KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Virginia Senate Candidates Face Tough Issues Beyond Medicare, While Key California House Races Are Shaped By It

News outlets detail the latest developments in the Virginia and Wisconsin Senate races, as well as in the House contests in California.

The Washington Post: In Senate Race, Northern Virginia Seniors Look Beyond Medicare, Social Security
For most campaigns, the equation is simple: Seniors care about Medicare and Social Security — and often vote — so candidates vow loudly and frequently to protect the programs. But for U.S. Senate contenders Timothy M. Kaine (D) and George Allen (R), this year's election is a bit more complicated, as they learned while courting older Virginia voters last week (Pershing, 10/13).

The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: Some Candidates Mum On Tough Policy Questions
Curious what Virginia Republican Senate candidate George Allen thinks about his own party's law that forces women seeking abortions to have ultrasounds? Too bad. He refused to say during a recent debate (10/15).

Los Angeles Times: Long Beach Congressional Race Has National Import
The fight over a local congressional seat may look like a dust-up between two men who share a Long Beach base and little else. But the contest is a high-stakes rumble that could figure in the battle for control of the House. This particular war zone is one of 10 competitive congressional districts in California, the largest number in more than a decade, courtesy of new political maps. The Republican candidate, City Councilman Gary DeLong, and the Democrat, state Sen. Alan Lowenthal, may emphasize their local ties and accomplishments, but the national parties want the race to be a referendum on the economy and federal budget, Social Security, Medicare and the Affordable Health Care Act (Merl, 10/15).

Los Angeles Times: Ventura County Congressional District Is A Battleground
Brownley supports Obama's healthcare overhaul and his push to roll back Bush-era tax cuts to help lower the deficit. Strickland calls Obama's stimulus package a failure that has resulted in too few jobs and too much debt. He backs a cut in corporate taxes and doesn't want the Bush tax cuts to expire. The testiest issue in the contest has been Medicare. Brownley said she would not cut benefits for seniors and would oppose any effort to replace Medicare with a voucher system, as proposed by GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (Saillant, 10/15).

Meanwhile, in the Wisconsin Senate race -

Politico (Video): Baldwin Raises $4.6M In Third Quarter, Attacks Thompson For HHS Role
Wisconsin Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin took in just under $4.6 million for her campaign during the third quarter of 2012, a campaign source tells POLITICO... Baldwin's Republican opponent, former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, hasn't yet released his most recent fundraising information, though his campaign told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he has raised between $2 million and $3 million since the primary. Balwin is putting some of her cash toward attacking the Republican on the airwaves for his role in the Bush-era Medicare Part D law. In an ad set for release today, Baldwin says that as secretary of health and human services, Thompson "cut a sweetheart deal with drug companies while working for George Bush, making it illegal for Medicare to negotiate lower prices. Then Tommy made millions at a DC lobbying firm working for drug companies." That's of a piece with the messaging Democrats have used to tear down Thompson since he entered the general election as a perceived front-runner over the summer (Burns, 10/15).

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