Julianna Goldman and Nicholas Johnston
Sunday, September 6, 2009
President Barack Obama returns to Washington next week in search of one thing that can revive his health-care overhaul: a sense of crisis.
Facing polls showing a drop in his approval, diminished support from independents, factions within his Democratic Party and a united Republican opposition, Obama must recapture the sense of urgency that led to passage of the economic rescue package in February, analysts said.
“At the moment, except for the people without insurance, we’re not in a health-care crisis,” said Stephen Wayne, a professor of government at Georgetown University in Washington. “You do need a crisis to generate movement in Congress and to help build a consensus.”
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Obama speaks to labor leaders on Sept. 7 and to a joint session of Congress on Sept. 9 as he attempts to rebuild support for his top domestic priority, one that affects 17 percent of the economy. Lawmakers, trying to extend coverage to millions of uninsured Americans and rein in costs, are considering mandates on employers to provide coverage, new rules for insurers, and creating a government program to compete with private insurers such as Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc.
Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said the administration made unprecedented health-care progress in eight months.
This article was posted: Sunday, September 6, 2009 at 6:45 am