Obama, Democrats Walking Fine Line On Health Overhaul
Various media outlets examined how negotiations for a bipartisan health care overhaul are facing challenges from Democrats as well as Republicans.
Washington Post: "In the high-stakes battle over health care, a growing cadre of liberal activists is aiming its sharpest firepower against Democratic senators who they accuse of being insufficiently committed to the cause ... The rising tensions between Democratic legislators and constituencies that would typically be their natural allies underscore the high hurdles for Obama as he tries to hold together a diverse, fragile coalition."
"Activists say they are simply pressing for quick delivery of 'true health reform,' but the intraparty rift runs the risk of alienating centrist Democrats who will be needed to pass a bill. In recent days -- and during this week's congressional recess -- left-leaning bloggers and grass-roots organizations such as MoveOn.org, Health Care for America Now and the Service Employees International Union have singled out Democratic Sens. Ben Nelson (Neb.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Ron Wyden (Ore.), Arlen Specter (Pa.) and Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) for the criticism more often reserved for opposition party members." (Connolly, 6/28)
Reuters: "President Barack Obama's drive to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system may be back on track thanks to Senate efforts to cut the price tag to $1 trillion, but a bipartisan deal on the sweeping proposal still is far from certain ... Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus was upbeat last week after announcing that panel members had found ways to bring the price tag to about $1 trillion over 10 years, down from an earlier estimate of a staggering $1.6 trillion ... Instead, the core group of negotiators -- three Democrats and four Republicans -- issued a tepid statement on Thursday merely affirming their commitment to continue negotiations."
"Several Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have been speaking out daily in opposition to Obama's healthcare ideas. They are expected to continue the effort in July when Democratic leaders hope a bill will be ready for Senate consideration. 'We have some problems with access and with cost which can be addressed without wrecking the best healthcare system in the world,' McConnell said on 'FOX News Sunday'" (Smith, 6/28).
CNN: "President Obama is a pretty good persuader, but he's been having a hard time selling his health care reform plan. His health care town hall meeting on ABC last Wednesday drew dismal ratings, garnering fewer viewers than a rerun of CSI: New York (and drawing gleeful responses from many of his non-fans). Meanwhile, some of his putative allies in the Democratic party have been sniping away at the plan, and negotiators in the senate have been slashing costs by lopping off some of the plan's most progressive elements, like subsidies for lower-income Americans to help them afford to buy insurance" (Futrelle, 6/28).
McClatchy/Kansas City Star: leads today by saying: "Despite the strains of sky-high costs and public skepticism, the government is moving steadily toward a vast health care overhaul," but adds: "The votes? Probably. The details? Not quite yet. Two big questions still loom: How will the government pay for insurance for the 50 million people now uninsured, and will the government offer its own insurance to compete with 1,300 private insurance companies in hopes of driving down costs?" (Thomma and Lightman, 6/28).