Seeking Undecided Dems, Obama’s Latest Health Proposal Will Focus On Cost
The New York Times: "President Obama this week will begin a climactic push to rally restive Congressional Democrats to pass major health care legislation by hammering the argument that the costs of failure will be higher insurance premiums and lost coverage for individuals and businesses. ... he will contrast Democrats' proposals for expanding coverage and for regulating insurance company practices with what he sees as the shortcomings of the Republicans' incremental plans."
Administration officials are asking "business supporters to take what could be a final stand in favor of the Democrats' initiative," as well as seeking votes from Democrats who voted against the House version of the bill in November, many of them part of the fiscally-conservative Blue Dog Coalition. Under rules of reconciliation, Democrats are not likely to try to pass an entirely new bill. The process, "a legislative two-step," will be marked by changes in the Senate-passed measure that result from compromises with the House and White House (Calmes and Herszenhorn, 3/1).
The Associated Press: "At least nine of the 39 Democrats who voted 'nay' when the House passed sweeping overhaul legislation 220-215 in November are now undecided or withholding judgment until they see Obama's final product, according to an Associated Press survey. ... With four vacancies in the House, [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi will need 216 votes. She would command exactly that many if all the remaining Democrats who voted 'yes' in November did so again. But many lawmakers expect defections, especially of members who oppose federal funding for abortion and feel the Senate language is too permissive in that regard" (Werner, 3/2).
Reuters: When Obama details his plan later this week, his announcement will be marked by a discussion of both policy and process. "'In a matter of days, we will have a proposal,' Pelosi said in Denver, according to Fox News. 'It will be a much smaller proposal than we had in the House bill, because that's where we can gain consensus. But it will be big enough to put us on a path of affordable, quality healthcare for all Americans that holds insurance companies accountable.' An aide to Pelosi said Democrats were working to include more Republican ideas into the healthcare plan" (Zengerle, 3/1).
USA Today: "'I think the Republicans could decide not to filibuster, and that would be one way (to get the votes),' Gibbs said. But Senate Minority Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on CNN Sunday he expects all 41 members of the Republican caucus to oppose a Democratic-backed health care plan" (Jackson, 3/1).