Thursday, January 21, 2010

Inarticulate Democrats on Health Deform

Kaiser Health News reported:

As a candidate, Barack Obama promised to pass a health plan with important benefits for the average American. For the typical family, costs would go down by as much as $2,500 a year. Adults wouldn't be required to buy insurance. No one but the wealthy would face higher taxes.

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.

While the bill dragged on from summer to fall to winter, many leaves fell, including the public option. The public watched special interests and their Congressional lackeys cut sweetheart deals. By the New Year, people were disgusted with the likes of Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson, Max Baucus, Kent Conrad, and Mary Landrieu for acting like their Republican counterparts, gorging at the money trough.

Certainly, relentless attacks by the Republicans – as well as the Democrats' own inability to clearly articulate the benefits of the legislation – are partly responsible for the legislation's lack of popularity.

The Kaiser piece quoted two people with a personal stake in health reform, Gail Wilensky and Uwe Reinhardt, both on the board of for-profit health insurance companies. White House Health Czar Nancy-Ann DeParle called big pharma "our industry." Even the advisers look dirty.

That makes it particularly hard for Democrats to articulate.

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