Las Vegas Sun

September 18, 2014

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Health care reform on agenda; John Ensign’s ‘50-50’ chance

WASHINGTON -- Greetings, Early Liners. Doctors decked out in white coats filled the Rose Garden this morning as President Barack Obama welcomed physicians from 50 states to the White House to discuss health care reform.

Among those invited to attend was Dr. Arezo Fathie, who practices internal medicine and pediatrics in Henderson, and has been a trustee of the Clark County Medical Society.

Health care reform remains the main agenda item in Washington, with the Senate Finance Committee scheduled to vote on its bill this week.

Yet the dispute over the proposed expansion of Medicaid continues in the states, with the Washington Post reporting today that governors remain jittery over the extra cost -- something we’ve written about extensively.

Other states may try to get deals like the one Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid secured for Nevada, the paper reports. Reid got full 100 percent federal financing of the expansion for the first five years for Nevada and three other states hardest hit by the economic downturn.

The other emerging story here is the isolation of Republican Sen. John Ensign after the New York Times reported last week he may have violated ethics rules by helping to secure a lobby job for a former top aide, Doug Hampton, the husband of another former staffer with whom Ensign was having an affair.

Politico reports this morning that friends say Ensign has a “50-50” chance of surviving politically. The Washington Post editorializes that Ensign "must be held to account."

Roll Call reports that lobbyists are distancing themselves from him, too:

“Ensign’s near –pariah status on Capitol Hill has limited his usefulness to lobbyists, despite his positions on the powerful Finance Committee and Commerce, Science and Transportation panel.

“As Senate Republicans have largely benched Ensign, K Streeters have taken that as a cue to distance themselves from him, according to one veteran Republican lobbyist.”

Roll Call notes, “The gaming industry may be the biggest loser among Nevada interest in Ensign’s demoted status.”

Many good reads in the weekend papers. Be sure to check out:

The new Nevada News Bureau pumps out news for the political right, the Sun’s Michael Mishak reports.

Former Sun reporter Alexandra Berzon writes about the building bust on the Las Vegas Strip from her new home at the Wall Street Journal.

That’s all for now. Check back later for all the political news in Nevada.

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