KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Swing State Highlights: Focus On The Middle Class; GOP Momentum In Michigan?

As election day approaches, KHN's Sarah Barr samples news coverage each week from swing states around the country – how health policy developments are playing in this year's vote. In Iowa, for instance, both presidential campaigns are vying for middle-class votes.

Des Moines Register: Middle Class Is Focal Point As Election Nears
[Tony] Swanson, 53, of rural Ottumwa, for years was the manager of the landfill in Wapello County. ... But a few years ago, he had a heart attack and began to suffer from other illnesses. His wife’s health deteriorated, too. ... He lost his job when his health problems forced him onto disability. Then he lost his home. Swanson's story is personal, but is representative of the struggles facing many Americans. ... Both [presidential] candidates ... have put middle-class concerns at the center of their candidacies and built their rhetoric, advertising, campaign appearances and multipoint policy plans around solutions to middle-class hardships (Noble, 10/6).

Detroit Free Press: Poll Shows Mitt Romney Closing Gap With Barack Obama In Michigan After Debate
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's performance in his first debate with President Barack Obama helped him trim Obama's lead in Michigan by seven percentage points and put the state back in play, according to a poll released Monday to the Free Press. ... Obama actually widened his lead among voters 50 or older, a statistic [pollster Bernie] Porn attributes to concerns over the Medicare voucher plan that has been espoused by U.S. Rep Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Romney's running mate (Egan, 10/9).

Detroit News: Ryan: GOP Has 'Good Chance' To Win In Michigan
In his second trip to Michigan as the GOP vice presidential pick, Paul Ryan told thousands of cheering Republicans on Monday night that the GOP ticket can win the state. "It's getting closer in Michigan," Ryan said. "… You can deliver this. We can do it here." The push through Michigan comes as two new polls released on Monday showed Obama's double-digit lead in the state had been cut to 3 percentage points (Shepardson and Schultz, 10/9).

Other highlights include news about swing-state registration and early voting in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Nevada. 

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Jill Biden Emphasizes Registration Deadline
The wife of Vice President Joe Biden urged campaign volunteers Monday to continue their efforts as (Tuesday's) voter registration deadline approached, emphasizing that they also need to spread the word about the voter ID decision. "We've got to get the news out that people do not need a photo ID," Jill Biden told a crowd of about 180 people  ... She highlighted efforts to increase funding for college Pell grants, steps to end the war in Iraq, passage of the federal health care act and Friday's decrease in the national unemployment rate (Olson, 10/9).

Cincinnati Enquirer: Ohio Early Voting To Stay, Appeals Court Says
A federal appeals court Friday handed the Obama campaign a major legal victory, ruling that Ohioans may cast early in-person absentee ballots during the final three days before the Nov. 6 election.  ... A major factor in its unanimous decision, the court said, was evidence suggesting that early voting restrictions would be especially harmful to women, minorities, older voters and those with lower incomes and less education (Horstman, 10/6).

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Ohio Secretary John Husted To Appeal Early Voting Decisions to The U.S. Supreme Court
Ohio's elections chief said today he will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court a federal appellate court ruling last week that permitted early voting the weekend before the Nov. 6 election. … The availability of in-person early voting the weekend before the Nov. 6 election is a crucial issue for Democrats, who four years ago marshaled thousands of voters to the polls in that time frame to help President Obama to victory (Guillen, 10/9).

Cleveland Plain Dealer: In Deep-Blue Cuyahoga County, Republicans Outpacing Democrats In Early Ballot Requests (But Democrats Returning Them At A Higher Clip)
Some numbers to chew on after nearly a week of early voting in Ohio: In the Democratic stronghold of Cuyahoga County, 36 percent of registered Republicans had asked for absentee ballots as of Sunday afternoon, compared with 32 percent of registered Democrats, according to the elections board. ... For the GOP, this is ... about holding down President Barack Obama's margins in what could be a close race in an electoral battleground (Gomez, 10/8).

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Analysis Of Cuyahoga County Voting Finds Cutback On In-Person Balloting Hits Minorities Most
Restrictions on early in-person voting in Ohio would discriminate against black voters, an analysis of voting patterns concludes. The study examined voting in Cuyahoga County in 2008 using elections records and census data. It found that black voters and white voters cast early ballots at similar rates in 2008, but that blacks -- who accounted for about 29 percent of the overall vote -- cast more than 77 percent of the in-person early ballots (Feran, 10/6).

Las Vegas Sun: Democrats Expand Voter Registration Lead In Clark County
Democrats in Clark County have a 119,000 voter registration advantage over Republicans at the closing online voter registration. ... Individual voters can still register in person by Oct. 16. Democrats have been consistently outpacing Republicans in voter registrations statewide, and particularly in Clark County, the state's Democratic stronghold and largest county (Schwartz, 10/8).

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