Video: Will the passage of health care hurt Congressional Democrats?

  1. Closed captioning of: Will the passage of health care hurt Congressional Democrats?

    >> on "the view." here with us now, washington editor, chris hayes joining the conversation. chris , good morning.

    >> good morning.

    >> so where do we start? how about david brooks , into the mire in the new york city "times." this this is obviously about health care , the big issue on thursday with this summit at the white house , as the year went on health care reform grew more unpopular. if if you average the last ten polls, 38% of voters support the reform plan and 53% oppose. obama's reform is more unpopular than bill clinton 's was as it d as the political cos as the political costs rose, members of congress squealed louder. congress congress is not a bastion of courage in the best of circumstances. when when it is asked to actually pay for its expenditures is verges on hysteria.

    >> chris hayes , should the democrats plow forward and try to pass a health care bill regardless of what the american people want?

    >> well, yes. i mean, is the short answer. first of all, those polls, if you break them down, a large part of the opposition or significant chunk of the opposition are liberals who don't feel the bill goes far enough? when you just look at independents they're split 50-50 on the bill. at this point, from the craft political calculation, they have already taken all the political hits. everyone in both houses have already voted for the bill. if they think they can, you know, get away from that, they're crazy. so, if you believe in the policy and you've already taken the political hit, then you should pass the bill.

    >> what do you think about that, mark? let's take central virginia , perry, a guy who will probably lose, does he vote for the health care a second time and --

    >> i disagree. i think the problem is not the democrats don't go far enough, is that the democrats they need are running away . let me quote susan, michael dukakis ' campaign manager. she says it's not a communication problem. what's wrong is people see country slimming in debt, job recovery lagging, see friends and neighbors not even hanging on and don't know how the administration will pay for a massive health care plan.

    >> go ahead, chris .

    >> just to inject a little bit of numbers in here, i mean, what we're talking about here, the projected cost of this is about $90 billion a year, all of which is paid for -- the cdo says it reduces the deficit in the long term. $90 billion is a lot of money but i was in washington with we passed the $750 billion t.a.r.p. bil we we routinely pass hundreds of millions to fight the wars we're fighting. our pentagon b our pentagon budget is $600 billion. in t in the context of what this government is doing, particularly when you consider the fact this is paid for, unlike medicare part d , it's a net deficit reducer. whether it's a messaging problem or not, that fact still stands.

    >> chris , the bottom line is the american people don't believe -- when we are swimming in debt -- that you're going to able to expand health care coverage to 30, 35 million american --

    >> didn't we just sayed, the more people know about it, the more supportive of it?

    >> i don't believe that's the truth. he here's the bottom line . at the beginning of the debate, this is all the proof you need, this has been an ideological mission and little more. at the beginning of this debate abc/ washington post poll showed 75% of americans liked their health care the way it was. now, i understand, i understand, that health care costs are not sustainable. bu but at the same time, when you started that number and then you understand that 90% of americans didn't miss a single payment on their mortgage, and yet the other big thing this government has done under george w. bush and barack obama , was a massive bailout for wall street to take care of people who didn't pay their mortgages, who defaulted, then you can see why guys like perry elo in central virginia are having a hard time explaining, okay, we're going to expand health care on away on the federal level the way it's never been expanded before. americans don't trust their federal government to solve problems anymore on this scale.

    >> they don't trust government to solve these problems, but i do think that the white house and democrats are hoping that democrats on the hill will jump in front of the bullet a second time because the benefits far outweigh the short-term hell they're going to take for pushing this through if they do it through reconciliation. so, you know, ending the ability of insurance companies to deny you coverage for preexisting conditions, there's things on premiums, things on rescissions. those things are things that immediately take effect immediately once that bill is passed. i think i think they're thinking, one it's passed and people who didn't have insurance suddenly get insurance, that things will turn around. but that's a big gamble.

    >> i keep hearing this argument that once we pass it, everything's going to be okay. no.

    >> no, i think

    >> no, i think they want to pass it --

    >> once you pass a bill -- hold on, let me finish. i'm not just talking about from you, but once we pass this, everything's going to be okay --

    >> i don't --

    >> mika, we hear it on this set every day. you know, if scott brown had not won, then the democrats would have passed this bill. obama would have been a genius. no. please, let me go against a guy that casts the deciding vote to increase taxes on america, to increase the federal government 's footprint in your private health care . please, god, give me that candidate. chris , chris , i hate to tell you, maybe where you live and maybe where we live, this would work with a congressman, but i can tell you -- you know --

    >> in the great white open, it's going to get ugly for democrats who support this bill.

    >> two points. one is that you go to congress to do things. if you believe in the fact that there are 30 -- you know, 30 million people out there, when you want to talk about where i live or you live, there are 30 million people in the country we live in that don't have health insurance right now. real people who are really suffering and our health care costs are unsustainable. if you believe that this is going to help fix that, then sometimes you take tough votes. if we lose something over it, that's the way it goes.

    >> chris , to that point -- we'll give you this -- i'll give you your second point after break. but one of the democrats ' biggest problems this year is they believe that they are on the side of the angels. that what they are doing is r if you are against if you are against this bill, somehow you just don't like the disadvantage as much as they do. the problem with the president's bill is, he gave trial lawyers a free pass. he gave the unions a free pass. he gave big pharma a big pass. he gave big hospitals a free pass. he gave all of his political allies a free pass. so, perhaps, perhaps, the angels are on the side of this bill, but make no mistake, they are all progresses.

updated 2/23/2010 4:11:40 PM ET 2010-02-23T21:11:40

Democratic congressional leaders confronted the reality Tuesday that they may not be able to pass the comprehensive health care overhaul sought by President Barack Obama. Republican leaders prepared to do everything in their power to make sure they can't.

Democrats saw the sweeping health bill that Obama unveiled ahead of a bipartisan health care summit Thursday as their last, best chance at a top-to-bottom remake of the nation's health care system that would usher in near-universal health coverage. But some were clear-eyed about the difficulties after a year of corrosive debate and the loss of their filibuster-proof supermajority in the Senate.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said comprehensive reform would be best but it's not all or nothing.

"We may not be able to do all. I hope we can do all, a comprehensive piece of legislation that will provide affordable, accessible, quality health care to all Americans," Hoyer said at his weekly media briefing. "But having said that, if we can't, then you know me — if you can't do a whole, doing part is also good. I mean there are a number of things I think we can agree on."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was a bit more optimistic about the prospects for Obama's plan.

"I think it is getting a good reception in our caucus, but nonetheless we have more work to do to have everyone on board," she said.

“This bill is not an earth-shaking bill, but it’s a decent bill,” Howard Dean said on "Hardball with Chris Matthews." Dean, former chair of the Democratic National Committee, has stated that previous versions of the health care bill wouldn’t bring real reform.

Republican leaders said they would attend the summit but see no point in the session, arguing that Obama and the Democrats are determined to ram their comprehensive bill through Congress using special parliamentary rules.

"We're happy to be there, but I'm not quite sure what the purpose is," said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who invited some of Obama's fiercest critics to join him Thursday, including the president's 2008 rival, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

Video: Lawmakers prep for health reform summit

Senate Republicans also rejected the White House plea for a simple up-or-down vote on Obama's health care plan, indicating they would offer hundreds of amendments to stop the legislation.

  1. Other political news of note
    1. Animated Boehner: 'There's nothing complex about the Keystone Pipeline!'

      House Speaker John Boehner became animated Tuesday over the proposed Keystone Pipeline, castigating the Obama administration for not having approved the project yet.

    2. Budget deficits shrinking but set to grow after 2015
    3. Senate readies another volley on unemployment aid
    4. Obama faces Syria standstill
    5. Fluke files to run in California

Insurance market reforms like barring insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions would be difficult or impossible to pull off without a large risk pool achieved by a requiring nearly everyone to be insured. Smaller measures could be done individually, such as money for insurance pools to provide coverage to people with health problems.

Obama's new plan used legislation already passed by the Senate as its starting point, making changes designed to appeal to House Democrats. He unveiled it Monday almost exactly a year after calling on Congress to act to reform the nation's costly an inefficient health care system. Majority Democrats were on the verge of meeting the challenge before Republican Scott Brown's upset win in a Massachusetts Senate seat last month.

Brown's win underscored the perilous political environment for Democrats in an election year, but Obama didn't scale back his ambitions, opting for one last attempt at full-scale legislation. It costs around $1 trillion over a decade, requires nearly everyone to be insured or pay a fine, and puts new requirements on insurance companies, including — in a new twist responding to recent rate hikes — giving the federal government authority to block big premium increases.

If Obama fails on a comprehensive health care overhaul where Bill Clinton and other presidents failed before him, the chance won't come around again anytime soon.

The whole endeavor will now rise or fall on Obama's ability to sell his plan at the summit, and the reaction from lawmakers and the public in the days ahead.

Some rank-and-file Democrats were openly skeptical that the White House and congressional leaders could pull it off. Rep. Jason Altmire, D-Pa., a moderate who opposed the health legislation when it passed the House, questioned whether Pelosi could hang on to the votes that allowed her to get the bill through 220-215 in November. Since then a couple of Democrats have left the House, and Pelosi may also lose votes from anti-abortion Democrats who oppose the less restrictive abortion language in the Senate bill, which Obama kept in his plan.

Only 32 percent of Americans say Congress should move soon to pass a comprehensive bill, embodied in the House and Senate Democratic legislation and Obama's new plan. That was the finding of a poll released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. Americans were evenly divided on the legislation, in a 43-43 percent split.

Most still want Congress to pass something this year, and 58 percent say they'll be disappointed or angry if that doesn't happen. But 20 percent say lawmakers should pass a scaled-back bill, and 22 percent say it would be a good idea to call a time-out on health care and come back later in the year.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments