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. jane

    Of course, it can help Democrats in the midterms, which is why the Republicans are pulling out all stops to defeat this and anything else our current administration and congress are trying to hard to accomplish. Republicans are absolutely undeterred by the fact that so many milllions of citizens need good government, now more than ever.

    March 14, 2010 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  2. g

    I know that if the Dems pass either the House or Senate bill, I will not be voting for them.....I want serious medical malpractice reform. I want elimination of pre-existing condition exclusions. I want tax deductions for people who buy health insurance or companies who provide it. I want insurance companies to operate across state lines. I want legal drug importation from Canada......everything else is stupid Democrat nonsense. Everything else is an attempt to increase the government, the unions and the lawyers. Pass this bill and you will not get my vote (btw I am NOT republican, im registered non partisan and have voted for Dems in the past as many times as I voted republicans)

    March 14, 2010 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  3. Republicans are Repugnant Taliban

    @ Ray E Not sure where you get your facts from, health care reform was NEVER tried in the Soviet Union, they believed like your Repugliban leaders, if you get sick, die and stop putting a drain on the economy. What destroyed the Soviet Union was fighting unnecessary wars in Afghanistan, sound familiar maybe like Iraq? You really should become better educated before you start spouting off about stuff you have no idea about.

    March 14, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  4. Marie MD

    Most people I know, both democrats and republicans, want healthcare reform. I don't know which polls these repugs in Congress are looking at but then again, I wouldn't think they would tell the truth. After all . . . . . they already have the best healthcare in the US. Why give it to the little guy or the person who has a job but still can't afford a doctor's visit much less cancer or a heart attack. Never mind those who are unemployed or too poor for good medical care.

    March 14, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  5. T'SAH from Virginia

    @Sy – I agree with you – the pharmaseuticals and hospitals are next – I mean, a bag of treated water used to hydrate a person cost $175???????

    March 14, 2010 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  6. jw

    "including prohibiting insurance companies from excluding coverage of pre-existing conditions in children"

    What about pre-existing conditions in adults?
    What about the public option clause the government promised and swore up and down it was going insist be in a bill?
    By leaving these two things out, which by the way are the two things the American people wanted included in this bill in the first place, and by literally shoving it down the throates of the American people, you think the American public is not going to be voting a lot of incumbents out of office in November.
    I would predict a lot of people will be looking for new jobs.

    March 14, 2010 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  7. Chris in South Dakota

    If he actually believes this, then this Administration is completely out of touch with reality.

    March 14, 2010 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  8. masgap

    When it comes to vote put me down as a Democrat. This fall Democrats will benefit from historic hcr. I will remember the party of No who cares only for the rich. Do not believe their lies.

    Reform is paid for. It will reduce the deficit and provide insurance without pre existing conditions.

    March 14, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  9. Big John

    Pass the health care bill!

    March 14, 2010 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  10. ib

    Yeah right; dumb statement. When you liberals see what this bill really does to your healthcare and taxes then come back and tell me how great it is. Of course you will probably blame Bush for its failures.

    March 14, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  11. Liberalism is a Mental Disorder

    hahahaa – right!!! Help them get demolished even worse than they already are going to be.

    75% of the public wants this bill scrapped and started over, but the ARROGANT BHO admin and Pelosi and Reid are ignoring the will of the people and will pay dearly in November.

    And as far as Masgap – you have no clue as to what you are speaking too. Even the CBO states that it is going to cost billions and that is WITH 10 years of taxes and 6 years of service...wait til the second decade, when it is 10 and 10, trillions of increases to the debt...increased taxes, increased premiums, many forced from their doctors, decrease in quality of care...yeah this bill is GREAT!!! You libs are so foolish it is unbelievable.

    March 14, 2010 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  12. MorningStart

    The best thing democrats can do now is to pass health care. The republicans know it. They know also that if the health care is passed, then the democrats may not win the 'battle' in November, but they will win the "war".

    March 14, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  13. Jim

    If the Republicans really thought passing this bill would hurt Democrats, why are they trying to stop its passage by every possible delay? You would think Republicans would want to let Democrats pass it so that they can start getting hurt as soon as possible.

    March 14, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  14. Scott, Tucson

    It's hard to believe that statement considering that a majority of Americans are against obamacare. Maybe Axlerod is counting on the millions of illegals who would be covered by obamacare to cast votes for the democrats?

    March 14, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  15. CT- CITIZEN

    TERM LIMITS – Thats what is needed here!
    NOVEMBER is PINK SLIP month. VOTE out those that push for their own agenda, not those of the people WHO elected them. VOTE = TERM LIMITS = your VOTE

    March 14, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  16. joe smith

    just one more attempt to mandate the whereabouts of the citizenry who have fallen through the cracks..why..can't have a populus equivalent to the CFR, can we..

    March 14, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  17. j

    I hope they include a public option and pass it through reconciliation. Some of the happiest countries have socialist programs that help EVERY citizen. I think the Conservatives are good at fooling people and instilling fear. It's appalling that the wealthiest nation on the planet can't provide decent medical care and other advantages for all of it's citizens.

    March 14, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  18. Stewart

    No, passing this monstrosity of a bill will not help dems at all. It will destroy them. But if they don't pass it they will be destroyed by their inability to legislate. They've spent more then a year on this issue, most of it with a filibuster proof majority, and couldn't get anything accomplished. These are not the people that I want in office for the next 2 years. They're completely incapable of doing anything good or bad for the nation and I think voters will recognize it at the polls.

    March 14, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  19. Leonore Dvorkin

    Absolutely. Once health reform is passed, we and almost everyone we know will once again open our checkbooks to help the Democrats keep control. Hey, Republicans and other right-wingers: If you are against health reform, what you are calling "socialized medicine," are you also refusing or going to refuse Medicare, Social Security, and VA benefits? If not, then you are total hypocrites. Those are government social programs! America needs to enter the modern world and have universal health care. – Leonore and David Dvorkin, Denver

    March 14, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  20. How are you paying for it???

    Achievment? Accomplishment?

    What has this bozo been smoking?

    Are you kidding me? The majority is going to vote others in to have this WELFARE SOCIALIST TAX burden repealed.

    March 14, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  21. How are you paying for it???

    To Leonore Dvorkin

    I'll gladlly give us Social Security if you tell me I don't have to pay into it and I get MY money back that I've paid into it.

    I'll take this deal today.

    Another DUMocRAT, all the time wanting somebody else to pay for you,.

    March 14, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  22. Free america

    Passing it will raise my Insurance Rate by 13% according to the CBO. If it does pass my wife ,and I will never vote Democrat again.

    March 14, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  23. no_longer_dem

    you HAD the vote – if it were to be voted on again, it WOULD NOT PASS.
    Listen to the American people, democrats – that is the ONLY thing you can do to protect your azzes in November

    March 14, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  24. dennisintn

    ah, yes, the first chance for the newly named coffee party. a new name for the same old buttholes called acorn and s.e.i.u. if wonder if the black panthers with clubs will be "assisting" at polling locations under the coffee party name or just as black panthers. and then there are those wonderful people from s.e.i.u. beating on old men in wheelchairs at tea party outings. will they be coffee party or just the same old s.e.i.u. ruffians. it's going to be a very interesting summer. hopefully a.g. holder will be able to cover all y'all's hijinks like he did last year.
    by the way, how's that medical tort reform legislation coming along? is obama still trying to kill that part of the bill? i realize that obama owes the lawyers something in return for the $60+ million dollars he accepted from them for his campaign last year, and i guess he's expecting the same from them for the next election.
    republicans and independents want health reform as much as any democrat, but the dems. who wrote obamacare took care of all their private interests, and campaign contributors before we, the recipients and payers for, well see any help at all. this catastrophic trainwreck, if passed, will mark as a traitor or idiot, everyone who votes for it. it definitely will be an historic bill as advertised, just like pearl harbor and hurricane katrina are remembered.
    dennisintn

    March 14, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  25. Sam Sixpack

    They plan to steal 1/2 trillion dollars from Medicare.

    And then, as Dr. Ezekiel Emanual (Obama's special advisor on health care policy) puts it (in writing – no less) "services should not be guaranteed to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia."

    These folks plan to pull the plug on your grandmother so they can steal your money.

    March 14, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
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