KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Health Policy Rhetoric, Issues Prominent In Congressional Races, Other State Contests

House and Senate races heat up in Colorado, Nevada and Washington state, but health policy issues are touching a number of other contests, too, including governors' races, state ballot initiatives and elections for state representatives.

The New York Times: Colorado Race Turns Fierce After Republican's Anti-Obama Remark
Now, because of a new Congressional map, Mr. Coffman, a two-term conservative with a long military résumé, finds himself in a Democratic-leaning district in the Denver suburbs in one of the most competitive House races in the country, with implications for the partisan split in the House as well as for the presidential race. … As in the presidential campaign, Democrats are trying to appeal to women in the district and see them as the key to the election. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has invested more than $2 million in the race, attacking Mr. Coffman for supporting limits on contraception, a plan to convert Medicare into a voucher program, and proposals that prohibit exceptions for abortion in the cases of rape and incest (Hulse, 10/29).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: With Senate Control In Play, Close Nevada Contest Ramps Up Battle Over Turnout, Nasty Ads
They've squabbled over immigration, congressional budgets, Medicare and how to help Main Street. She backed an overhaul of Wall Street oversight after the 2008 financial crisis, he opposed it. Heller rejected an increase in the minimum wage in 2007, she supported it. Berkley supports, and Heller opposes, the so-called Dream Act, which would allow young people brought to the U.S. without authorization to avoid deportation if they graduate high school or join the military (10/29).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Akin Campaigns With Sen. Inhofe While McCaskill's New Ad Declares: 'Todd Akin Is Scary'
Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill on Monday launched a Halloween-week ad casting her Republican challenger Todd Akin as "scary" because of his remarks about "legitimate rape." Akin, meanwhile, is gaining some outside help in his quest to oust Missouri's senior senator (10/29).

Politico: Poll: Scott Brown, Elizabeth Warren In Dead Heat
Sen. Scott Brown is locked in a tie with his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren, according to a poll released Monday, with Warren's popularity slipping over the past month. Brown and Warren are neck and neck with 47 percent each, according to the Boston Globe poll. Without including voters who are leaning toward one candidate, Brown has a slight edge, 45 percent to 43 percent (Robillard, 10/29).

Seattle Times: Inslee Scales Back Expected Savings From A Centerpiece Of His Platform
From Pullman to Puyallup, gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee has trumpeted prevention-based health care for state employees as a way to save hundreds of millions of dollars a year. But now the Democrat has cut his cost-savings estimate by as much as two-thirds, raising new questions about the feasibility of his vow to boost education spending without raising taxes. Campaign staffers insist the proposal would still generate significant savings. But some government officials, health-care experts and union leaders say that isn't clear without further study (Rosenthal, 10/29).

Fox News: ObamaCare Mandate Big On State Ballots That Also Include Gay Marriage, Marijuana
Four states are continuing to fight against ObamaCare by including a ballot measure on Election Day that asks residents whether they want to block the mandate requiring Americans to have insurance under the new federal health-care law. Alabama, Florida, Montana and Wyoming will join 16 other states that have already passed laws or made changes to their constitutions to say they will not enforce the so-call "individual mandate" in the law. Missouri residents -- who in 2010 became the first to reject the mandate -- will on Nov. 6 decide on whether to allow the governor to establish so-called exchanges for them to buy the mandatory insurance (10/29).

The Associated Press: Wyoming Voters Face 3 Amendments Next Week
Wyoming voters face three constitutional questions in next week's general election. The first proposal would amend the Wyoming Constitution to specify that competent adults have the right to make their own health care decisions (Neary, 10/29).

The Associated Press: Kansas Chamber Seeks To Tie Democrats To Health Care Law 
The Kansas Chamber of Commerce is trying to tie Democratic state senators to President Barack Obama and the federal health care overhaul with mailings in key districts as part of a larger effort to give conservative Republicans firm control of the Legislature. Democrats on Monday criticized the mailings from the chamber's political action committee as unfair for suggesting state legislators could block the federal health care law enacted in 2010 (Hanna, 10/29).

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