GOP Senate May Not Be Able To Repeal Health Law, But It Could Cripple Key Provisions
News outlets examine what the future could hold for the health law especially as the Senate increasingly appears to be within GOP reach.
Politico: A GOP Senate Could Take On Obamacare — But Not Repeal It
A Republican-controlled Senate cannot repeal Obamacare, no matter how fervently GOP candidates pledge to do so on the campaign trail this fall. But if they do win the majority, Senate Republicans could inflict deep and lasting damage to the president’s signature law. Republicans are quick to say they are not yet measuring the proverbial drapes. But they are taking the political measurements of repealing large parts of the health law, considering which pieces could be repealed with Democratic support, and how to leverage the annual appropriations and budget process to eliminate funding or large pieces of the law (Haberkorn, 9/15).
Politico: Would a GOP Senate Be King Of The World?
If the Republicans win the Senate in November, the first thing they’ll say is: Finally, we can pass all of our bills and force President Barack Obama to deal with them. The second thing they’ll say is: Oh, wait a second. This is the Senate. That tension — between their desire to bring Obama to his knees and their ability to actually do it — is the political reality that will determine the Republicans’ legislative strategy if they win the Senate majority (Nather, 9/14).
Politico: Senate Showdown: GOP Frets Over Harkin Seat
Few states are more important than Iowa in the battle for the Senate this fall. But anxiety is rising within Republican ranks that deep-pocketed conservative donors and outside groups are not doing enough, as Democrats outspend them by millions of dollars to retain the seat of retiring liberal Sen. Tom Harkin. Since GOP nominee Joni Ernst won the June primary, Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley and his allies have outspent Ernst and her supporters by more than $2.1 million .... Meanwhile, interest groups from the left are piling on. ... Braley's allies stress that he has also been getting hammered with attack ads — many over absences from House Veterans Affairs Committee hearings in the House and support for Obamacare. (Hohmann, 9/14).
The Washington Post: In Just A Year Obamacare Goes From Top Congress Issue To Barely Mentioned
It was last September when Republicans sparred with Democrats over the future of the health-care law, a disagreement that prompted a 17-day federal government shutdown and overall chaos. It was pretty much [all] anyone on Capitol Hill talked about. Republicans wanted you to know how terrible it was for America, and Democrats wanted you to remember to sign up on Oct. 1. In that month, a mere 12 months ago, the word Obamacare was uttered on the House and Senate floor 2,753 times, ... With just one full week of work left this month, members of Congress have brought up Obamacare in floor speeches just 27 times (Itkowitz, 9/13).
The Hill: Elections Poised To Expand ObamaCare
Democrats running in five highly competitive governors races this year have vowed to expand Medicaid coverage through ObamaCare if they are elected, something that could result in 1.7 million new people getting covered. The dramatic stakes in the governors’ races come even as Democrats are fearful they could lose the Senate .... If federal Medicaid programs are expanded in the five states — Florida, Maine, Kansas, Wisconsin and Georgia — it would also have a dramatic effect on the federal budget. ... Republicans are favored to gain seats in the House and Senate, but the party is playing defense in the race for state houses (Ferris, 9/12).
In other related news -
The New York Times: Building Legacy, Obama Reshapes Appellate Bench
Democrats have reversed the partisan imbalance on the federal appeals courts that long favored conservatives, a little-noticed shift with far-reaching consequences for the law and President Obama's legacy. ... The shift, one of the most significant but unheralded accomplishments of the Obama era, is likely to have ramifications for how the courts decide the legality of some of the president's most controversial actions on health care, immigration and clean air (Peters, 9/13).
And, here's news regarding how issues like Medicare and over-the-counter birth control are playing on the campaign trail -
The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: OTC Birth-Control Fight Hits Airwaves In Colorado, North Carolina
Planned Parenthood’s political arm is ratcheting up its fight with some Republican Senate candidates over the issue of possible over-the-counter contraceptives, calling the candidates' support of [over-the-counter] pills "empty gestures." Planned Parenthood Votes jumped into the middle of hotly-contested Senate races in Colorado and North Carolina with television ads denouncing GOP candidates there, Rep. Cory Gardner (R., Colo.) and Thom Tillis (Burton, 9/12).
Tampa Bay Times: PolitiFact: Medicare, That Favorite Campaign Attack Line
When it comes to claims about Medicare, some political talking points just never die. In Iowa and Virginia, Republicans have accused Democrats of cutting Medicare to pay for Obamacare. In Florida, a Republican was slammed for ending the Medicare "guarantee." Other Medicare-related attacks have been deployed in Arkansas and Kentucky Senate races. The point of all the attacks is to convince midterm voters that one side or the other won't protect the program (Jacobson and Holan, 9/12).