Obama Health Reform Proposals And Alliances Scrutinized
Various news outlets examined the state of the administration's health reform push.
Roll Call reports that the Administration's alliances with major health organizations may not be as strong as previously thought. "An analysis of these groups' positions suggests few are completely on board and several may oppose the president in the end. Obama and his aides do not explicitly say health providers like hospitals and drugmakers back the president's proposals. But it would take a careful reading of comments out of the White House to understand this."
Members of the administration have said that doctors, nurses, hospitals, drug companies, AARP and other groups are supportive. "The White House has also carefully staged events with health care providers, reinforcing the impression that everyone is on the same team." But while groups including PhRMA have not opposed Obama-backed legislation, they have "declined to support it." Likewise, the American Hospital Association has not endorsed the Senate health committee plan or the House plan and has "made clear that it will only accept the right type of public insurance option" (Koffler, 7/27).
Press secretary Robert Gibbs appeared on Fox News Sunday, where he said that the president will be monitoring congressional progress this week, and "if enough progress has been made by Friday 'having lawmakers go home for their regularly scheduled August recess is probably a good thing,'" The Hill reports. He said that the president had set the deadline to "poke and prod Congress into moving." During his appearance, Gibbs "attempted to paint a positive picture of the congressional stalemate over healthcare reform. He said that there is already 80 percent agreement over how reform should proceed and the sticking point is the remaining 20 percent" (Tiron, 7/26).
In his weekly Saturday address, President Obama said reform legislation would allow small businesses to "tap into more affordable insurance that is now only available to large companies," Politico reports. He "aimed to address a key constituency millions of small business owners at a time when their lobby in Washington is ratcheting up its criticism of the bill. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce sent a letter Friday to Congress signed by more than 1,000 businesses, state and local chambers, and national organizations opposing the House bill." In response, "The White House offered the flip side of the debate in a 20-page report Saturday detailing the ways in which small businesses would benefit," including access to lower-cost plans, a small business tax credit and an exemption from the employer mandate (Brown, 7/25).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.