Bloggers are zeroing in on health care politics as races around the nation ramp up for midterm elections this fall. Candidates and politicians alike feature prominently this week.
CJR’s Trudy Lieberman visits Missouri to check back with voters she interview a year ago prior to passage of the national health law. Lieberman says, “What I found corroborates anecdotally what the polls are finding scientifically: that people don’t like reform; believe much of the misinformation that they’ve heard; don’t see how it will help them; and have a bad feeling about what will happen to their benefits.”
Health Beat Blog’s Maggie Mahar makes clear her opposition to Rick Scott’s candidacy for Florida governor. Scott is the former CEO of the massive HCA/Columbia hospital chain that pleaded guilty “to no fewer than 14 felonies and paid a total of $1.7 billion in criminal and civil fines. Scott was never charged with any wrong-doing.” Scott won the Republican nomination in Florida’s primary election Tuesday. Mahar writes that voters need to examine his background: “I was thunder-struck when I discovered that Rick Scott was running in the Republican primary to become governor of Florida. In May, I wrote a HealthBeat post about his candidacy, predicting that he might even win. He did. This is why I have decided to take another crack at the story. It is essential that everyone—whether conservative or liberal—understand who Scott is, and the role he played, not only in the health care industry.”
The Heritage Foundation has a guest post and video from Republican Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (considered a potential presidential candidate in 2012), who says of the new health law, “it’s a misnomer to even refer to this as ‘reform.’ It doesn’t reform anything. Instead, it perpetuates and magnifies all the worst aspects of our current system: fee for service reimbursement, ‘free’ to the purchaser consumption, and an irrationally expensive medical liability tort system. It’s a sure recipe for yet more overconsumption and overspending.”
Contrary to Cannon and Daniels, the National Center for Policy Analysis is using the term “health reform” — and just published a nearly 50-page consumer’s guide to the new health law.
Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky looks at news that the health insurer trade group AHIP has donated 8:1 in favor of Republican candidates this year. Volsky cautions, “this donation imbalance shouldn’t be interpreted as an industry endorsement of the GOP’s repeal efforts or its attack on the individual mandate — which could make the industry millions. The industry is turning to the Republican party not so that it could repeal the entire law — that seems highly unlikely — but so that it can push for favorable regulations that don’t cut into industry profits.”
Meanwhile, Avik Roy tries to explain the divide between consveratives and liberals on the term “death panels” after a recent post sparked some controversy. Roy explains, “The [British National Health Service] for American conservatives, is the paradigm of how state control of the health care system plays out. [Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah] Palin’s logic is irrefutable: once the government is spending the money, the government has an obligation to the taxpayer to use those dollars as efficiently. What does that entail? From the government’s point of view, that involves not wasting money on end-of-life care.”
And Time’s Kate Pickert points to new estimates by the Congressional Budget Office that “repealing the parts of the Affordable Care Act, including changes to Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, would increase the deficit by $455 billion. The CBO released the figure this week in a letter responding to a request from Republican Sen. Mike Crapo.”
And for loyal Blog Watch readers, a sign-off: it’s my last day working at Kaiser Health News, and thus my last roundup. Thanks for reading along with me as we watched bloggers tackle the complex world of health policy.