Republicans To Consider Public Information Strategy on New Medicare Law
The House Republican Conference this week at an annual retreat in Philadelphia plans to consider a strategy to explain the benefits of the new Medicare law to the public and counter the "criticism their Democratic counterparts are already mobilizing against them," CongressDaily reports. Conference Chair Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio) said that she plans to encourage members to discuss the law in local workshops and public service announcements, and an unnamed conference spokesperson said that conference leaders will provide members with materials and answers to important questions in preparation for the workshops. "Our main focus is to inform the public" and help prevent a "cloud of misinformation," the spokesperson said. A spokesperson for the National Republican Congressional Committee, which has launched a separate "research project" on the new Medicare law, said that Republicans plan to make an effort to "win on the issue" in the November elections, adding, "the goal is to learn how to effectively communicate with our Medicare efforts." Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said, "This is a huge feather in our cap. This is something we've never had before (that) we're able to offer seniors."
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said that Democrats plan to consider a public information strategy on the new Medicare law on Wednesday at the Democratic Caucus to "define this bill for what it is early." Although the spokesperson did not provide details on the strategy, Democratic pollster Celinda Lake said that Democrats "could tap into senior dissatisfaction with the law by playing up its lack of cost containment features," CongressDaily reports (Wegner, CongressDaily, 1/27).
NPR's "Morning Edition" on Tuesday reported that a GOP "victory" for passage of the new Medicare law remains "more elusive" than Republicans had hoped. The segment includes comments from Democratic pollster Mark Melman and John Rother, director of policy and strategy for AARP (Rovner, "Morning Edition," NPR, 1/27). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer. In addition, NPR's "Talk of the Nation" on Monday included a discussion over which political party controls the issue of government expenditures on Medicare and other programs. Guests on the program included Bruce Bartlett, senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis; Paul Light, professor of public service at New York University and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution; Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform; and Al Quinlan, president of Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner Research (Conan, "Talk of the Nation," NPR, 1/26). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.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.