Jul 16 2009
In President Obama's push for health reform, "new fault lines are opening up everywhere you look. Liberals are worried that Obama is going squishy on including a strong, government-run 'public option' among the health-care choices available to Americans.
Conservatives are warning that the legislation won't do enough to control health costs. Rural lawmakers are complaining that proposed Medicare cuts will fall too hard on their states," TIME reports. "And those are just the arguments going on among the Democrats. It's all a sign that the season for hard decisions has arrived. Obama continues to project an air of confidence about the most audacious undertaking of his presidency" (Tumulty, 7/16).
Bloomberg: "President Barack Obama may rely only on Democrats to push health-care legislation through the U.S. Congress if Republican resistance doesn't eventually give way, two of the president's top advisers said. 'Ultimately, this is not about a process, it's about results,' David Axelrod, Obama's senior political strategist, said during an interview yesterday in his White House office. 'If we're going to get this thing done, obviously time is a-wasting'" (Chen, 7/15).
The administration is "striking back" with "a double-barreled message for its critics and skeptics," Politico reports, lashing out at critics of the stimulus and running ads in conservative Democrats' home districts pushing health reform. "Organizing for America, President Barack Obama's campaign-in-waiting, launched ads in a handful of states aimed at pushing centrist Senate Democrats to get behind health care reform," Politico reports. On Wednesday, Obama also urged lawmakers to move quickly, saying the Senate HELP committee bill passage "provide(s) the urgency for both the House and the Senate to finish their critical work" (Martin, 7/16).
"But the president is still waiting on [Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont.,] to coax a bipartisan agreement out of his committee," Politico reports in a separate story. "Baucus, meanwhile, is taking a strict no-bill-before-its-time approach, locked in negotiations over how to piece together a politically palatable menu of tax increases to pay for a $1 trillion overhaul… [But] It doesn't mean he has to do it patiently." President Obama "summoned an unlikely group of GOP senators to the White House on Wednesday for a sit-down on health care. Bob Corker of Tennessee, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia were not on any list of potential Republican votes ... But Obama appeared to be laying the groundwork for future deal-making" (Brown and O'Connor, 7/15).
Houston Chronicle: "Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius acknowledged Wednesday that the health care reform process has been "a little messy," but she predicted that both the House and Senate will approve comprehensive reform proposals within a month" (Dunham, 7/15).
NPR: The White House's advertising effort includes "30-second ads featuring private citizens describing problems they've had with the medical system…" But, the Republican National Committee "has fought back with a fundraising appeal titled 'Hillarycare revisited'" (7/15).
This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.