Women's Health Becomes Political Issue In Health Care Debate

"The heated Capitol Hill debate over health care coverage for mammograms has exploded onto the political scene, shaping the 2010 electoral landscape and recalibrating the battle for a crucial constituency: the women’s vote," Politico reports. "With women's health issues increasingly at the forefront of the health care debate, pols have turned breast cancer into a potent campaign weapon. The volume in the war has ramped up in recent weeks after a government task force released findings – widely criticized by women’s groups – recommending that it was unnecessary" for some women under age 50 to get screened for breast cancer.

Republicans and Democrats have often clashed over abortion in the past, but "the heated political rhetoric surrounding mammograms, experts say, is beyond the norm" and "signals a willingness on behalf of both parties to play political hardball on an issue typically outside the bounds of the campaign arena" (Isenstadt, 12/13).

NPR: "Abortion remains one of the key unresolved issues in the ongoing health overhaul debate. Those on both sides of the abortion debate say what they want in the health bill is to retain the status quo. And the status quo they point to is the Hyde amendment, the ban on federal funding of abortion first passed in 1976." The story explains how abortion language has evolved over the decades (Rovner, 12/14).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.