Campaign-Inspired Hot Summer Friday Thoughts

By Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief

Commuting in and out of Manhattan gives me plenty of time to listen to the radio and of course, with Election Day a mere 90 days away, the presidential campaign offers reporters a lot of fodder for commentary. And of course, the evening papers and television stations—both national and local—augment what’s on the radio all day. Here’s a sampling of health care–related campaign news that I’ve heard and read this week.

According to the Kaiser Foundation’s Health Tracking Poll, July figures show that overall, two thirds of Americans support Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but when it comes to whether their own states should expand programs, support drops to less than half (49%), while 43% want to keep the status quo. Importantly for candidates, “four in 10 Americans say they could still change their minds on the law.”

My take: The failure of the Democrats to adequately explain the reforms, together with the misinformation from the Republicans (death panels—need I say more?), are leaving the public confused.  The winner in November will be the candidate who can convince the voters that the ACA is either good or bad for them on a person level. (And yes, the economy is now the overriding issue, but health care will keep resurfacing as an emotional and “values” issue in the coming months.)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–Nevada) accused candidate Mitt Romney of not paying taxes for 10 years while he was […]