Democrats Praise President’s SpeechThe Hill reports: "Despite months on intraparty bickering -- for one night at least -- Obama allowed nearly all congressional Democrats to believe he was speaking directly to them. Whether that solves one of the biggest problems Obama came before Congress to fix -- a Democratic Caucus in the House split passionately between those who believe that no healthcare bill is worth the trouble without a public plan and those who believe that such a public option is bad policy and worse politics -- remains to be seen."
"There was scant criticism of the president's speech, which seemed to be universally praised by Democrats for its passion, timeliness and message. But there was also an acknowledgement that, specifically in terms of the public option debate, that Obama once again walked the line. ... Other staunch supporters of the public option came away happy, even though Obama said he was open to ideas that supporters generally consider unacceptable, such as health cooperatives and systems in which the government-run plan is a fall-back option" (Allen, Soraghan and Rushing, 9/10).
Roll Call reports: "Moderate House Democrats expressed some wariness about Obama's push for a public insurance option, though he tempered his case by making clear he was open to other approaches. And despite those hedges, liberals who went into the speech looking for a strong statement in favor of the public plan said they came away satisfied. ... Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said that Obama put the public option in perspective and that members of the liberal Congressional Progressive Caucus shouldn't obsess over it."
"Not all Democrats were sold. Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), a member of the conservative Blue Dog Coalition and an opponent of the public plan, said he wasn't sure whether Obama was proposing a new bill or simply making the case for legislation already under development in Congress" (Newmyer, 9/9).
Meanwhile, the Boston Globe/Associated Press reports on Sen. Edward Kennedy's posthumous letter to Obama that "expressed confidence that a health care overhaul would pass this year" (9/9). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.