KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

GOP Sees New Political Battleground Because Of Bumpy Rollout

Though the health law came through the most recent budget battle unscathed, its opponents view the problems with the website as a potential opportunity -- both in terms of the fight to derail the law and as an election issue for the upcoming campaign cycle.  

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Rollout Problems Hand GOP A New Line Of Attack On Obama's Health Care Law
"Obamacare" escaped unharmed from the government shutdown Republicans hoped would stop it, but just as quickly they have opened a new line of attack — one handed to them by the administration itself. While Congress was arguing, President Barack Obama's plan to expand coverage for the uninsured suffered a self-inflicted wound. A computer system seemingly designed by gremlins gummed up the first open enrollment season. After nearly three weeks, it's still not fixed (Cassata, 10/21).

Politico: Dems Caught In Obamacare Uproar
It's not the GOP that President Barack Obama has to worry about in defending his botched health care rollout, it’s fellow Democrats. They voted for the law, sang its praises for three-plus years and still believe in the promise of health care reform. But now they face a conundrum: stay in lock step with Obama and risk their credibility as advocates for the law's benefits or publicly criticize the administration for its recent problems — especially a failure to more quickly acknowledge, and rectify, the major malfunction of its Internet marketplace (Allen and Haberkorn, 10/21).

Politico: Obamacare Wins? See You In 2014
President Barack Obama's signature health care law is now turning into a 2014 election issue, rather than the disastrous defunding fight that led the government to close for three weeks. With the shutdown out of the way, the health care law's problems will take center stage in a way that they didn’t while Republicans were stepping on their own message (Nather, 10/18).

CBS News: Obamacare's Rocky Start: Hiccup Or Sure Sign Of Failure?
The circus that attended the shutdown prevented the public and the media from focusing more completely on the website problems that stymied thousands who tried to explore the online insurance marketplace on healthcare.gov. Stories about privacy concerns and technological glitches that might have led evening newscasts, for example, were pushed to the back-burner by the fiscal food fight. But now, with the budget war abated, at least temporarily, Obamacare's clumsy debut is again front-and-center on the political stage. And for Democrats, that could be a big problem (Miller, 10/21).

The Associated Press: Politicians Offer Their Opinions On Rocky Rollout Of Obama’s Health Care Law
The new online health insurance markets, the portals to coverage for most of the nation's nearly 50 million uninsured people, have gotten off to a rocky start since their Oct. 1 launch. The law was also central to the budget fight that led to a 16-day partial government shutdown. Politicians had these comments on the Sunday talk shows about the state of President Barack Obama's health care law (10/20).

The Texas Tribune: Addressing Medical Group, Cruz Talks Obamacare Fight
Speaking at the Texas Medical Association's fall conference Saturday, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz reiterated that he would do anything he could to defund the Affordable Care Act and emphasized the importance of grassroots advocacy…As a voice for the Tea Party in the U.S. Senate, Cruz has spent weeks rousing grassroots advocates for the fight to defund the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare (Aaronson, 10/19).

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