17 March 2010

Health Care Crescendo

Members of West Virginia's congressional delegation are getting it from all sides as the U.S. House and Senate consider a final health care bill.

As The Associated Press reports, the House is seeing much of the vote-counting and arm-twisting as Democrats seek 216 votes there to pass a bill.

Health Care for America Now, which favors the legislation, is targeting Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-1st, and 10 other House members with television ads urging support of a final bill.

The Washington Post, meanwhile, reports that the National Republican Congressional Committee put Mollohan in the crosshairs in a sample spot offered as a "warning that members will be subject to a barrage of ads tying them to a 'corrupt' piece of legislation."

The NRCC's chair also "acknowledged that the ad isn't running anywhere yet, and declined to say when it would," the piece noted.

AP reports separately on the increasing pressure on House members from the dueling camps. Politico also has an item on the last-minute ad blitz, and includes Mollohan's among a dozen Democrat-held House district where " activists on both sides of the reform debate are making their case" over the airwaves.

Most online vote-counts have listed Mollohan and Rep. Nick Rahall, D-3rd, as undecided. But several are speculating that Rahall is leaning toward supporting the bill after announcing the awarding of "$1.8 million in federal funds to help citizens of Raleigh, Fayette and Wyoming counties continue to receive quality accessible health care at affordable costs," as The Register-Herald of Beckley reports.

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-2nd, "remains opposed to the health care bill before Congress," The Intelligencer notes, in an article reporting that Mollohan's Wheeling office has been besieged by phone calls on the issue.

A TV ad is also the platform for supporters of the "public option" seeking to have the Senate restore that provision to its bill, NPR reports. But while that spot depicts Sen. Jay Rockefeller as a "potential yes vote," the West Virginia Democrat told NPR that "They're on the mark in saying that I'm for it, but they miss the larger point, which is that it would take down the passage of health care." (Audio here; Rockfeller appears around 3:05 into the report.)

The nation's governors are in the mix as well. Gov. Joe Manchin was among those commenting in a recent Politico piece that state officials have been left out of the health care debate as its focus narrows to the House vote count.

"Now, if you think they’re going to sit in Washington and make the judgments themselves ... and work this out without us being at the table. ... This is a frustration that we have,” Manchin is quoted as saying.

No comments: