August Health Reform Forecast: High Probability of Hot Debate, Crowded Airwaves
"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to unite her divided caucus around a common enemy - the health insurance industry - previewing an August recess line of attack by Democrats trying to maintain momentum on health care reform," Politico reports. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said yesterday, "They are the villains in this. They have been part of the problem in a major way. They are doing everything in their power to stop a public option from happening, and the public has to know" (Thrush, 7/31).
A memo circulated among House Democrats with advice on how to carry out the August attacks, the Hill reports. It reads: "Our message is simple. It is now being echoed by the White House. And it counters the Republican 'government takeover' message. Remove the insurance companies from between you and your doctor- capping what they can force you to pay in out-of-pocket expenses, co-pays and deductibles, and giving you the peace of mind you will be covered for the care you need, if get sick, or if you change or lose your job" (Soraghan, 7/30).
"House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer , D-Md., conceded that Democrats have been losing the message war over the legislation, as Republicans hammer away at its costs and claim it would lead to a 'government takeover' of health care," CQ Politics reports. Hoyer said, "We're responsible for putting together a plan, and so we've been focused on that Republicans have been somewhat free to conjure up whatever they want" (Roth, 7/31).
"This congressional recess, health care will be on the front lines," NPR reports. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., a top House Democrat, said "we want to make sure that we come out of August stronger on the health care reform message." Of course, so does the GOP. NPR adds: "The Republican National Committee plans to run radio ads in 60 districts in 33 states referring to health care changes as 'the dangerous experiment President Obama and the Democrats in Congress want,' and saying the Democrat proposals 'just can't be the right answer.' House Minority Leader John Boehner says Republicans are bringing the fight to the Democrats. 'I think it's safe to say that over the August recess, as more Americans learn more about their plan, they're likely to have a very very hot summer'" (Seabrook, 7/31).
"Outside groups, meanwhile, vowed to turn up the volume with television advertisements that have already dominated the airwaves in some states," USA Today reports. An outside analyst at the Campaign Media Analysis Group said, "I think you're probably going to start seeing a lot more pointed rhetoric. There will be a healthy clip (of spending) through August" (Fritze, 7/31).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.