Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Healtcare Reform is the BIG ONE for this YEAR!

*** And We're Off: The unveiling of the House Democrats' $1 trillion-plus health-care bill, paid for in part by a tax surcharge on the wealthiest Americas, truly begins the Great American Health-Care Fight, which could last well into October.
At 1:05 pm ET, from the White House Rose Garden, President Obama will deliver remarks on the House bill, and he'll also conduct a round of TV interviews with health reporters, including NBC's Dr. Nancy Snyderman. All of this is just more evidence of "clear the decks" time for the White House on health care. Also, at 2:15 pm, Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer, Robert Menendez, and Debbie Stabenow will hold a news conference demanding that private health insurers submit to tighter regulations and increased competition. On the GOP side, Republican Rep. Kevin Brady will give a presentation to party leaders about how the House Democratic bill is a "bureaucratic nightmare," and then GOP leaders -- including John Boehner and Eric Cantor -- will hold their own press conference afterward.

*** The Tax War: The House Dem bill, of course, is providing the GOP with plenty of fodder. After all, there's a lot of taxing going on there, and the past 30 years have wired American politics and Washington to treat any hike as anathema. And some Senate Democrats, as well as the Washington Post editorial page, aren't big fans of the tax increase. On the other hand, our June NBC/WSJ poll showed that a very solid majority -- 62% -- support taxing those who make more than $250,000 to pay for health-care reform (perhaps that's why GOP talking points are focusing on taxing "small businesses"). And, even as the Post editorial page notes, the wealthy in this country are paying a historically smaller share in taxes (perhaps sparking critics to wonder: Where has that gotten the economy?) But there is a breaking point on taxing the wealthy, and class-warfare politics hasn't been successful in quite some time. Over to you, Senate Democrats and the White House.

*** The Senate Battleground: A new DNC/Organizing for America TV ad -- which begins running today on national cable, DC cable, and in some key states -- gives us a pretty good idea where the DNC (and the White House, by extension), believes the battle for health-care reform is going to be fought in the Senate. Here are the states where it will run: FL (Democrat Bill Nelson), NE (Democrat Ben Nelson), IN (Democrat Evan Bayh, Republican Dick Lugar), ME (Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe), LA (Democrat Mary Landrieu), ND (Democrat Kent Conrad), and AR (Democrats Blanche Lincoln and Mary Pryor). Meanwhile, the liberal-leaning group Health Care for America Now is running TV ads thanking Democratic Sens. Harry Reid and Chris Dodd (both up for re-election next year) for their work on health care.

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