White House ‘Rallies The Faithful’ For Health Overhaul Push
The White House is going beyond the Wednesday speech to take control of the health reform debate, including a road trip to urge passage of legislation.
The New York Times: "The 11-city tour to rally the faithful for President Obama's health care plan has been tapping the party's inner Hamlet. How much should liberal Democrats compromise with Republicans, and with moderates in their own ranks? How strongly should they cling to the notion of a public-option health provider?"
At recent town hall meetings, "democracy was served up at its most raw and confrontational. The bus tour has been different, with Democrats mostly talking politely among themselves - a modern-day version of the parlor game 'telephone,' where one person whispers in the ear of a neighbor, communicating a message they both hope will come out in coherent fashion at the end" (Johnson, 9/2).
In hindsight, some aspects of the Democrat's plans may have been an uphill struggle from the start, the Wall Street Journal reports. "Two overarching problems have bedeviled the Democrats' health-care push. One is the difficulty of persuading people who already have health insurance that the plan offers something for them. The other is the cost." Polls and focus groups showed from as early as 2006 that ideas like the creation of a public insurance plan invoked a great deal of concern among many Americans who were already happy with their insurance. "The chief worry: Giving access to inexpensive government insurance to America's 46 million uninsured would boost costs, or reduce care, for those who were already insured."
"A look back suggests the president and his allies may have 'overlearned' the lessons of President Bill Clinton's 1993-1994 health-care defeat. They expended great effort to line up the support of health-care insurers, pharmaceutical makers and care providers, believing that by keeping them around the table, they could win over Republicans and stop the kind of industry-led attacks that helped sink the Clinton plan. But this strategy left out the wooing of public opinion, which was being affected by broader events, including the economic crisis and anger over bank bailouts" (Weisman, King and Adamy, 9/3).