Swing State Highlights: Sprinting To The Finish Line In Ohio, Virginia And Missouri

KHN's Sarah Barr samples campaign news coverage each week from swing states to see how health policy developments, and other political issues, are playing, including in the Senate races in Ohio, Virginia and Missouri.

The Columbus Dispatch: Mandel Outlines Health Reform
Calling the Affordable Care Act of 2010 "a federal government takeover of health care," Josh Mandel, Ohio's Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, yesterday outlined his own reforms, starting with repeal of the law. Joined by doctors at the Knightsbridge Surgery Center, a physicians-owned outpatient facility in Columbus, Mandel offered a 10-point plan that includes a number of commonly prescribed Republican health-care remedies, including limits on damages for malpractice, transparency in health-care costs and permitting citizens to buy health insurance across state lines (Hallett, 10/23).

The Richmond Times-Dispatch: Kaine Again Attacks Allen On Women's Issues
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Timothy M. Kaine is once again looking to build on his advantage among women over Republican rival George Allen. The five new TV ads, all titled "Virginia," are nearly identical apart from the women they feature. "This is Virginia," each ad begins, featuring one of the five different women. "George Allen would restrict her choices." The female narrator claims Allen would “take away her Constitutional rights” by outlawing abortion and “let employers deny Virginia insurance for preventive care and birth control" (Hester, 10/22).

Kansas City Star: Todd Akin Aide Adds Profanity To Claire McCaskill's 'Dog' Characterization
An aide to GOP Senate hopeful Todd Akin used profanity to refer to Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, extending Akin's weekend characterization of McCaskill as a "dog" who fetches problems from Washington. ... Akin and McCaskill are locked in a fierce battle for the Senate, with Republicans searching for the four seats the party needs to win the Senate majority on Nov. 6. That goal, once considered attainable, has grown more uncertain in part because of Akin's remark that women's bodies have ways of preventing pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape" (Kraske, 10/23).

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: McCaskill Maintains 8-Point Lead Over Akin In New Rasmussen Poll
[McCaskill leads Akin] 51-43 percent, according to a new Rasmussen Reports automated poll. ... Polls by the campaigns and parties have varied widely. Rasmussen is an independent pollster which is generally considered to lean conservative in its polls (McDermott, 10/19).

Despite the attention given to the Senate contest, the presidential race in Missouri has barely drawn notice.

The Associated Press/Kansas City Star: Missouri Ignored In 2012 Presidential Campaign
On a Sunday afternoon in the middle of September, a jet carrying Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney touched down at Kansas City International Airport…. The unscheduled, unpublicized stop marked the only time Romney stepped foot in Missouri since winning his party's nomination. President Barack Obama, a Democrat, never came to Missouri at all to campaign…. The reason: Romney is expected to win Missouri, so neither candidate figures it's worth his precious time and money to battle for the state's 10 electoral votes (Lieb, 10/22).

Controversy continues to stir in Pennsylvania regarding voter IDs while Nevada is bracing for the start of early voting.  

Philadelphia Inquirer: Spanish Billboards Give Voters The Wrong ID-ea
A judge ruled earlier this month that a state-approved voter ID was not needed to cast a ballot in the presidential race Nov. 6, but voter-rights advocates say state billboards about the law are confusing people. Like the 10 ads placed in predominantly Hispanic communities with a photo of a woman holding up her driver's license. "Esta jornada electoral si la tienes muestrala," it reads in Spanish, which means: "This Election Day, if you have it, show it." "It's causing confusion with voters and now a lot of anger in the Hispanic community," Juan Ramos, ... head of the Delaware Valley Voter Registration Education Project, said (Ransom, 10/23).

Las Vegas Sun: Two-Week Period Of Early Voting Begins In Nevada 
Nevada's two-week early-voting period began Saturday .... It began the culmination of — in the case of Democrats, years; and in the case of Republicans, months — of work identifying and cataloging voters. By the end of early voting, the majority of people who will vote in this election will have cast a ballot (Damon, 10/20).

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.