HEALTH CARE POLITICS: AMA Comes To Aide Of Embattled Rep.
The American Medical Association has committed $450,000 to aide incumbent Rep. Jon Fox (R-PA) in "a race considered too close to call," today's Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The national physician organization is using the money to run "independent expenditure" ads touting Fox's views on health care. The AMA ad says, "Jon Fox believes you should be able to choose your own doctors. ... He's an independent leader working for health care you can count on." According to the Inquirer, "[b]oth national political parties see the contest in the 13th Congressional District ... as crucial to control of the U.S. House." Pennsylvania State University political scientist Michael Young said of the AMA effort, "The AMA likes to make a safe bet. They throw their money around, but not away. It certainly suggests they smell victory." But Fox's Democratic challenger, Joseph Hoeffel III, "quickly criticized" the AMA's support for Fox, noting that the Republican "voted for health-care reform legislation that was both supported and opposed by the" AMA. "If they looked at Jon Fox's record, they would know that it does not measure up," Hoeffel said. Fox defended his record, noting that he voted for both the Democratic and Republican patients' rights bill this year because he is "a pragmatic legislator who wants to see health-care reform move forward."
AMA Efforts Elsewhere
In addition to spending heavily to aide Rep. Fox, the Inquirer cites Federal Election Commission records which show that the AMA "spent $200,000 and $250,000, respectively, earlier this week for embattled Republican Rep. J. Greg Ganske of Iowa and Ernest L. Fletcher, a Republican physician running for an open House seat in" Kentucky (Downs, 10/29).
Connecticut's 2nd District
Today's Hartford Courant reports that the candidates for Connecticut's 2nd Congressional District seat favor "changes in the way HMOs do business in Connecticut and elsewhere." Incumbent Rep. Sam Gejdenson (D) said, "Other businesses must pay the consequences of their actions. Right now, when you are denied coverage, the HMO just makes more money." Noting the recent defection of several Medicare HMOs from the state's market, Republican Gary Koval "said the federal government should make sure HMO coverage for seniors is viable by increasing the amount the Medicare program reimburses HMOs" (Weiss, 10/29).
Slight Democratic Edge?
According to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, Americans most likely to vote in next week's elections favor Democrats over Republicans by a slight 46%-43% margin. When asked which party does a better job on health care issues, 41% said Democrats and 21% said Republicans. The survey of 1,025 registered voters has a +/-3.1% margin of error (10/29).