March 14th, 2010
08:30 AM ET
3 years ago

Axelrod: Passing health care bill can help Dems in midterms


Washington (CNN) – As Democrats try to make one final push to pass comprehensive health care reform legislation, one of the president’s closest advisers has a message for Democrats who may be wavering during this midterm election year.

“The reality is that we’ve passed these bills through the House and the Senate,” Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said in an interview that airs Sunday on State of the Union. “The Republican candidates are going to campaign against us on it. The question is: We’ve got the vote, are we going to have the achievement? Are we going to have the accomplishment?”

The top Obama adviser also laid out a number of immediate impacts that the White House says will result from passage of the legislation, including prohibiting insurance companies from excluding coverage of pre-existing conditions in children, ending lifetime and annual caps on coverage, closing of the so-called “doughnut hole” in Medicare’s prescription drug coverage, shoring up the financial solvency of the Medicare system, and giving tax credits to small business.

Then, Axelrod suggested that enacting health care reform could help Democrats in November’s elections by forcing Republicans to run against those immediate changes.

“If they want to have that fight, let’s have that fight,” he told CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

During the interview, Axelrod, who was one of Obama’s top strategists during the presidential campaign, also took a shot at some leading Capitol Hill Republicans over their recent comments about the effect supporting health care reform could have in November’s midterms.

“[Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell has been generous. [House Minority Leader] John Boehner has been generous in giving advice to Democrats about how perilous this vote [on health care reform] is. I wonder what their motivations are in offering us advice about how to strengthen our party,” Axelrod said.

And Axelrod also predicted that Democrats would ultimately be successful in achieving one of Obama’s top priorities on his domestic agenda.

“We’re very optimistic about the outcome of this process,” Axelrod said when asked about the president’s recent decision to delay an overseas trip in order to be in Washington when a health care vote is expected in the House. “I think that people have come to the realization that this is the moment and if we don’t act now there’ll be dire consequences for people all over this country.”

Axelrod added, “I think we will have the votes to pass this.”

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Filed under: 2010 • David Axelrod • Health care • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. Annie, Atlanta

    I agree. Why else would the Republicans be fighting so hard against it (along with insurance companies who have sunk hundreds of millions into fighting it). The GOP staked their return to power on it failing. Why? Has anyone asked themselves why some of our elected representatives, who's salaries and health care plans are paid for by us, are fighting so hard against us enjoying those same benefits. Think about it. After Social Security, after Medicare and Medicaid, weren't the Republicans out of power for nearly a generation. There's a lot at stake, and "we the people" have to lose in order for them to "win." Now that's the party I want deciding my future – NOT.

    March 14, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  2. annie against biased news

    How Stupid! axelrod is only trying to push government rationed hellcare – he could care less what happens to the demoncrats in November. All axelrod and obama are out for is the destruction of this country – period! They could care less what it does to the party or how many people will be denied medical help if this bill is passed.

    March 14, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  3. vette gal

    There are always unwanted, unnecessary items in every bill that passes. The health care bill is no different. The democrats need to stand up and fight for this to pass. After it passes, it can be amended to include a public option. No bill is perfect when it's passed. Only a dummy would think so.

    It's time for the democrats to stand together for once in their life and do what the majority of people want, not what they individually want. They were elected to represent the people. At this point, neither party is representing the people.

    March 14, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  4. annie against biased news

    Government rationed hellcare has nothing to do with medical assistance for citizens of the USA. It is only about government take over of our country. More people will be added to the so-called health care rolls but fewer and fewer citizens will receive any health care at all. Determination by a government run board of flunkies will decide individual treatments meaning that at least two-thirds of the American citizens who now have coverage will no longer receive any medical attention.

    March 14, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  5. beevee

    Yes the health care reform is very critical for the democratic survival and keeping the ruling majority in the congress and senate and for the president to convince the public that his policies have saved the country from financial disaster. Any one with a right mind can clearly see that is why the GOP is so hell bent on stopping the passing of the health care reform of any sort. Besides if they can't stop it they will get kicked by the health care industry that has backed them so much financially to make them stop passing of the reforms.

    March 14, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  6. Annie, Atlanta

    Anyone else notice the Republican talking points repeated over and over here in the comments? Have they nothing new? Not only are they offering nothing, but the GOP in congress offers nothing to help us out from the increasingly (daily) crushing costs of medical care and insurance. Why? Are they truly wholly owned subsidiaries? Makes you wonder.

    Let's have a debate. I can throw out talking points too, but it solves nothing. We're getting crushed by health care costs. Insurance companies have monopolies over us and are raising rates to unbearable levels. Only here in America are we paying large for-profit companies to dole out our care, to decide who gets what, and if. It's obscene. I'd gladly pay higher taxes to relieve the worry of not being able to afford a prescription or needed care.

    Do yourselves a favor and insist your representatives in congress agree to a public option. That will make this legislation a lot easier to take. If there's going to be a mandate (which there is) make sure there's competition to control pricing. It's going to happen – let's make sure it happens right. I sadly did with one of my senators (the other one never responded), and he told me he had to protect the profits of the insurance companies! There you go.

    March 14, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  7. J.C. - Independent 4 Public Option

    David Axelrod is absolutely right. GOP is threatening Democrats from voting for the health care reform bill with the midterm election. I think Republicans are very afraid of its passing and they will tank further in November.

    March 14, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  8. cspurgeon

    Just get it done.

    March 14, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  9. Steve-Illinois

    @guest, I oppose this bill because-

    1) It does nothing to control health care costs.
    2) Premiums under this bill will continue to go up, not down. Dick Durbin himself says that.
    3) The bill mirrors Mass. care, which has seen an average 25% increase in annual premiums since instituted, and is broke in a few short years.
    4) The fines for not having insurance are substantially less than the premiums, which will allow people to opt in and out as they see fit, ultimately breaking the system.
    5) Charges employers who try to do what's right by their employees (by offering health insurance) a larger cost per employee than those who don't offer insurance at all. ($3000.00 compared to $2000.00)
    6) Because health insurance reform is not health care reform.
    7) Because it defies any sense of logic and common sense!

    Is that reason enough for you?

    March 14, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  10. bennie new york

    Well it doesn't look like this thing is passing because suddenly there aren't enough votes in the House. Even if it does, it'll be with backroom deals, which will sour it in the eyes of many, and frankly it's a useless bill without a public option. So from every angle, it looks the Democrats are screwed.

    March 14, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  11. jjh

    I support this bill because it will benefit the Average American and am WILLING AND GLAD TO PAY ANY ADDITIONAL TAXES NEEDED to pay for it. This will benefit the working man. Why are lobbiests descending like a horde of locusts to fight this bill if it did not adversely affect their corporate clients? Who is representing OUR interests.

    We Americans are terrified by taxes but will resolutely support military spending where the money is wasted. I am willing to accept the consequences of this bill because it will benefit MOST of us.

    America, join the ranks of the industrialized world and TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN CITIZENS FIRST

    Opponents of this bill, is being American this: THINK ABOUT YOURSELF FIRST? Jesus said Love thy neighbor as yourself. We can do this here.

    March 14, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  12. Stallion

    A complete government take over of healthcare? The methods being used to put this bill in place are probably a very good indication of how it will be implemented.....haaaaaa......open wide comrades....they will make that pill fit down your throat....maybe they will vote in hypnosis to cure us next.....or how about mandatory injections that make us mindless drones? But don't worry.....They know what's best for you.....they are smarter than all of us......isn't it obvious?

    March 14, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  13. PASSING WILL HELP DEMS. MIDTERM..?

    So here we go right from the Dems Mouth. It is not about reforming health care really but about winning.....midterm.....America rise up to this Dems. nonsense...."We want real reform bringing down costs by reforming the insurance industry" Call Washington and say don't pass this bill....................................................................................................

    March 14, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  14. bob

    wow what a dreamer. Every day the polls show more and more people against this bill. This morning I read that the senate has added even more special deals for some people in some states, like seniors in florida, special deals in the Dakotas,Massachusettes and vermont,etc. Even Obama has told them he doesnt want them,but the special interest democrats are going to ignore him. Well if he doesnt want special treatment for small minorities of American people then what he should do if they pass the bill is veto it and lets start over with no special deals for any state,class of people(union members ,etc)

    March 14, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  15. J.C. - Independent 4 Public Option

    Medicare will not be around, IF we don't add younger groups into Medicare to sustain its operations. Older people tend to have more health problems. Medicare needs premium-paying younger people to help it survive. It is a very bad idea to get all the seniors together into one insured pool for health insurance purpose.

    Expand Medicare or we will lose it when you need it.

    March 14, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  16. bob

    Cee- do you hope you earn more than the bills you have? If so you are greedy just like companies that are in business to earn a profit

    March 14, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  17. Barry In Las Vegas

    Axelrod is lying to the congressional people. My congress woman is in a swing district and if she votes for this healthcare bill she will be voted out of office. This is her first term and more than likiely her last.

    March 14, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  18. Overby

    How can anyone understand anything this guy is talking about? Axelrod says "uh" around 15-20 times every sentence, all you hear is uh uh uh uh and you forget what the heck he's talking about. If you're going to have some talking head out there speaking for the Prez, he ought to be able to speak in complete sentences.

    March 14, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
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