Sept. 30, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Health Care Takes Lead Role in GOP Strategy

“From the beginning of this Congress, the GOP has been more concerned with repairing their party and appealing to extremists than helping us get America moving again,” he said. “It’s a sad commentary for the party of Reagan that they now have become so pessimistic and negative.”

The senior Senate aide said that after the bill was signed into law, some Republicans were hesitant to criticize the health care reform package initially, fearing public backlash.

But any uncertainty about their message was dispelled as Republicans watched the negative receptions several Democrats received upon returning to their districts, the aide said.

Internal polling has also reaffirmed Republican beliefs that the American people have a dim view of the health care bill.

In an unreleased March survey by the Winston Group distributed to Congressional Republicans, respondents were asked whether they cared more about lowering the unemployment rate or the number of people uninsured, and 82 percent of respondents said reducing the number of unemployed was more important.

The poll, conducted March 23-24 — just after the final version of the bill passed the House — also reported that 62 percent said protecting the quality of their health care was more important than reducing the rate of uninsured.

John Feehery, president of the Feehery Group and a former Republican leadership staffer, said the Republican message was right on target.

“There is no way that this health care plan will be popular with most Americans,” Feehery said. “They should keep hammering on that and on the debt. The economy is coming back, but that is not because of the actions of the Obama administration. That is happening despite the actions of the Obama administration.”

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