First Edition: January 21, 2010
Today's headlines reflect the idea that health reform stakeholders -- be it the White House, congressional Democrats or others -- are all trying to figure out how to proceed in this changed political landscape.
Why Public Support For Health Care Faltered
KHN staff writers note, "As a candidate, Barack Obama promised to pass a health plan with important benefits for the average American. But a year later, the health care proposals in Congress lack many of those easy-to-sell benefits, which became victims of the lengthy process of trying to win over wavering lawmakers, appeasing powerful special-interest groups and addressing concerns about the heavily burdened Treasury (Kaiser Health News).
Who Really Understands ObamaCare?
In his latest KHN column, John Goodman explores this question. "From the very moment public opinion started going south on the president's health plan, the White House and Democrat leaders in Congress began sounding a familiar refrain: The public does not understand the bill; they've been lied to, deceived and misled by the opponents; and once they learn how it really works, familiarity will breed...well, something other than contempt" (Kaiser Health News).
Democrats Reconsider Healthcare Possibilities
President Obama and congressional Democrats are rethinking their healthcare strategy in the wake of a Republican victory in the Massachusetts Senate race, giving serious consideration to abandoning the comprehensive approach in favor of incremental steps that might salvage key elements of the package (Los Angeles Times).
House Democrats Reluctant To Take Up Senate Health-Care Reform
Determined to enact a health-care reform bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi struggled Wednesday to sell the Senate version of the legislation to reluctant Democrats, even as party moderates raised doubts about forging ahead without bipartisan support (The Washington Post).
Obama Weighs Paring Goals For Health Bill
President Obama signaled on Wednesday that he might be willing to scale back his proposed health care overhaul to a version that could attract bipartisan support, as the White House and Congressional Democrats grappled with a political landscape transformed by the Republican victory in the Massachusetts Senate race (The New York Times).
Obama Retreats On Health
President Barack Obama suggested he's open to Congress passing a scaled-back health-care bill, potentially sacrificing much of his signature policy initiative as chaos engulfed Capitol Hill Wednesday (The Wall Street Journal).
White House Signaling New Direction On Healthcare Reform
President Barack Obama on Wednesday asked lawmakers to focus on the core elements of healthcare reform, with some interpreting his remarks as a call to scale back his top legislative priority (The Hill).
Democrats Discuss Pieces Of Smaller Health Bill
Democrats began talking Wednesday about pushing a smaller health care bill that can appeal to the political middle through Congress, following the loss of their crucial 60th Senate seat in the Massachusetts special election (The Associated Press/The Washington Post).
Dems Look Toward Scaled-Down Reform
Still reeling from Tuesday's Bay State shocker, White House aides began floating a scaled-down approach to salvage health reform Wednesday, with President Barack Obama calling for a quick consensus behind popular elements of the reform plan (Politico).
Health Care Faces Uncertain Future
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the Senate won't take action on health care legislation until the new GOP senator from Massachusetts takes his seat. But Democratic lawmakers are exploring other options, including budget reconciliation (NPR).
Despite Big Setback, Dems Say Healthcare Reform Is Not Dead
Congressional Democrats reeling from Tuesday's historic Senate special election are insisting that healthcare reform is not dead (The Hill).
Senate Loss Puts Burden On Nancy Pelosi
Tuesday's loss of the 60-vote Democratic Senate majority means Pelosi must shoulder the main burden of salvaging President Barack Obama's health care reform deal, even as she copes with an uprising among Democratic incumbents terrified by the far-reaching implications of the party's Massachusetts meltdown (Politico).
Health-Care Companies Scramble To Assess Shift
The Senate victory by Republican Scott Brown caught many health-care companies off guard, with a number of firms reiterating support Wednesday for a sector overhaul thrown into doubt by his win (The Wall Street Journal).
Another Health-Care Obstacle Awaits In States
Congressional Democrats are working to salvage their health-care overhaul. If they pull it off, Jon Caldara stands ready to derail them. [S]hould Democrats manage to get a bill through, Mr. Caldara intends to mobilize state voters to block it-at least within the confines of Colorado. Similar maneuvers are going on across the country, as opponents of the overhaul lay plans to use court challenges, state laws and ballot initiatives to unravel any bill that emerges from Congress (The Wall Street Journal).
GOP Win In Mass. Jolts Obama Plans
Not in decades has the election of a single new senator caused such an upheaval in the capital's political calculations (USA Today).
Massachusetts Result Puts Health Care At Risk
The aftershocks from the political earthquake in Massachusetts continued to reverberate in Washington on Wednesday. The stunning Republican victory in the U.S. Senate race has thrown Democrats off-guard and forced President Obama to recalibrate his agenda on health care (NPR).
Brown's Victory In Mass. Senate Race Hardly A Repudiation Of Health Reform
While many are describing the election to fill the late Edward M. Kennedy's Senate seat as a referendum on national health-care reform, the Republican candidate rode to victory on a message more nuanced than flat-out resistance to universal health coverage: Massachusetts residents, he said, already had insurance and should not have to pay for it elsewhere (The Washington Post).
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