Politico Series Examines Health Care Reform EffortPolitico on Sunday published a series of articles examining congressional health reform efforts. Summaries appear below.
- Key players: Politico examined five people "you may have never heard of who could affect the course of health care reform." Among the five people are Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf; Dennis Rivera, head of health care at the Service Employees International Union; Liz Fowler, a senior aide to Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and director of the committee's health care staff; and Earl Devaney, the person tasked with reducing fraud and waste in the stimulus package. The last person, according to Politico, is the "storyteller," a person sought by interest groups "who can sear the American conscience with personal stories" (Budoff Brown , Politico, 5/3).
- President Obama: The domestic issue Obama has "staked his presidency on" is health care reform and in the coming weeks, he "will learn whether he's defied the odds and is on a path toward victory," Politico reports. In an effort to get health reform passed within his first year in office, Obama and his administration are "laying a firmer political and intellectual foundation for the debate than in past efforts and implementing an aggressive behind-the-scenes effort to keep the issue on track," according to Politico (Cummings, Politico, 5/3).
- Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.): Kennedy, who popularized the idea of universal health care 40 years ago, is "still chasing that elusive goal," but his own battle with brain cancer is "lending a dose of urgency to finally finish what he started," Politico reports (Budoff Brown , Politico, 5/3). According to Politico, Kennedy's thus far successful cancer treatment "has given new ammunition to his long-standing claim that every American should have access to the same top-notch care as the rich and powerful" (Canellos, Politico, 5/3).
- Television advertisements: Unlike in 1994 when the "Harry and Louise" television ads helped "doom" the Clinton administration's reform efforts, the majority of health care reform ads are now in support of an overhaul and are a way for different stakeholders to get a seat at the table, Politico reports. According to the Campaign Media Analysis Group, special interest groups, candidates and others spent $538 million on health reform ads in 2007 and 2008, compared with $20 million in 1994. However, Politico reports that "the time of mostly feel-good messaging is now drawing to a close as lawmakers get closer to introducing legislation that will have real-world consequences for the stakeholders" (Frates, Politico, 5/3).
Five key players in health care reform efforts published opinion pieces in Politico on Sunday. Headlines for the pieces appear below.
- Baucus, "'Crisis' Not Too Strong a Word" (Baucus, Politico, 5/3).
- Former Gov. Howard Dean (D-Vt.), "Technology Is Key to Health Reform" (Dean, Politico, 5/3).
- Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), "With Bipartisanship, Reform Is Possible" (Grassley, Politico, 5/3).
- Kennedy, "Now Is the Time for Health Care Reform" (Kennedy, Politico, 5/3).
- Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), "To Reform Health Care, Create a Real Marketplace" (Price, Politico, 5/3).