Podesta Says Obama White House ‘Lost The Narrative’ On Health Bill
"John Podesta, the president of the Center for American Progress who led Barack Obama's presidential transition, acknowledges the White House has been unable to successfully drive the debate on health care reform," Politico reports. "'They lost the narrative,' Podesta told the Financial Times. 'They lost the perspective of how all of the activity they were engaged in was knit together.' Podesta, who was also chief of staff in Bill Clinton's White House, said voters "have become discouraged by seeing 'no spirit in which people were having a reasonable conversation' during the health care debate and from 'the last twist and turns on health care, the special deals that had to be made in the Senate to get the 60 votes'" (Barr, 2/15).
The video interview with Podesta can be found on the Financial Times.
ABC News reports: "As Democrats and Republicans sharpen their knives ahead of President Obama's summit on health care, experts are questioning whether the president's health care agenda is doomed to fail just as President Clinton's did in the 1990's. 'If I had to place a bet on it, I would say two to one, it doesn't [pass],' said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and a proponent of health care reform. 'But it's not an absurd idea. It could happen.' ... Some health care experts say bringing the debate out in the open [at the Feb. 25 summit] when talks haven't even really begun does not bode well for the future of health care overhaul. 'I don't think this is the right way to get that kind of dialogue taking place,' said Stuart M. Butler, vice president of domestic and economic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. 'All this will do is lead to political sound bites and not much else, in my opinion'" (Khan, 2/15).
The Associated Press explores how the recent price increase announced by a California insurer -- which was postponed after a state and federal officials objected -- is at the heart of the health care overhaul debate. "To critics, a 39 percent hike in health insurance for some Californians foretells skyrocketing rates for the rest of us. Not so, says the company, arguing the increase only hits a relatively small number of people and the economy is to blame. But the rhetoric from both sides distorts the reality. ...
Raise prices, and people without insurance are even less likely to buy it - healthy people especially. Meanwhile, older and sicker customers pay more and more, running up high health bills in a shrinking pool. That conundrum is at the heart of a disagreement that has frozen Democratic health reform efforts in Congress. Reform bills would require most of the uninsured to buy coverage, an idea many Americans detest as heavy-handed government" (Geller, 2/15).
In another report, the Associated Press explores "how some major groups would fare if the health care overhaul collapses and present trends continue unchecked" (Alonso-Zaldivar, 2/14) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.