Thursday, September 24, 2009

Three from "The Hill" on Pelosi, Reid and Obama

"Dem campaign anxiety: Vulnerables say they lack cover from Pelosi."
Between a tough vote on a climate change bill that many don’t expect to become law and a leftward push on healthcare legislation, Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) critics within her caucus say she’s left the so-called “majority makers” exposed.

“She keeps trying to push an unpopular package,” said Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), a centrist Blue Dog Democrat, referring to healthcare. “I think it’s fair to say they were better at it before.”
"Reid picks his battles on health."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is keeping a brutal fight with the insurance industry out of the broader healthcare debate, mindful that including it could sink President Barack Obama’s signature domestic priority.

Reid (D-Nev.), who will play a key role crafting the final Senate healthcare overhaul in the next few weeks, is excluding a proposal to repeal a loophole that exempts health insurance companies from federal antitrust laws.
"The stakes for Obama."
So we have a president who is generally liked but who is not thought to have accomplished much yet. His major achievement, economic stimulus, is not given credit for working. There is little confidence his healthcare plan will improve the quality of care Americans receive. He faces tough fights ahead over energy policy and financial reform. The president needs to win one, and his only shot is healthcare. He needs something that looks like reform to provide some policy heft to his general popularity and give him some leverage to deal other critical issues. Congressional Democrats need to set aside their internal bickering and settle on a simple package that gives Americans what they really want: insurance reform that guarantees coverage no matter pre-existing conditions, coverage that is affordable and coverage you can keep if you change or lose your job. Americans say that’s what they want, and if the president gives it to them, he’ll earn their confidence as well as their affection.

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