Lobbyists Elbow For Attention As Health Reform Votes Loom
The conservative message on health care is that President Obama's revamp of the health care system in America will produce a costly government-run program that limits patient choice, The Associated Press reports.
"It's selling that view to the public that's tough. As the right drums up opposition to the plan, it is competing against an aggressive White House, a still-brawny Obama political operation and well-funded progressive groups that are using the Internet, television and other techniques to mobilize grass-roots support."
"Even as Congress holds initial votes on competing health care bills and special interests spend millions lobbying, liberals and conservatives are waging a less visible struggle for public support. The goal is motivating enough voters to express their views to sway wavering legislators. In many ways it's David and Goliath, with Goliath played by the still-popular Obama and his allies. They include Organizing for America, the Obama campaign organization now melded into the national Democratic Party, which has an e-mail list of reputedly up to 13 million names. The Republican National Committee is the closest thing conservatives have to the giant Organizing for America. But the GOP has yet to match the Democrats' reach or clout and has been distracted by earlier, unrelated dustups between party Chairman Michael Steele and conservatives including talk show host Rush Limbaugh" (Fram, 7/16).
But conservative groups are busy in their own camps trying to influence decisions on reform, The (Eureka, Calif.) Times Standard reports: " Humboldt Tea Party Patriots, the same group that staged a tax day protest, is hoping to get a group of opponents to government run health care to gather in front of North Coast (Calif.) Congressman Mike Thompson's office Friday to air their feelings of displeasure with the proposed legislation, which would cover tens of millions of uninsured Americans" (Greenson, 7/16).
In the meantime, a new poll finds Americans torn over health care, McClatchy/The Detroit Free Press reports. "On one key question, the poll found Americans split over the benefits of being able to buy insurance from a new government program. While 40% said they thought it would lower the quality of their care, 21% said it would improve the quality and 36% said it wouldn't make any difference. The rest had no opinion. The survey also found 38% saying the availability of government insurance would bring down their family's costs, 27% said it would raise their costs and 31% said it wouldn't make any difference. The poll found Americans almost evenly divided when they were asked to choose the primary goal for health care legislation, with 46% saying it should expand coverage and 44% saying it should control costs" (Thomma, 7/16).
The poll also found 91 percent of Americans support tax breaks for small business to help them provide insurance, while a majority oppose a national sales tax, a tax on soft drinks and a tax on employer-provided health insurance, The Dallas Morning News reports (7/16).