Democrats, Republicans Set Strategy on Reform Over Recess
Both Democrats and Republicans have developed strategies for framing the health reform debate while they are away for the Thanksgiving recess, CongressDaily reports.
In a memorandum to members, Senate Democratic leaders said that the break is a prime opportunity to capitalize on momentum created by the passage of a procedural vote last Saturday that allows for floor debate on the chamber's reform bill.
The memo says that U.S. residents are "serious about reforming health insurance and for the first time in 60 years ... Congress is primed to act."
The memo downplays disagreements between moderate Democrats, who oppose a public health insurance plan option, and liberals, who favor the proposal and have threatened to retract their support for the bill if it is eliminated.
House Democrats also were urged by the chamber's leaders to promote progress made on the Senate bill. Leaders told House members to do radio, television and newspaper interviews "to make the case for health reform and explain the principles of the House bill" (HR 3962) because "poll after poll shows that most Americans support our health care insurance reform when we clearly communicate with them what the legislation does."
The Senate Republican Conference provided talking points to GOP members restating party claims that the Senate bill would cost $2.5 trillion when fully implemented and emphasizing the legislation's length of 2,074 pages. The talking points say that the bill would cause higher premiums, higher taxes and Medicare cuts.
In addition, the guidance describes the Republican strategy for health reform as a "step-by-step" approach to overhauling the health care system, countering Democratic claims that the GOP's strategy is "to do nothing" about health care (Friedman/House, CongressDaily, 11/24).
In addition, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has made Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) a target for criticism until next year's midterm elections (Stanton, Roll Call, 11/24).
The GOP talking points also instruct House Republicans to spend the recess criticizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) "$1.3 trillion government takeover of health care" (CongressDaily, 11/24).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.