Obama To Offer Details, Strive For Consensus In Upcoming Speech
"With President Obama poised to give a health-care address Wednesday before a joint session of Congress, administration officials promised that he will deliver a detailed prescription for reform despite the risks of spelling out exactly where he stands," the Washington Post reports. If the president spells out precisely which provisions he favors and opposes, he faces a political risk if those aspects of the plan don't come to fruition. However, aides said he would do just that (Kornblut, 9/4).
Separately, aides said he will focus on aspects of the plan that have bipartisan consensus, steering clear of controversial points, like the so-called public plan, the Boston Globe reports. Obama's health care adviser, Nancy-Ann DeParle, said, "I think the insurance market reforms are so deeply thought to be needed that I think the Congress would be willing to enact those apart from the increases in coverage" (Kranish, 9/4).
Officials, experts, opponents and allies are attempting to pull the president in all directions on the speech, the Wall Street Journal reports. Liberals threatened to vote against any proposal without a "robust public option," while conservatives plan a new ad insisting that "the proposals contain no guarantees to prevent government from rationing health care and creating long waits for treatment (Adamy, 9/4)."
Whatever he says, according to some experts, he will be facing souring public opinion and diminishing polling numbers, Bloomberg reports. "At the moment, except for the people without insurance, we're not in a health-care crisis. . . . You do need a crisis to generate movement in Congress and to help build a consensus," said one professor of government (Goldman and Johnston, 9/4).
Meanwhile, "the White House is urging congressional Democrats to stress the progress that has been made on legislation to overhaul health care and advising them to prepare for 'a new phase in the debate,' " CQ Politics reports. A memo circulated to Senate Democrats detailed goals for next week's speech and concludes, "After this speech, opponents of health reform will need to either propose their own plan or explain why they think it is best to do nothing while premiums crush American families and thousands lose their coverage every day (Hunter, 9/3)."This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.