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Voters and the Affordable Care Act in the 2014 Election

October 31, 2014 Comments off

Voters and the Affordable Care Act in the 2014 Election
Source: New England Journal of Medicine

As we approach the 2014 election, we are witnessing an unusual situation. Poll results suggest a low level of public interest and a low projected voter turnout in this election. Only about half (52%) of the public say they are currently paying attention to the election (CBS News–New York Times [CBS-NYT] poll, 2014). On the basis of past nonpresidential-year elections, less than half of U.S. adults are expected to vote.1 At the same time, congressional candidates are raising a number of important national issues, including what should be the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the years ahead.

Most Democratic candidates hold positions in favor of continuing the next phase of the ACA’s implementation mostly in its current form, whereas most Republican candidates have positions favoring some sort of major scaling back, repeal, or replacement of the legislation. For a number of different reasons, political forecasters see this election’s outcome as being very close. They give at least an even chance that the Republican Party will win majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The uncertain outcome of this election has importance for health care because of the polarized views held by each party’s candidates on the future of the ACA, federal health spending, and policies regarding federal health care regulation.

This article, which is based on an analysis of data from 27 public opinion polls by 14 organizations, seeks to examine the role of the ACA in the 2014 election and the potential implications for health care depending on the outcome. It examines the following six questions: How important is health care, and specifically the ACA, as an issue in the 2014 election? If a congressional candidate supports the ACA, are voters more or less likely to vote for him or her? What is the current level of voter support for the ACA? How does this support vary according to voters’ partisan affiliation? Do voters currently support a core principle of the ACA that it is the responsibility of the federal government to make sure that all Americans have health care coverage? What do voters want the next Congress to do with the ACA?

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ACA Advertising in 2014 – Insurance and Political Ads

October 31, 2014 Comments off

ACA Advertising in 2014 – Insurance and Political Ads
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, the law has been an often potent and divisive political issue, and has sparked an unprecedented amount of political and campaign advertising, particularly from candidates and groups that oppose the law. According to Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG), no other federal program or policy has resulted in the kind of advertising the ACA has caused, namely the combination of new insurance “product” advertising and sustained political advertising across multiple election cycles.

This year, Americans saw the launch of the ACA’s insurance market reforms, the implementation of the state and federal exchanges where people can shop for coverage and access subsidies, and the expansion of Medicaid in many states. Alongside these policy changes, new stakeholders began to advertise to encourage participation in the new coverage options, including state and federal governments, non-profit groups looking to boost enrollment, and health insurance companies seeking new customers. The mid-term elections have also brought a new collection of political advertising with ACA messaging. These two distinct types of advertising have different goals and aims; some encourage people to take advantage of new options under the ACA, while others encourage people to vote a certain way. With both of these types of advertising making their way into American living rooms in 2014, this analysis describes the full spectrum of ads that the American public is being exposed to regarding health care, both in the context of health insurance coverage, and as a political issue in the mid-term elections.

Malaysia: the ruling coalition strikes back – Commons Library Standard Note

October 30, 2014 Comments off

Malaysia: the ruling coalition strikes back – Commons Library Standard Note
Source: House of Commons Library

In May 2013 elections, the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, led by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, won a majority of seats in parliament despite gaining only 47% of the vote. The opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat (PR), led by Anwar Ibrahim, gained 51% of the vote but extreme variations in the size of parliamentary constituencies across Malaysia meant that it was unable to translate that into electoral victory.

The outcome represented a further erosion of the BN’s once impregnable political ascendancy in Malaysia. Prime Minister Najib had sought to win back enough urban Malays and Chinese-origin voters by invoking “One Malaysia” and introducing a cautious range of political reforms. He did just enough, although the opposition challenged the probity of the result.

With his leadership under significant threat within UMNO, the dominant Malay party within the BN, since the 2013 elections Najib has launched a campaign of harassment of the political opposition and focused anew on affirmative action for Malays. Longstanding sodomy charges have been revived against Anwar Ibrahim – he is currently appealing against a five-year jail sentence but if unsuccessful his political career could well be over – and he could soon also be charged with sedition. Many wonder if the PR will hold together if he is removed from the scene.

At the same time, Najib has sought to preserve his international reputation as a reformer, focusing primarily on economic liberalisation measures. But a closer look suggests that his reforming credentials are currently somewhat threadbare.

Hat tip: GP

As Midterm Election Approaches, State Election Laws Challenged, CRS Legal Sidebar (October 7, 2014)

October 20, 2014 Comments off

As Midterm Election Approaches, State Election Laws Challenged, CRS Legal Sidebar (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

As the November 4 election approaches, there have been several court challenges to state election laws. Depending on how the courts rule—and when—these cases could affect election administration in several states during the upcoming election.

New From the GAO

October 8, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office
1. Elections: Issues Related to State Voter Identification Laws. GAO-14-634, September 19.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-634
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665965.pdf

2. National Defense: Department of Defense’s Waiver of Competitive Prototyping Requirement for the Navy’s Fleet Replenishment Oiler Program. GAO-15-57R, October 8.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-57R

Universal suffrage to elect the next Chief Executive of Hong Kong in 2017: a legal primer – Commons Library Standard Note

October 3, 2014 Comments off

Universal suffrage to elect the next Chief Executive of Hong Kong in 2017: a legal primer – Commons Library Standard Note
Source: House of Commons Library
On 31 August 2014 the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress (NPC) decided that the next Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region should be directly elected in 2017 by universal suffrage. However, the candidates (expected to be two or three in total) will still have to be approved in advance by a nominating committee, whose composition and method of formation will remain unchanged from that of the 1200-person strong ‘Election Committee’ which elected the current Chief Executive in 2012. Critics argue that this nominating committee will have an in-built ‘pro-Beijing’ bias.

This decision has triggered a wave of protest in Hong Kong, led by a movement called Occupy Central, in which students are playing a major part. This short briefing summarises the legal context of recent events in Hong Kong, including the UK’s own obligations.

Hat tip: GP

The 2014 Congressional Primaries: Who Ran and Why

October 2, 2014 Comments off

The 2014 Congressional Primaries: Who Ran and Why
Source: Brookings Institution

Congressional primary elections generate less voter turnout, news coverage, and scholarly research than general elections. Congressional primaries nonetheless have profound impact and demand better understanding of their outcomes. Look no further than the 2010 midterm election primaries where several Tea Party candidates began to challenge mainstream Republican incumbents, shifting the balance of power in the Republican caucus and contributing to the current polarized political system that has paralyzed Congress.

The Center for Effective Public Management established The Primaries Project to better understand the dynamics within each political party and their relative impact on policy, regardless of who won or lost a primary race. By meticulously coding nearly every candidate that filed to run in a Congressional primary — 1,662 candidates in all — this effort constitutes the first-of-its-kind research that seeks to uncover: (1) Who runs in congressional primaries? (2) What are the internal divisions within each party? (3) What are the candidates talking about? And what are they not talking about? (4) What’s happening to the margins of victory for this year’s winners compared to margins in the past? And (5) Where does the campaign money come from?

See also: Phoning It In and Failing to Show: The Story of the 2014 House Primaries

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