March 14th, 2010
08:30 AM ET
11 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. D. Bunker

    Wow, lots of whiny rightwingers here tossing out more of their lies (is that all they can do?). The vast majority of Americans do NOT want to "scrap the bill and start over." What they want is for Congress to add the public option. Since the GOP will never support this, it's clear to anyone with a working brain that the GOP is out of touch with mainstream America.

    March 14, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  2. greenfish

    The republicans don't want it to pass because it will be a major accomplishment that'll prevent them from quenching their thirst for power.

    Pass this bill NOW.

    March 14, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  3. Dumbrock Insain Obumya

    You tell me how I can opt out of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid so I can invest my own money into my retirement and health insurance and not have to depend on this horrible government having control over my welfare and livlihood, and I will gladly sign up. Problem is, its mandatory and there is no way to opt out. Sad thing is, by the time I retire in 30 years, the tens of thousands of dollars i've paid in social security and medicare may not mean much since those programs may not be around by then. Case and point why we the majority of American citizens are against this horrible bill and a government takeover on the most intimate aspects of our lives.

    March 14, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  4. Kat

    Yea Right!! What planet has he been living on. We DO NOT want this ridiculous bill.

    March 14, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  5. KJJ

    To: How are you are you paying for it?
    Did you ask that question when Bush and his all Republican government gave out a $2 trillion tax cut without matching spending cuts?
    Did you ask that question when he and the Republican Congress started a $1 trillion false war on top of those tax cuts?
    Did you ask that question when he and a Republican Congress expanded Medicare without the resources to pay for it?
    Did you ask that question any time during the 2000s when we got set up for the Great Recession- which was prevented from turning into the 2nd Great Depression by the firing of Republicans from govt in 2008 and election of a sensible President?

    Fortunately, President Obama sees beyond the "what's in it for me today" world inhabited by people like you and recognizes that we must act on the health care situation NOW – it is an economic imperative, as well as a moral imperative!

    March 14, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  6. indy

    Or not. My vote, senator or congressman (and I am voting for both this year) will be against anyone who votes for this bill as it is currently written.

    March 14, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  7. u2canfail

    I pay for my own health insurance. We need this reform. I fear being ill, cancelled is the insurance companies answer to illness. It is the only real death panel around. We are selling our home to keep insurance. The premiums are 1/3 of our income. I can pay. I object to paying for trips to fancy resorts, lobby costs, CEO salaries, CEO planes, and profits.

    If you can rule out paying for abortions, why not these? I am trying to eat, and cover my head. I guess for some that doesn't count.

    March 14, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  8. Hugo

    In what delusional world does this idiot live, it is the kiss of death? Let's see, a nearly bankrupt government creating another entitlement program that benefits 6% of the population while the remainder pays for it. On top of that, we will pay for something we don't even see any benefit (if any) for until 4 years out? There are no caps on insurance company premiums, so when insurance quits being based on statistical occurrence of event and government mandates them to cover existing conditions, all other premiums go up to cover their expenditures. The economists have repeatedly warned that the entitlement obligations of the United States Government to its citizenry are insolvent and if left unchecked our National deficit will be 90% of GDP in 10 years. Now that is Change you will be living!

    March 14, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  9. guest

    "We do not want this ridiculous bill..."

    What exactly do you not like about the bill??
    1) Closing the insurance gap which currently costs you about 5000,- when you are on prescription drugs?
    2) Giving more people health insurance?
    3) Making people have insurance so that we do not have to pay for the uninsured again?
    4) The prediction that this health care bill will save money according to a bipartisan budget group??
    5) The fact that Europe, Canada all have this type of healthcare already and saving lots of money?

    Are you guys seriously saying that you know better??? Please show me some detailed info why you oppose this bill??

    March 14, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  10. john

    Thats the problem with Obama and his administration, they are living in a fantasy world and they have no idea of how people feel about their jam it down your throat health care.

    March 14, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  11. Monkey wrench

    Leonore Dvorkin March 14th, 2010 10:27 am ET

    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

    Hey Leonore and David- I would think Social Security and Medicare socialist programs for only of those that have not paid in their fair share. If you, like most responsible tax paying citizens paid social security and medicare for your entire working life, you are simply taking a return on your investment. It is when social security and Medicare (Medicaid) are provided to illegal immigrants and to people that have never carried their weight in our society is where it becomes socialism. Socialism doesn't work, when you have more lazy people sucking off the entitlement fruits of a minority of hard workers, which is what we have now, the system is non-sustainable.
    Good day

    March 14, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  12. guest


    Can somebody please make a list with arguments against this bill other than ridiculous notions of marxism and tax increases because they have been debunked long time ago.

    March 14, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  13. El Gordo

    Monkey wrench wrote: "I would think Social Security and Medicare socialist programs for only of those that have not paid in their fair share. If you, like most responsible tax paying citizens paid social security and medicare for your entire working life, you are simply taking a return on your investment."

    So you can't help but wonder if Conservatives lie like this knowingly or whether they are just that ignorant.

    Social Security is not an investment. The law is not written that way and the Supreme Court has long held that Social Security is a tax, not a savings account. It's purpose is for those currently working to support those who have retired.

    I presume that MonkeyWrench is a retired person on Social Security and Medicare who is in denial about his dependence on government for income.

    March 14, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  14. Nov can't get here fast enough.

    Want reasons?
    1) Higher taxes
    2) Less freedom for your Dr to treat you as they want (treatments will be dictated by the government)
    3) Rationed care – you don't add millions of people to a program & then cut funding to that program by 1/2 Trillion dollars without cutting care. Anyone who thinks you can has their head up their backside.
    4) Expansion of government power / reduction in individual rights
    5) The government is broke people. The US can not afford another entitlement program. The ones we already have are bankrupt.
    6) Name one government entitlement program that's not broke..... Any? The government doesn't run businesses well.

    March 14, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  15. Repub

    I think it should be done just to tick off the Republicans – cos' they can stand losing – a sore loser – that who they are !

    March 14, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  16. Marie

    OK with "Guest" – There are NO words to say-explain-discuss about any more – now, it's VERY URGENT, for the American People, that ACTS ( = Bill) have to come. It's unthinkable so many-per-cent of the First People in the World can't correctly live ...).
    President Obama & His Staffes dozens of times explained, put online ; there were (recent) over-public Meetings (still on YouTube/Site of The White House).
    Time for caricatures, idiot falsehoods and childish actions is over – i'll go further : they would, seriously, more compromise their authors, than the Project itself.
    That Bill HAS TO BE – it'll be the first time in decades in american History – If it would, ANOTHER TIME, fail, we all, now, know WHOSE fault it'd be. With consequences ..


    March 14, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  17. gerald paddock

    to all those people who oppose this health care i quess you liked the 2 trillion dollars you payed for on the bush tax credits for the 2 percent of the country and that your kids will pay for that you want to be upset that is a reason this is not talked to anyone who has lost there insurance and ask them how they feel done

    March 14, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  18. Monkey wrench

    El Gordo – Social Security is a tax yes but it is basically a ponzi scheme that is now near insolvency, thank you for quoting me however, I said, I see it as a return on my investment of hard work since I have paid in to the system for my entire working life. That is not a conservative lie that is simply how I see it, I like how you put the liberal slant of misstatement on what I said and how you tried to sell it, good lib, but very predictable.

    Any "Social" program that takes money out of my pocket as a tax and puts it in a "trust fund" that is established to pay up on the governments obligations and then raped and pillaged by the same government is simply out of the question with regard to my common sense, something that is far to uncommon on the liberal side of politics.

    March 14, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  19. Neutral party

    Want reasons?
    1) Higher taxes<<<<Only on people making more than 250K and small businesses would be exempt.
    2) Less freedom for your Dr to treat you as they want (treatments will be dictated by the government)<<<>>Not true again as there is soooo much waste going in medicare and medicade that if this plan does not start cutting the enormous waste it will have to be slashed more severly as it is underfunded due to the waste.
    4) Expansion of government power / reduction in individual rights<<<general point that has no basis and is like paiting a broad brush when you have no argument.
    5) The government is broke people. The US can not afford another entitlement program. The ones we already have are bankrupt<<<either end all entitlement programs like medicare, medicade and social security or reform them by passing this one because otherwise the existing entitlement programs will bankrupt the economy in the near future.
    6) Name one government entitlement program that's not broke..... Any? The government doesn't run businesses well..<<<my point in number 5.

    So all your points are from clowns like Rush or Shawn Hanity who fool people by their shallow but passionate points of view and I'm sure they must feel inside that they are fooling people for their own selfish agenda.

    March 14, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. Ryan

    Democrats have no choice – They HAVE to PASS THIS BILL!!
    It's 100% the REASON why they were elected in the first place.

    Republicans saying that if the bill passes – it will hurt the Democratic party are CLEARLY feeling very threatened by the success of the bill and the disappointment they'll hear from the lobbyists that fund all those Republican events.

    What people AREN'T paying attention to is that if the bill passes, the crazy right wing & the Insurance that will officially now have a rule book to follow for the first time in their history – will STILL attack the bill by putting out a lot of propaganda about how the bill isn't working and anyone who dies from any kind of sickness while on the government public option (even if they're on it for all of 2 minutes) will become a poster child for highlighting the failures of this bill.

    Just watch. They're going to put out this false circus about the bill being flawed, passed, and failing Americans, hoping to scare us (again, with their classic fear mongering) into reversing the decision.

    They'll stop at nothing because for Republicans, the passing of this bill means it will choke the money they earn in the millions right out of their bank accounts.

    March 14, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  21. Bren

    I do not think that anything should be done to stop the Medicare and Social Security programs.........

    They are already in place, and it is too late now to reverse them without doing major damage in the lives of millions of people.

    However, they are a failure, and are ready to go bankrupt. The first thing that needs to be done-–is to prevent the millions of illegals from tapping into these systems--this alone will save billions.

    We do NOT need any more entitlement programs-–and Obamacare is definitely another enititlement program.

    Whether Obamacare passes or not.........Either way the Democrats lose, and Obamacare IS Obama's "Waterloo".

    If it does not pass.........the Republicans and majority of Independents are going to make sure that the Democrats get clobbered in the elections in November--–Plus, the Obama drones who were again looking for more freebies, will not show up at the polls.

    If it passes...........the Republicans and majority of Independents are going to make sure that the Democrats get clobbered in the elections in November.

    March 14, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  22. Ann

    The health care bill is just a political tool for these people. "Passing health care bill can help Dems in midterms"..

    Jobs, jobs, jobs.. this was supposed to be the immediate goal, not spending, spending, spending.

    March 14, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  23. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    If passing healthcare reform helps Dems then it means helping millions of American children and families who are in desperate need. Americans sent representatives to Washington to help Americans and no deprive Americans.

    March 14, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  24. Don in Grand Rapids, Mi

    I totally agree with arod, passing this monster will help the dummycrats out of DC and back to the unemployment lines!

    March 14, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  25. DP

    OK Guest. Here is a simple response. How come I will be forced to pay a tax that others are exempt and denied benefits? Why should the government have the right to take money from me that I worked hard to earn just because someone else makes less? When I was working in a lumber yard, I had to wait tables to make extra money to cover my health insurance. Why can't others do the same? Why is the Democrat answer to everything always tax others? Have you even read the bill? Have you seen the excerpts stating the government can dictate what plans must offer? Have you seen the parts that state the government can tax your plan and force it out of existence if it does not meet their standards? I am already forced to pay into ponzi schemes with social security and medicare. If you do not believe me, look up the definition. Current workers are paying into them to cover those receiving benefits. What makes you think Congress can manage more health care responsibilities. Just because you want a free ride off those who worked hard to make a comfortable living does not give you the right to just take money from me. Last question. What are you going to do for the next four years when the government is taxing us and not providing any benefits?

    March 14, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
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