White House Changing Strategy to Sell Health Care Reform

Jonathan Weisman of The Wall Street Journal provided an update on health care reform yesterday.  Come September, the Obama administration will try to take control of the health care debate.  Doing so will not be easy, as Americans worried about the government overhaul continue to show up and protest the plan at their representatives’ town hall meetings.  The shifting strategy will include more speeches and less informal town hall style meetings. 

The public has been confused on the White House’s stance on the public option for the past couple of days.  Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, said over the weekend that the government option was not the central part of the bill.  In addition, President Obama indicated during a town hall meeting in Colorado that the public option might not be included in the final bill.  These statements created cause for concern amongst supporters of the public option. 

On Wednesday, the president will try to add an emotional appeal during a conference call with liberal religious groups.  Conservatives still say this bill has too much government control that a majority of Americans don’t want.  A senior Republican Senate aide said Obama has failed to convince Americans that they will benefit from his plan.  He also stressed the battle between Americans’ personal costs vs. ideals, and that ideals almost always lose. 

The Democrats are not giving in.  A Democratic strategist said, “If you are going to sell something as big and monumental and transformative as health care, you cannot get small with it.  You’ve got to be larger.  You’ve got to call on the better angels out there.”

Another point Weisman made is that during his presidential campaign, Obama scolded opponent Hillary Clinton for allying herself with Washington power brokers.  With the AARP and drug companies in favor of health reform, it seems as if Obama is the one signing up the special interests. 

Polling has been less than favorable to the proposed HR 3200 bill.  An NBC News poll released yesterday shows 41% in favor of the way Obama is handling health care reform, while a troubling 47% disapprove.  Now, only 21% want a complete overhaul of health care, down from 33% in April. 

How do you feel about the president’s handling of health care reform?

To read the entire Wall Street Journal article, click here: White House Rethinks How It Sells Health Overhaul