Obamacare

Democratic Pollster on Health Care: "We need to go out and sell this plan and sell it aggressively."

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That's Democratic pollster Mark Mellman in today's National Journal, saying, essentially, that now that Democrats have forced people to swallow this BFD, they need to convince people that they like it, too.

No doubt the better-late-than-never theory, in which the bill becomes beloved post-passage, helps some anxious Democrats sleep better at night. But the notion that President Obama and Democratic leadership are, after all this time, finally going to convince the public that ObamaCare is a good idea is a sharp reminder that the bill's passage is as much a potential political predicament as victory. Here's more from the NJ piece:

"Failure would have been a disaster. But passing this bill isn't necessarily a big help, other than avoiding a disaster," [Democratic pollster Mark] Mellman said. "Let's be honest. People are not sitting there with very positive impressions of this bill. They don't know much about what is in it, and they have a lot of misconceptions. They don't know a lot about the positives that are in there."

Clearly, inside the White House there is acknowledgement that Republicans outmaneuvered Democrats in the weeks after the stimulus bill passed and did a better job of defining for the public what was in that bill. To many voters, the stimulus package was unpopular bailouts, calling for too much spending and creating too few jobs.

The White House is determined to learn from that experience.

Tribbles. Health care. Whatever.

This strikes me as a good reminder of what a risky bet Democrats made. In passing the health care bill, a major Democratic assumption was that the public would eventually warm up to the plan, a belief that was predicated on the dubious idea that the public didn't really understand the bill, but would like it once they did.

No doubt public understanding was not as deep as most wonks wished. But there was reasonably good evidence to be skeptical of any claim that they were totally ignorant: Surveys showed public awareness of the bill's key provisions—yes, even those likely to be most popular—was pretty strong relative to other political knowledge. Surveys also showed that the top reasons for opposing the bill were the individual mandate and the overall cost—pretty much exactly the reasons you'd expect them to be opposed. Public opinion is notoriously difficult to pin down with real certainty, but the implication, I think, was fairly clear: A majority of the public was aware of the bill's costs—and didn't think they were worth the benefits.

Where public opinion goes from here is, as always, tough to predict; already, the results are somewhat conflicted. Monday's CNN poll put opposition to the bill at 59 percent and Pollster.com's average still shows the public opposed 50.5 percent to 41.5 percent, but USA Today/Gallup's post-vote snapshot reports an uptick in potential support: "By 49%-40%," it reads, "those polled say it was 'a good thing' rather than a bad one that Congress passed the bill." A post-passage poll bump isn't surprising, but how long will it last? If the stimulus example the National Journal piece uses is any indication, it may not last long: The stimulus didn't become unpopular simply because of the perception of the bill; it became unpopular because of the reality of the bill, which cost a lot of money but, for most people, didn't result in a lot of clear benefit. It wasn't a messaging problem; it was a failure to deliver results.

Are ObamaCare supporters arguing for the plan's merits on better footing now than before the bill was passed? They sure seem to think so. But when reality starts to sink in on the health care bill—reality that's likely to include an endless onslaught of court challenges and tough campaign rhetoric as well as the eventual imposition of a health insurance mandate and significantly higher taxes for millions of Americans—how long will any post-vote opinion bump last?

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  1. You know what I like best about aggressive salespeople? Slamming them to the ground and breaking their arm. Sold!

  2. Now that’s good psychology – first, piss off most of the country by passing a bill they didn’t like, and then having alienated them, try to convince them they like it. I’m sure the public will be receptive to that!

  3. They don’t like you, Mr. Obama. I wonder why?

    Heartbeat is all wrong… his body temperature is ? Jim, this man is a socialist!

    1. Didn’t spend too much time on the costumes did they?

      1. No money, sage. If you watch Mission: Impossible (shot at the same studio), you’ll note a lot of shared props, sets, and guest stars. Heck, even stars, for that matter.

    2. So that’s where Erykah Badu got that idea.

      /way out of date cultural reference

      1. But I got it. So it wasn’t in vain.

        1. Or “in vein” in internets speak.

          And I got it too.

          1. You’re so vein.

      2. I don’t get it.

    3. The guy in the chamber looks like RAHM EMMANUEL!!!

      WTF!!!111!!1

  4. “how long will any post-vote opinion bump last?”

    It only has to last until November. Then they will have a blank check for Cap and Theft, VAT, Card Check and the inevitable single payer fix. By the country can do anything about it in 2012, it will be too late.

    Yes, November is that important.

    1. I can’t wait for the VAT discussion. It’s past time the Euro tax travesty be exposed. And by then, perhaps the EU will be a little smaller.

    2. There’s my depressing moment of the day.

      Come November, Democrats retain enough seats to push through their laundry list of socialist programs while the economy is still dragging and unemployment still remains at 10%. A massive crisis erupts with Iran/Venezuela/North Korea/(insert basket case regime here) and the US gets whacked again by some psycho. Except this time our economy isn’t strong enough to shake it off nor do we have a president who will respond aggressively abroad and domestically by cutting taxes to stimulate the economy.

      Thus endeth the great American Experiment.

      1. Nah.

        The more likely scenerio will be that the Republicans take the House in a massive landslide, then out of the word works a ‘right wing psycho’ happens to kill a bus load of school children.

        The MSM will say that the rhetoric and the hate rhetoric has gone too far. The Republicans cower in fears of the next bus attack, and pass Canadian style hate speech laws, and a return of the fairness doctrine.

        They are also forced to nominate as their majority leader Nancy Pelosi’s psychic sister her claims to evoke Bob Michel from the grave for all of her decisions (to which he responds, ‘but I’m not dead!’).

        Soon after all of this happens, Brian Dohetry runs a piece titled, ‘Qui Bono? about the bus bombing, and this leads to him being frog walked his office, the folding of the Reason Foundation, and Congress outlawing the usage of Latin for all public corespondence.

        1. Proofread this shit next time, dickhead.

        2. God, that one could have used a preview before hitting submit. I didn’t realize it was anywhere near that lengthy so i didn’t bother.

          1. That was not in answer to you, fuckface. Pay me first, and then we’ll talk.

            1. To two above, now at three above.

                1. I warned you once, little man.

                  1. alan|3.24.10 @ 2:08PM|#

                    Dude. Did you really just get onto me about editing? There is a reason (drink!) we don’t do that here. It is called Joez Law.

                    It’s a motherfucker when it hits you. You are tempting fate big time.

  5. Those who hate this bill need to focus on all the mandates and backroom buyoffs that are in there to get it passed. It needs to be painted as a corrupt bill created by a corrupt process and anything but health care reform. There is very little reform and mostly buy offs. In fact, we should stop calling it reform.

    1. But John, now that it’s the law they’ll fix all the bad parts.

      1. That is right. This is just a first step. I saw Sieblus (or whatever the hell the HHS Secretary’s name is) on TV on Monday morning saying that she hoped Republicans would cooperate in fixing this bill. Why the fuck does it need fixes? You spent a year passing it and you have the majority.

        1. Why? because it’s like bad software that needs an emergency patch on the day of it’s release – or like a new car that can’t get out of the dealer’s lot before it need repairs.

          We need a lemon law for lemon laws.

          1. ObamaCare: The Windows Me of legislation.

            1. What? You don’t like nearly blank blue screens with plain white text descriptions of the crash that just occurred? What is wrong with you? You probably expect to be able to keep multiple aps running simultaneously. Jeez, people with their spoiled expectations. No wonder Obama had to reform healthcare.

      2. Republicans ought to vote “Present” on any and all “fixes” to this bill. They ought to reinforce the understanding that this chapter of Hope and Change is exclusively the work of Obama and the Democrat Party.

  6. I think this is a major mistake, as is sending Obama on the road to talk about health care. How can continuing to talk about something that has destroyed your party, and inviting lots and lots of footage of people protesting the President, be good for the Dems?

    Going on and on about how good it was for them isn’t going to make the public feel better about having to swallow this load. They need to do something else, pronto, to get that awful ammonia taste out of the public’s mouth.

    1. I hope you are right. But if you read the liberal trolls they honestly seem to think this thing is popular. Those Congress critters didn’t vote for it out of principle. They voted for it because they honestly think it is going to make them popular. They think they are going to win because of this. And (pray to God) they don’t, they are going to be shocked, bitter and angry come next November. It is going to be ugly.

      1. They’ll be bitter and angry, and won’t even have guns, religion, and small town life to cling to. Perhaps harnessing Inchoate Progressive Rage will be the new Green Energy.

    2. Perhaps a major speech by Obama is needed.

      1. Not possible. TOTUS yanked itself straight off its stand, burned out from that moron’s idiocy.

    3. The great thing about ObamaCare is the name itself. He owns this turkey. Can one American out of a million recite the bill’s actual title? The other two great domestic programs of the 20th Century–Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid–don’t have the sponsoring president’s name attached. This one does.

    4. Yeah, a dumb idead. If the Democrats stop talking about it, people will have forgotten by election time.

    5. Oh how we loves us some ass raping.

  7. “By 49%-40%,” it reads, “those polled say it was ‘a good thing’ rather than a bad one that Congress passed the bill.”

    I’ve seen wigged out conservatives say it was a good thing because they think it will galvanize Republicans in the next election, which is twisted logic, but it may explain some of that weirdness…

    I have to say, myself, I think it could ultimately be a positive thing if this spurs Republicans to become the party of Goldwater and Reagan again–a coalition against the New Deal and Great Society…

    Instead of the launching pad for a stupid culture war like it was under Bush the Lesser.

    1. Instead of the launching pad for a stupid culture war like it was under Bush the Lesser.

      Too much spending, certainly, but exactly how much “culture war” was launched? Pitiful rearguard actions by the FCC and FBI that didn’t stop porn, violence, and everything else from being more freely available than at any previous time? The federal government refusing to spend money on a particular type of research, but allowing private funding and state funding to do so?

      1. Puh-lease!

        What about the Culture of Death v. the Culture of Life?

        What about using Gay Marriage as a wedge and to drive culture warriors to the polls?

        What about a Yale graduate President whose central appeal consisted of talking like Billy Gibbons in “La Grange”?

        Does the term Red State/Blue State or “flyover country” mean anything to you?

        I’ll take a party that rails against The New Deal over a party that rails against latte swilling liberals every single time!

        …did they really think I cared that much about lattes?!

        1. Arugula: Never Forget!!

        2. What about a Yale graduate President whose central appeal consisted of talking like Billy Gibbons in “La Grange”?

          Dude. Show some respect for Billy Gibbons. Bush never came within a mile of sounding as cool as that.

          1. Does the term Red State/Blue State or “flyover country” mean anything to you?

            I’ll take a party that rails against The New Deal over a party that rails against latte swilling liberals every single time!

            I was thinking for a second that that was a good point, but then I remembered that Tom Franks is member of the liberal establishment in good standing, and my blood pressure raised all over again. The willful ignorance displayed in the very title of his screed alone against Kansas bugs the fuck out of me before you even get into the thrice warmed over Marxist false conscious polemic. So ‘fly over country’ as a complaint about the liberal view of those inhabiting the landmass between New York/Washington and LA sounds pretty accurate.

        3. What about a Yale graduate President whose central appeal consisted of talking like Billy Gibbons in “La Grange”?

          And for other people that was their primary reason for disliking him.

          And people voted for Obama for the same stupid reasons. In fact, most people seem to vote on personality, not policy. Libertarians included.

          Does the term Red State/Blue State or “flyover country” mean anything to you?

          Nothing in terms of policy.

          I’ll take a party that rails against The New Deal over a party that rails against latte swilling liberals every single time!

          I’ll take a party that does nothing over one that actually does something.

        4. So you agree that Bush achieved very little in culture war/social conservatism other than riling some people up (both for and against him), but quite a lot of economic liberalism?

          Isn’t that what I said?

        5. I’ll take a party that rails against The New Deal over a party that rails against latte swilling liberals every single time!

          There are not enough libertarians for that to be a winning political strategy. The choices are:

          1) Move Left economically.
          2) Move Right economically, also pass social conservative things, or
          3) Move Right economically, but use sound and fury to stir up cultural conservatives without actually passing anything of note that’s socially conservative.

          Exactly why am I supposed to be so upset about Option 3, instead of the “moving Left economically” Option 1 which was also practiced?

      2. I mean, if Bush the Lesser had spent even a little bit of time railing against Great Society programs like Medicare–instead of expanding them–we might not be in the mess we’re in now!

        1. I mean, if Bush the Lesser had spent even a little bit of time railing against Great Society programs like Medicare–instead of expanding them–we might not be in the mess we’re in now!

          True, we’d be in the second term of President Kerry, and nationalized health care or at least a bill similar to this one would have passed four years ago, so we’d be talking about something else.

          Bush did spend a lot of time trying to reform Social Security and limit its growth rate to inflation. That was horribly unpopular and tied up on Congress on filibusters.

          The Republicans also attemped to pass some tiny limits in Medicare growth, which were promptly called utterly savage cuts and bottled up in the Senate.

    2. What if there was a culture war, and no one showed up?

      Oh, wait . . . .

  8. Actually, tribbles are a pretty good metaphor for federal entitlements, aren’t they?

    1. They appear nice at first, voraciously eat everything in sight, and are impossible to get rid of.

      Yeah, not a bad analogy.

      1. They appear nice at first, voraciously eat everything in sight, and are impossible to get rid of.

        You guys really need to date a better class of women.

        1. Yeah – it’s the last time I answer a Jezebel personal ad.

          1. THE THING THAT WOULDN’T LEAVE

          2. At least you didn’t try Feministing personals.

            1. I don’t know that feministing has ads for hetero males, unless you include “targets”.

              1. They did but they had to shut them down over the liability issues that arose when people started answering ads only to meet a cross dressing Steve Smith.

      2. I am going to use that. Nice.

    2. Well the nearest thing that I can figure is that these entitlements are born pregnant -? which appears to be quite a time-saver!

      1. Why does it not surprise me that so many of us who hang out here are all too familiar with Trek lore?

        (cough)nerds(cough)(ahem)

    3. What, you think that picture was chosen *accidentally*?

      I wonder which one is the Trek geek: Suderman, McArdle, or both. I’m thinking McArdle is the type who might have ‘set her phasers to stun’ back in the day.

      1. I wonder if they wear Trek outfits when exchanging carnal knowledge?

  9. “By 49%-40%,” it reads, “those polled say it was ‘a good thing’ rather than a bad one that Congress passed the bill.”

    I (and others in H&R) have discussed ways in which polls are often flawed. Here we go again. A “reason”able interpretation of ‘a good thing’ is ‘at last we can get this BFD into the courts’.

  10. Bump will end when insurance rates continue to rise and the cost goes over budget.

    1. Medicare’s costs are way over budget. Try getting people to run against that.

  11. they need to convince people that they like it

    I’m so proud (sniff). So, so proud. (Wipes away tear).

  12. Well the nearest thing that I can figure is that these entitlements are born pregnant -? which appears to be quite a time-saver!

    Already pregnant, and still they fuck us.

  13. So, political strategy wise is it a good idea for the GOP to kill off the reconciliation so that the law is one even the democrats hate?

    I say so, but I dont think like normal people.

    1. The current strategy is to try to attach an amendment to the bill that would force the reconciliation part back to the House for another round.

      The GOP can’t kill the bill in the Senate. It only takes a simple majority.

      1. One amendment will be to fix the botch the Dems made of their signature issue –

        Apparently, that “no pre-existing exclusions for the cute widdle kiddies” clause doesn’t actually prevent insurance companies from excluding children with pre-existing conditions.

        1. Well, not until 2014. It’s the separate provision for now until 2014 that’s written so poorly, as I understand it.

          1. Just so, John. But the interim provision is the one the Dems were trumpeting as an immediate benefit, and counting on to insulate them through November.

      2. Offer amendments to privatize the exchanges, lower mandatory minimums, eliminate the individual mandate, reduce the subsidies, etc.

    2. Offer amendments to privatize the exchanges, lower mandatory minimums, eliminate the individual mandate, reduce the subsidies, etc.

    3. Offer amendments to privatize the exchanges, lower mandatory minimums, eliminate the individual mandate, reduce the subsidies, etc.

    4. With some strategic amendments, the Repubs may be able to peal off enough democrats to make some real changes. Amendments only require 51 in reconciliation, unlike the 60 underregular rules. Then the house will be stuck voting on those changes, or letting the senate version stand as law.

  14. People keep asking where should we move to if this stuff continues. Well, it looks like Iraq might be a better option. No kidding.

    This is probably bad news for California, but it is certainly good news for Iraq:

    Traditional Wall Street investors have taken note. Iraq is now considered a safer bet than Argentina, Venezuela, Pakistan, and Dubai ? and is nearly on par with the State of California, according to Bloomberg statistics on credit default swaps, which are considered a raw indicator of default risk.

    “Compared to California, I’d rather bet on Iraq,” Daher said. “Iraq is a country where there are still bombs going off and people getting murdered, but they are less indebted than the United States. California is likely to have more demands on its resources, and there is no miracle where California is going to have more revenue coming out of the sky. Iraq has prospects for tremendously higher revenues, if they can manage to get their act halfway together, which they seem to be doing.”

    And no this is not a threadjack to have the one millionth thread about Iraq. But it does say something about American liberal policies that California is now on par with Iraq fiscally.

    1. Might as well include the link, my friend.

  15. “By 49%-40%,” it reads, “those polled say it was ‘a good thing’ rather than a bad one that Congress passed the bill.”

    Maybe they were just relieved our ruling class was finally going to shut the fuck up about health care, and “do something” about the 17% U-6 already (not that the economic ignoramuses in Washington will do anything but exacerbate the problem).

    God damn these doubling down, haranguing motherfuckers. I’d rather eat glass than listen to one more fucking word from these evil fucking clowns about fucking health care!

  16. Hre’s what sucks. Last night on The News Hour, they interviewed a pro-ObamaCare expert and she said when all is said and done, there will still be more than 20 million uninsured Americans. So we went through all of this shit and and are spending trillions of dollars to cocer about 12 million people. Pathetic.

    1. Hre’s what sucks. Last night on The News Hour, they interviewed a pro-ObamaCare expert and she said when all is said and done, there will still be more than 20 million uninsured Americans. So we went through all of this shit and and are spending trillions of dollars to cocer about 12 million people. Pathetic.

      And they include sex offenders.

    2. Dude. Did you really just get onto me about editing? There is a reason (drink!) we don’t do that here. It is called Joez Law.

  17. I’m thinking maybe the smart move would be a “comprehensive” repeal and replace.

    Repeal the Obamacare bill in toto. Get rid of Medicare and Medicaid while you’re at it.

    Replace the whole godawful mess with insurance vouchers that are sufficient to cover a bare minimum catastrophic plan. Allow people to buy up however they want. You’ll probably need to throw in an extra layer of subsidized coverage for the Medicare crowd.

    Far from perfect, but a hell of a lot better than anything we have now.

    1. Getting rid of bureaucratic redundancy would threaten public sector jobs. They ain’t gonna go for that. No. No. No cand do.

    2. Screw vouchers, just give everyone a check. You can use it for healthcare or to buy internet porn. Your call.

      1. I’m waiting for Congress to intorduce a bill that mandate universal internet porn. Unfortunately, all we would get out of it are suggestive pics of Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Mikulski

    3. I agree that some sort of voucher based policy, in addition to a statutorily defined minimum coverage insurance plan, would be preferable. To contain costs effectively we would probably have to return to some sort of HMO/gateway system as well; not to mention fund research into more efficient medical practices, and subsequently encourage those practices.

      Unfortunately, none of those plans had a chance to pass Congress. I think the current plan is a moral victory in as much as it extends coverage to most Americans. The ultimate question of affordability and efficiency remains, but I believe this plan represents the best that could have been achieved at this time.

  18. The Committees on Ways & Means, Energy & Commerce, etc. has put out an “Implementation Timeline”.

    It says under 2010: “Immediate Access to Insurance for Uninsured Individuals with a Pre-Existing Condition”. It’s not until 2014 that being uninsured is penalized, and then it’s fairly puny — i.e. less than getting insurance.

    Did the Congress just give me a free option to drop my (individual) insurance and wait until I get diagnosed with something nasty?

    I supposed this is a problem for accidents, and sudden medical events like heart attack and stroke. But… don’t emergency rooms have to take you anyway?

    And hey, lookie here: Aflac (and I’m sure a host of others) have insurance to reimburse me for “expenses” if I have an accident, or a heart attack, or a stroke. My follow-up care can be covered by the “health insurance” I buy after the fact, because I have “Immediate Access to Insurance for Uninsured Individuals with a Pre-Existing Condition”.

    Is this system really that easy to game, or am I missing something?

    1. You’re correct, it is that easy to game. Don’t worry, either they’ll raise the penalty, or they’ll “reluctantly” lose the individual mandate rule, at which point premiums will skyrocket even more and they’ll switch to single-payer.

  19. I’ve reviewed some the literature about Health Care Reform to determine what it means to me, a self-employed individual. My reading indicates that HCR mandates that I will have an OBLIGATION to purchase a government-approved “insurance” policy to replace my existing HSA policy.

    I am told by Democrats that HCR has created a RIGHT to health care.

    So, now, in HCR Newspeak:
    OBLIGATIONS ARE RIGHTS.

    Even Orwell didn’t think of that one.

    1. Nice. Sad, but nice.

    2. Vote or die, bitch.

      1. As a self-employed individual, you probably stand to gain both from subsidies to small businesses and a more agreeable health care market (due to the expansion of this demographic pool and the subsequent reduction of risk overall for insurance companies) for individuals.

  20. If the exchanges were up and running in a couple months, and tons of people were getting health insurance, or improvements in the current health insurance, maybe democrats could ride that into the election. But the fact is that nothing much is going to happen in the months up to the election. There are only pretty minor changes this year and next. Repubs should have field day with that.

  21. The bill will provide for near universal coverage. That is a step in the right direction. Controlling cost is another matter, and one which will be confronted in the coming decades.

  22. The Health Care Law is just another example of our brilliant overseers doing what’s best for us in spite of what we want, we being far too stupid to know what is good for us.

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