President Obama’s campaign for health care reform by this fall, once considered highly likely to succeed, suddenly appears in real jeopardy.
Top White House advisers, especially chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, are still privately predicting massive changes to the health care system
in 2009. But for the first time, Democrats on Capitol Hill and in the administration are expressing frank worries about stronger-than-expected opposition from moderate Democrats and worse-than-expected estimates for how much the plan could cost.
And those business groups that Obama claimed to have squarely in his corner? Not so much.
Business groups, which had embraced the idea of reform and have been meeting quietly with Democrats for months in an effort to shape the legislation, now talk of spending millions of dollars to oppose the latest proposals out of Capitol Hill. And Democrats themselves are not united, with leading party figures making contradictory declarations about how far they should go to overhaul the system when deficits are soaring and prospects for an economic recovery remain cloudy.
The Democrats have given up on getting any substantial Republican support.
And top Democratic officials tell POLITICO they are increasingly pessimistic about getting any more Republican votes than they did on the stimulus package, with some aides referring to the idea of a bipartisan bill as “fool’s gold” — an unattainable waste of time.
It certainly didn’t help their cause when the CBO released their report that it would cost $1 TRILLION over 10 years to cover only 16 of the 50 million uninsured.
Add the devastating poll numbers with regards to the deficit to the equation and it the situation looks even more bleak for Obama.
It is way too soon to celebrate, but this certainly is encouraging news.