Obama Prepares To Sell Health Care Plan; Dems, GOP Strategize On Next Steps
President Barack Obama is moving quickly to explain and sell his health reform package to the American public, hoping he can move public opinion.
The Los Angeles Times: "President Obama spent 14 months getting to this moment, but aides said Monday that he wouldn't spend much time savoring it. He plans an aggressive campaign to clarify what the bill does and try to deflect a Republican counter-assault. ... Healthcare is likely to be a dominant campaign issue in the November midterm elections, putting pressure on the White House to make the case for the bill and defend Democrats who voted for it. Part of his aim is to neutralize opponents who have cast the bill as an expensive government takeover of healthcare. If voters accept that caricature, Democrats will have an even tougher time staving off losses in the midterm elections" (Nicholas and Parsons, 3/23).
Reuters: "Democrats and Republicans see ways to gain a political advantage from a healthcare overhaul that passed narrowly in the House of Representatives. ... Democrats are focusing on the popular aspects of the bill -- like ending medical insurer's ability to cut off coverage to people with pre-existing conditions -- to make the case that all Americans stand to gain, not just those currently without insurance. ... Republicans are zeroing in on the costs of the $938 billion legislation and raising questions about whether a new government entitlement can truly be paid for simply by increasing taxes on the wealthy. ... Indeed, Americans are even confused about it after a year-long debate. A CBS News poll found only 29 percent of Americans believe the overhaul will make the system better, while 34 percent said it would make it worse and 28 percent said they were not sure" (Holland, 3/22).
Politico: "Republicans, right now, can feel they're on the side of the voters, who polls show simply don't like the overarching bill. A CNN poll Monday showed 59 percent of voters oppose the reform bill passed by the House late Sunday, compared with 39 percent who support it. Republicans are betting that a scorched-earth 'no way, no how' campaign - replete with calls for congressional repeal and legal challenges in the states - makes sense to voters, even though some are probably nowhere near as angry as the conservative tea party protesters who made their presence felt at the Capitol during the weekend.