August 19, 2010

Dems Admit Flawed Obamacare Bill Won't Reduce Costs Or The Deficit

ARRA News Service - Key White House allies are dramatically shifting their attempts to defend health care legislation, abandoning claims that it will reduce costs and deficit, and instead stressing a promise to "improve it." Their presentation's final page of "Don'ts" counsels against claiming "the law will reduce costs and deficit." The presentation advises, instead, sales pitches that play on personal narratives and promises to change the legislation.

Wow. After two years of fighting to convince the American people to embrace ObamaCare, the White House is waving the white flag. Michael Steel, Press Secretary for the House Republican Minority said today, "The American people have spoken - loudly and clearly, over and over again: they don’t want ObamaCare. They don’t want the tax hikes, the Medicare cuts, the new bureaucracy. For months, the White House promised wavering Democrats that the bill would become more popular once it became law. The White House was wrong. Now their allies are circulating talking points to explain their defeat. Hopefully, other Washington Democrats – cast loose by the White House - will now feel free to work with Republicans to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with common-sense reforms to lower health care costs.”

Out thank you to Ben Smith at Politicol for his summary today: New Dem message: 'Improve' health care, don't talk cost
Key White House allies are dramatically shifting their attempts to defend health care legislation, abandoning claims that it will reduce costs and deficit and instead stressing a promise to "improve it."

The messaging shift was circulated this afternoon on a conference call and PowerPoint presentation organized by Families USA — one of the central groups in the push for the initial legislation. The call was led by a staffer for the Herndon Alliance, which includes leading labor groups and other health care allies. It was based on polling from three top Democratic pollsters: John Anzalone, Celinda Lake and Stan Greenberg.

The confidential presentation, available in full here and provided to POLITICO by a source on the call, suggests that Democrats are acknowledging the failure of their predictions that the health care legislation would grow more popular after its passage, as its benefits became clear and rhetoric cooled. Instead, the presentation is designed to win over a skeptical public, and to defend the legislation — and in particular the individual mandate — from a push for repeal.

The presentation concedes that groups typically supportive of Democratic causes — people under 40, non-college-educated women and Hispanic voters — have not been won over by the plan. Indeed, it stresses repeatedly that many are unaware that the legislation has passed, an astonishing shortcoming in the White House's all-out communications effort.

"Straightforward ‘policy’ defenses fail to [move] voters’ opinions about the law," says one slide. "Women in particular are concerned that health care law will mean less provider availbality — scarcity [is] an issue."

The presentation also concedes that the fiscal and economic arguments that were the White House's first and most aggressive sales pitch have essentially failed.  "Many don’t believe health care reform will help the economy," says one slide.

The presentation's final page of "Don'ts" counsels against claiming "the law will reduce costs and deficit." The presentation advises, instead, sales pitches that play on personal narratives and promises to change the legislation.

"People can be moved from initial skepticism and support for repeal of the law to favorable feelings and resisting repeal," it says. "Use personal stories — coupled with clear, simple descriptions of how the law benefits people at the individual level — to convey critical benefits of reform."

The presentation also counsels against the kind of grand claims of change that accompanied the legislation's passage.

"Keep claims small and credible; don’t over-promise or ‘spin’ what the law delivers," it says, suggesting supporters say, "The law is not perfect, but it does good things and helps many people. Now we’ll work [to] improve it.”

The Herndon Alliance, which presented the research, is a low-profile group that coordinated liberal messaging in favor of the public option in health care. Its "partners" include health care legislation's heavyweight supporters: AARP, AFL-CIO, SEIU, Health Care for America Now, MoveOn and the National Council of La Raza, among many others.

The presentation cites three private research projects by top Democratic pollsters: eight focus groups by Lake; Anzalone's 1,000-person national survey; and an online survey of 2,000 people by Greenberg's firm.

"If we are to preserve the gains made by the law and build on this foundation, the American public must understand what the law means for them," says Herndon's website. "We must overcome fear and mistrust, and we must once again use our collective voice to connect with the public on the values we share as Americans."

Tags: Democrats, flawed Obamacare, Obamacare, won't reduce cost, ineffective, deficit, democrat plan, avoid the truth, Ben Smith, Politico To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to America's Best Choice. Thanks!

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