KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Democrats Facing Political Fallout From Obamacare’s Woes

News outlets covered the fallout from Friday's House of Representatives vote to allow insurers to renew plans that do not comply with the health law.

NBC News: Pelosi Says Democrats Will 'Stand Tall' In 2014 In Support Of Obamacare
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Democrats are not losing confidence in President Barack Obama’s ability to make the Affordable Care Act work and don’t fear Obamacare’s effect on their chances in next year’s elections. Appearing Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press, Pelosi said, “I don’t think you can tell what will happen next year” when voters cast ballots in the mid-term elections, but “I will tell you this: Democrats stand tall in support of the Affordable Care Act" (Curry, 11/17).

Politico: Clyburn: Dems voting for ACA fix were 'insulating themselves'
Most House Democrats who voted for the Obamacare fix bill this week were “insulating themselves against sound bites,” Assistant Democratic Leader Rep. Jim Clyburn said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Thirty-nine House Democrats joined Republicans on Friday to pass a bill that allows insurance companies to continue selling plans that have been canceled under Obamacare. Clyburn (D-S.C.) said that while many of those 39 Democrats have “real concerns,” about 30 of them voted for the bill to protect themselves from the rhetoric surrounding the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act (Sneed, 11/17).

The Wall Street Journal: Democrats Defect on Health Rules
The Republican plan, a response to unease among millions of Americans who face cancellation of health-insurance policies that don't meet the new law's standards, would give insurers one more year to offer policies that were set to end. Unlike Mr. Obama's plan, the GOP measure would allow insurers to sell those policies to new customers. The 39 Democrats who backed the plan set a high-water mark in Republicans' efforts to win support from across the aisle to amend or delay portions of the law (McCain Nelson and Hughes, 11/15).

The Hill: GOP: No Cover For Dems On O-Care Vote
Republicans say Democrats who voted for a bill Friday to let insurers offer limited plans cancelled under ObamaCare won't save themselves from the political fallout of the bill in 2014. Nearly every vulnerable Democrat in the House voted for the fix. But Republicans argue that, if anything, those votes are just examples of Washington duplicity — and they won’t let voters forget it. “The clear lie and rank hypocrisy on health coverage will be a major issue next year,” said Dan Conston, communications director for the Congressional Leadership Fund, a GOP super Pac. ... A polling edge Democrats gained following the government shutdown had been erased midweek, prompting the party to make moves to refocus the discussion away from the healthcare law (Jaffe, 11/17). 

The New York Times: In Fracas on Health Coverage, Some Democrats Feel Exposed
In mid-October, as Republicans were contending with voter fury over a 16-day government shutdown, Democrats had the momentum. In polls, a growing number of voters said they wanted the party to control Congress after next year’s election. Emboldened, a wave of strong recruits entered House contests. Democrats’ control of the Senate seemed secure. Money was flowing. Then the problems with the Internet-based health exchanges came into focus, followed by millions of letters from insurance companies canceling individual policies that did not meet the health law’s minimum coverage requirements. Republicans found their voice. Democrats lost theirs. The polling gap closed, and Republican wallets opened (Weisman, 11/16).

The Washington Post: Health-Care Law Has Changed Game For Democrats Looking To 2014 Election
UPPER DUBLIN, Pa. — Few places may better explain how the bungled launch of President Obama’s health-care law has scrambled the political landscape for Democrats than this hamlet north of Philadelphia. Democrats have been hoping to capitalize on the political fallout for the GOP from the recent government shutdown. ... The Affordable Care Act may have changed that (O'Keefe and Kane, 11/16).

The Hill: Democratic Lawmakers Look To Hold Insurance Industry's Feet To Fire
Democrats who have been in a defensive crouch because of the botched rollout of ObamaCare are beginning to take the offensive by scrutinizing insurance companies, a longtime Democratic bête noire. ... President Obama has been reluctant to directly criticize insurance companies because he needs their cooperation to achieve as smooth a transition as possible to the new insurance marketplaces. ... Democratic lawmakers have taken a more aggressive posture, however. They are pressuring the industry to take responsibility for hundreds of thousands of people who want to keep their insurance plans but could not until this past week because they failed to meet ObamaCare’s requirements (Bolton, 11/16).

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