September 6th, 2009
01:24 PM ET
13 years ago

Dems give Obama advice for big health care speech

(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.

Related: Senator signals possible health care compromise

Filed under: Ben Nelson • Health care • State of the Union
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Irving Like

    September 6, 2009

    The debate over whether the health care reform bill should include a public insurance option, can be empirically resolved with a Sunset provision, and bench marks that must be satisfied, such as its cost effectiveness, competitive benefits, and adverse impacts, if any, on the continued viability of the private health care insurance sector. Limit the option’s duration to a test period- say 5 or 10 years-, at which time, it would expire unless Congress extended it

    September 6, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  2. GregT

    Special interest groups, especially private health insurance companies, who so much fear competition from a public option, are going all out to instill fear into anyone they can manipulate. This is what is creating these totally misinformed idiots at the town hall meetings who think they're about to lose their Medicare coverage or some other crazy idea that has been put into their heads.

    September 6, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  3. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Two words you will not hear in Obama's speech: TORT REFORM.
    The ambulance-chasing trial lawyers will not allow their bought-and-paid-for puppet democrats bring this up, even though it's the main reason the cost of healthcare is so high in this country.

    Another two words you won't hear in the speech is INCREASED COMPETITION.....way to American for Obama.

    September 6, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  4. Elly

    sorry but this health care debate is a no brainer for me

    My sister and I had the same surgery .I live in Canada and she lives in the US
    I paid nothing to anyone -no insurance company, doctor or hospitals -I owe ZERO
    My sister in the US who supposedly *had good insurance* is still over 100 hundred thousand dollars in debt

    I rest my case!!!!

    September 6, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  5. Denna

    Mr. President: Please just come out with a clear plan that you agree with, then let the chips fall where they may. The Republicans and the Blue Dog Democrats (Republicans in sheep's clothing) will not give you a chance. I implore the Democratic party to get behind President Obama while you still have a majority to work with. If the Republicans have their way this country will never, ever have decent health care options. This country will be under the thumb of corporate America again because these companies fund the Republicans. For once, America won by throwing these people, and their lobbyists out of the White House. For once, WE WON. But I fear that the hatred and bigotry that has permeated this country will perfectly poison the fine country.

    September 6, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  6. Flex

    Nelson, shut up, and do what you're told to do by the party leaders. This isn't about Nebraska town halls. This is about a quality health care option for everyone in the county. If you blow this, you will pay!

    September 6, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  7. stormerF

    Put the Facts out first. In Canada they pay 48% of their income to Tax and they are in trouble. In Europe they can Pay as much as 54% of their income and then they have a VAT (value added tax) which adds another 17% to everything they buy.
    So if you want to have 50 to 60 % of your income going to Taxes to pay for health care for those who do not have it,then move to Europe. I pay between 17% and 22 % of my income in Taxes, and still feel cheated when the congress spends my taxes , to study the Odor of pig farms,Or to save a Marsh mouse,or replace sand on a beach in New Jersey
    Sorry but I pay for my health care and do not want the Government to ruin it as they have done to social security,medicare,and medicaid.

    September 6, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  8. eolufemi

    Obvious guy says, "The democrats are losing the message war."

    Anytime you have officials resigning for calling the opposition out of their name, despite that opposition likening the president to Hitler or Stalin, you know you have a message problem.

    The president and democrats have to unleash the hounds on these people, and re-center the debate. It seems like they are coming to a compromise, but we'll see how legitimate that compromise is.

    September 6, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  9. Marc M

    How about telling him to announce "There will be no public option".

    People do not want it.

    September 6, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  10. Mike

    Keep the 'public option' in, or you will have nothing really 'new' in the health care reform legislative bill. If there is 'no' public option, than we have "no choice" and isnt that what 'option' means, "choice". I would rather have a 'choice' than no choice. If there is 'no' option, we might as well be back at square one, with a whole lot of people with 'no' health care medical insurance. I am beginning to think that the Republican Party is 'not' for good health care medical insurance and affordable for 'all' americans. Without the 'option', we have nothing. Mike in Montana P.S.: It would complementary to name the health care reform bill.., the 'Kennedy Health Care Reform' bill. He fought for it most of his adult and political life.

    September 6, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  11. obama08 but....

    I love watching these speeches, but I wish they would hold all the applause... They stand up, they sit down, they stand up, they sit down, they stand up, they sit down... Then the speech begins, they stand up, they sit down... then the speech continues, they stand up and sit down... it's really irritating as a television viewer to sit through all that crap. My advice would be to hold the applause and jeering till the end.

    September 6, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  12. Ken

    A CO-OP won't work. Farmers in our community tried a CO-OP, and it went broke 4 years ago along with several others in Southwestern Oklahoma. The PO is the only option.
    Want a trigger? Here's mine. Impliment Health Care reform with the Public Option. Make effective January 1st. If health care cost's don't go down in 24 months mandate everyone to buy Private Health Insurance. Ta-daaaaaaaaaa.

    September 6, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  13. On the other hand...

    It's easier for the Democrats to talk about selling their version of Health Care Reform by campaigning AGAINST what's in place now.

    Giving details about what they are proposing will never work. The more people hear these details the more they will reject it. Bottom line, they would be trying to sell a government bureaucracy on it's merits of being efficient and effective. Americans are not that stupid.

    September 6, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  14. Keith in Austin

    The best advice is stay at home and DON'T GIVE IT! Barry has already given nearly 25 public speeches on his ever-changing descriptions of state-run healthcare. Read America's lips Nobama, We The People have heard your plan and the majority of us reject it! If Democrats turn their backs on the voices of Americans, it will lead to their demise in 2010 and 2012. This is a certainty!!!!

    September 6, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  15. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    "They were worried that something would be taken from them to be given to someone else.”

    And it will. It's called taxes. There is no way to pay for this program without raising middle class taxes. How is that not taking something from me and giving it to someone else. Want health care, work hard and get a good job. Don't expect a handout.

    September 6, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  16. robert diogenes

    GET THE FACTS BEHIND THE NEWS Ben Nelson is from a rural conservative state with a small population, Nebraska. He represent a very small part of the US..
    I would like to see what a Senator like Schumer(ny) Durbin(IL) Feinstein(CA) say they represent a large no. of people.

    September 6, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  17. No Hillary = No Obama

    Do you feel duped? Put "meat to the bones?" what were we being sold before, chopped liver? If this doesn't make Obama out to be a flash-in-the-pan operator, I hate to see the next fiasco.

    September 6, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  18. Matthew DC Observer

    Instead of giving bi speeches, why doesn;t the president simply pass the legislation . Afterall he controls the entire three brances of government with a solid majorty. If his ideas are so good, his own party should be able to work with him and pass legislation?????

    September 6, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. Mark

    Yes keep giving unqualified jr advise on how to run the country!

    September 6, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  20. AJ

    Ben Nelson is a Democrat in name only. He does nothing but stymie the Democratic party. Its time to send him packing!

    September 6, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  21. Dereliction of Duty

    Oh... you mean put meat on the bones of that bill the Dems tried to VOTE THROUGH before they took their break?? THAT bill? Geez these guys are out of control!

    September 6, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. Longhorn who speaks the truth.

    Ther is no way America can stand and be a leader of nations with the like f the leaders OBAMA has gathered.

    September 6, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  23. Frank, Xenia, Ohio

    When misinformed voters vote, their vote still counts. So, for instance, when GOP Party Chairman Michael Steele was asked to set the record straight about "death panels" rather than state categorically that that was not in anybody's proposal, he just sat there, smiled, and said nothing. Just one example of how, if the above quote from the article is true (which I'm convinced it is), the Republicans are stoking the anger, confusion, and unease with an intentional misinformation campaign.

    It's sad that politics for the Republicans comes down to "not lying" (but not telling the whole truth either). And, under these circumstances, there can be no real healthcare debate with these unethical partisans on the opposite side of the issue.

    I hope the GOP keeps Steele as their chairman, because he makes a perfect poster child for all that's wrong with their party.

    September 6, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. Rafael Rodriguez

    S.O.S. to OBAMA/Whit House: If GOP offers to agree on the "trigger mechanism" that would be the end of a sucessful reelection bid for a second term, Mr. president. They will wait for you to declare the public option toward the end of your first term and ...bang!!!...they will take you to the electorate as the Hitler looking to sink this country into socialism by robbing the people's money to sustain the public option and August 2009 scenario will be at the very step of your campaign for reelection. I tell you Mr. President, this time progressives are right! Stick to your guns cause the outcome of the public option will have time enough for people to see for themselves the merit of the public option for everybody. Otherwise, you'll revive "August 2009 Hell" at the steps of your reelection. How will it looks like??? You are easy to trap, thinking your enemies care for this country, they don't, everything is money and politics for GOP, that's why they have not humanitarian principles or these principles belong to communists. Be affraid, sign the trigger mechanism and I see you another Jimmy Carter presidency, naive.

    September 6, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  25. Frank, Xenia, Ohio

    "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..."

    September 6, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |