keep Medicare benefits intact (Marley, 10/23).

Meanwhile, abortion issues bubble up in Indiana and Missouri -

Roll Call: In Debate, Richard Mourdock Says Pregnancy From Rape Something 'God Intended To Happen'
In the final, high-stakes debate before Election Day, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) touched on an issue that has bedeviled another Republican Senate candidate, saying that "even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen" (Toeplitz, 10/23).

St. Louis Post-Dispatch:  Todd Akin Was Arrested At Least Three Times During '80s Abortion Protests
Congressman Todd Akin was arrested at least three times in the 1980s during anti-abortion protests, not just the one time he has publicly acknowledged. Akin's previously undisclosed arrests, in 1985, were for criminal trespass and resisting arrest at abortion clinic protests in St. Louis and Illinois (McDermott, 10/23).

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