(CNN) – Just days before President Obama is set to address a joint session of Congress in an effort to get the health care reform debate back on track, two Democrats senators have lots of advice for Obama and his young administration.
“I think it’s a great opportunity,“ Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, “for him to put the meat on the bones, to really give the American people some details.”
Nebraska Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson’s advice suggested that Obama and congressional Democrats have, up to this point, lost control of the message war in the health care reform debate.
“I think we have an opportunity to grab the message now and perfect the message,” Nelson said when asked whether Obama had gotten anything wrong so far in the national conversation about health care. “If there’s anything that has misinformed the American people, it’s the message that didn’t outline what the insured public will gain from this.”
Nelson added that Democratic efforts to explain health care reform, have not explained “that the costs were out of control” and that the current rate of increase in health care costs would make coverage “unsustainable” for many Americans.
“What I found during the town halls,” Nelson added, “is people wanted us to do nothing because they’re afraid whatever we did, they’d be worse off. They couldn’t understand how they’d be better off. They were worried that something would be taken from them to be given to someone else.”
The discussion over health care reform legislation has been widely regarded as careening out of Democrats’ control in the past few weeks, partly because of anger, confusion, and unease expressed by voters at some town hall meetings during the congressional recess. Obama is set to give a major address on health care reform to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday evening.