Hoyer says Democrats have work to do selling the public on health care
January 18th, 2011
02:10 PM ET
11 years ago

Hoyer says Democrats have work to do selling the public on health care

Washington (CNN) - As the House of Representatives prepares for a vote on Wednesday to repeal the health care law, the No. 2 House Democrat acknowledged Tuesday that Democrats have fallen short selling the public on the benefits of the law, and predicted the issue will be central in the 2012 presidential contest.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, asked by CNN about polls showing Americans are almost evenly split on whether to repeal the health care law, said those polls are evidence that Democrats have work to do. "Apparently none of us did a good enough job because public opinion is divided, and they are unsure of whether this legislation is going to be positive for them and their families."

During his weekly session with reporters, Hoyer said he believed health care will continue to be a major focus and will be central in the 2012 presidential election. "Clearly the president is up for re-election, this was a signature issue of his. He cared very deeply about it and I think that he's certainly going to be talking about it between now and the election, because I think it's going to be a very important issue in the election."

Asked about the tone of the debate, following a week's delay on the vote because of the Arizona shootings, Hoyer said leaders did not direct rank-and- file Democratic members how to discuss the GOP's health care repeal bill. But he added, "My expectation is that members will heed their own advice and the advice of others, and will I hope address the issues in a way that will deal with them on the merits and deal with them on a basis of respect for the contrary views, but state them strongly as to why this is important to defeat or to pass."

Referring to the House Republicans, Hoyer said, "Hopefully the rhetoric on their side will be the merits of why they believe alternatives will work better."

Filed under: Democrats • Health care • Steny Hoyer
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. jenn, philadelphia

    2 years prior to passage and how ever many months since didn't get the sales job done. What does he think they can add to the discussion now? And why didn't they use it earlier?

    January 18, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  2. Bob in PA

    Obviously that was something they didn't do the first time !

    January 18, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  3. Four and The Door

    Obama pretty much spent a year and how much prime time TV to spread the gospel of ObamaCare? Believe me Steny, this has been marketed up the wazoo.

    Hey, I know! Why don't you tell us this time how it will actually be paid for? Oh yeah, and explain how it will save us money considering that our health care insurance costs have already gone up faster because of it?

    January 18, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  4. Ancient Texan

    Uh, Steny, we've heard those exact words from the President. The public now knows what is in that ridiculus law and how it was passed, and they don't want it. It needs to be replaced with something else, and should include tort reform and competition across state lines. And be volutary and cost reducing.

    January 18, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  5. Video Guy

    I'm sold on it. So leave it along or work with the Dems on some improvements. Also how about telling the NRA to keep their money and work on gun control.

    January 18, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  6. Will

    Here are some of our "rights" with Obamacare:
    1. You will have the right to lose your job as employers struggle to comply with expensive mandates. According to labor economist Diana Furchtgott-Roth, those hit hardest will be younger, less-skilled workers. The cost of employing them will soar as employers are required to buy health insurance that may cost as much as a lower-wage person’s annual earnings.

    High-tech workers will be hit as well. The $20 billion tax on medical-device companies, to take one example, will force companies to lay off researchers and curtail development of new products. And tens of thousands of insurance brokers will lose their livelihoods because of arbitrary regulations from Washington.

    2. As a taxpayer, you will have the right to see the federal debt soar as Congress’s budget gimmicks face economic reality. According to former CBO director Doug Holtz-Eakin, Obamacare will cost nearly $1 trillion more than estimated as employers begin dropping health insurance and sending people to the new taxpayer-subsidized exchanges instead.

    3. As a business owner, you will have the right to comply with the expensive new mandates in Obamacare or drop coverage and pay fines instead. You will have the right to keep the IRS informed about the coverage you are offering and its cost. And you will have the right to stop hiring and keep your business smaller than 50 people to escape Obamacare’s fines and mandates.

    4. As an employee, you will have the right to lose the coverage you have now as you and 80 to 100 million people (according to McKinsey & Company analyst Alissa Meade) are switched to other coverage when Obamacare takes effect in 2014.

    5. As a citizen, you will have the right to have the government decide what health insurance you must have and to either buy the expensive policy or pay a fine.

    6. If you are a young person, you will have the right to pay higher premiums for mandatory health insurance to subsidize people who are older and sicker.

    7. If you are a senior, you will have the right to see half a trillion dollars taken out of Medicare to pay for new health-insurance entitlements — a move allegedly designed to make Medicare stronger.

    8. If you are in a Medicaid Advantage plan, you and 7 million other seniors will have the right to go back into traditional Medicare and take your chances at finding a doctor who will see you.

    9. If you are already on Medicaid, you will have the right to compete with millions more people trying to get appointments with doctors, especially specialists.

    10. If you are one of the estimated 16 million people who will be added to the Medicaid rolls in 2014, you will have the right to wait in hospital emergency rooms for even routine care as the program swells to 87 million recipients by the end of the decade. (As many as 900,000 additional emergency room visits every year are expected — primarily by new enrollees in Medicaid — and from many of the 23 million people who will remain uninsured.)

    11. If you are a doctor or nurse, you will have the right to receive lower Medicare payments while filling out mountains of new paperwork to satisfy government “quality reporting” requirements.

    12. If you have child-only health insurance, you have the right to lose that coverage as more insurers exit the market. And you have the right to lose dependent coverage entirely as many employers decide it’s just too expensive to offer.

    13. If you are an insurance company, you will have the right to figure out how you are going to continue to pay premiums as government adds more expensive, mandatory benefits but caps premium increases at less than the cost of providing the coverage.

    14. If you have a preexisting condition and are in a temporary high-risk pool, you and 8,000 others enrolled in the $5 billion program will have the right to pay high costs for your health insurance in the poorly designed program.

    15. If you are a governor or state legislator, you will have the right to figure out what state services you will cut further — education? transportation? public safety? — to comply with the federal mandate that you expand Medicaid and set up the huge health-exchange bureaucracies. You also have the right to sue the federal government to protect your state’s rights.

    January 18, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. Dean

    The new bill on healthcare does nothing to address the cost of healthcare. Why can I buy a prescription drug in Canada for less than a third of the cost in the U.S.?
    I used to work in a mental health center and drug reps would bring lunch for all 80 employees on an almost weekly basis. There was one psychiatrist on staff and he didn't prescribe any drugs for purchase, they all patients were indigent and received drugs from the manufacturers at greatly reduced cost. The cost for lunch usually amounted to close to $1000.00. How much must it cost for lunches for all medical facilities in the U.S.?
    If these types of costs were eliminated our healthcare costs would be greatly reduced.

    January 18, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Great timing by the Democrats to hit a home run selling HC to the public while Republicans fight a political losing battle which ultimately will cost them collateral damage.

    January 18, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  9. Protect and Defend Freedom of Speech in the USA

    I can't decide if the Democrats are completely clueless and incompetent, if they actually believe their own rhetoric or if they think the American people are complete morons. They tried to "sell" this steaming pile of horse dung called "reform" for one solid year. The more they "sold" it the more it was rejected. Nov. 2nd was a message that the clueless Democrats just didn't get. When they all get tossed in 2012, maybe then they will get it. But somehow I doubt it. It will still be because we are all just too darn dumb to understand they know better what is best for us.

    January 18, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. Julia- Idaho Native American

    Okay, repeal, all the millions of americans go to your nearest emergency room, they can't refuse you care., Thank you Presiden Reagan for signin' that into law. Let's see 10- 12 ED visits a year at every hospital in the country, times how many americans without health insurance," Oh lets say 34 million, now we're talkin some money, how much is an ED visit, oh about 500 – if you're really sick could be as much as a couple of thousand, Well My goodness that certainly will cause the hospitals and doctors to increase their fees to the americans that are lucky enough to have health insurance, oh yeah, like all the congressmen and senators, even if you don't have insurance and are workin' you're payin for theirs. Tax dollars doin' the most good for the politicians, and to hell with you. Right? Yep! okay, now the insurance companies are going to say, we ain't payin that much, so they cut your benefits and pay about 1/2 or 1/3 of what they were payin' hospitals have to balance their budgets off the backs of the workers, lower wages, now my goodness, we can see the end of the health care system as we know it. Only the rich(and the politicians) will have health care. No we won't "Eat Cake," and we won't just "Die Quickly," nobody cares until the problems are dumped on their door steps. Time to change this country and get back to for the people and by the people. Healthcare for all it's the moral thing to do. Jeez!

    January 18, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  11. Sue

    That is why the health care law is coming to a vote on the House floor-and hopefully the Senate floor as well.

    They want to make sure that all voters for the 2012 election are very much aware of who voted in favor of the health care bill, and who voted against it.

    Being that the Democrats got clobbered in November 2010, and tried to hide the fact that they voted for Obamacare--I would not want to be a Democrat voting in favor of the healh care bill again, and have to face the voters in 2012.

    January 18, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  12. Inmyopinion

    It can't be positive for any of us if the bottom line to the Health Care Bill is that we have to pay a tax to the IRS if we don't buy an insurance policy. And if we don't pay the Tax to the IRS will the IRS garnish our salaries plus charge us an interest and even lien our property or levy our bank account all because we didn't buy a health insurance policy??????

    January 18, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Nothing needs to be sold. We brought the first time around even with all the lies and misinformation that was told about it. Example: DEATH PANELS
    Now that people and seniors realize that Jack Kivorkian isn't going to kill grandma, they like the plan. Seniors really like the closing of the donut hole. Parents really like that they can keep their kids on their plans up until 26. Everyone really likes that insurance companies can't discriminate for having a pre-existing condition. If you want to sell something to the American people, try selling complete universal healthcare and get away for this for profit system. PLEASE sell that to me!!!

    January 18, 2011 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |