Hoyer Says Democrats Going on Offense Over August

Posted July 30, 2009 at 12:39pm

Faced with sagging approval for Democrats’ health care plans heading into the August recess, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Thursday that his party will have a more focused message buoyed by deals emerging from both the House and Senate.Hoyer said in a sit-down with reporters that Republicans had succeeded in demagoguing the issue and scaring the public using GOP strategist Frank Luntz’s talking points.“People are concerned that what they now have and they feel reasonably comfortable with, about 85 percent of them, will somehow be diminished, or cost more, or not be as reliable,— Hoyer said, adding that those fears are unwarranted.But while acknowledging that the latest polling isn’t encouraging, Hoyer also noted that the numbers show most Americans want a reform package to pass.“We think this accomplishes what the American public voted for,— he said. “We’re excited about where we are.—Hoyer said Democrats are going to counter GOP attacks over the August break with aid from numerous business and other groups that back the majority’s proposals. “We’re going to be on the air, we’re going to be in neighborhoods,— he said. “We’re going to have a lot of help.—Hoyer said the deal cut with Blue Dogs this week showed that consensus in the House is emerging on key parts of the health care bill, including a public insurance option competing with private insurance plans and exempting most small businesses from a new employer mandate.Democrats will also try to target the majority of people who like their current insurance by noting the benefits for them, Hoyer said. They will tout an end to limits on their benefits that often bankrupt the sick, a ban on excluding sick people and lower costs because their plans will no longer have to pay for uncompensated care for the uninsured.The Majority Leader dismissed the failures of both chambers to pass a health bill before the August break as akin to a reporter asking for more time from his editor before turning in a draft of a story that won’t be printed for another month.He also said that he didn’t buy into the argument made by some Members that the House should have pushed for a health care deal first and pushed off its energy package until later in the year.“I don’t think it would have made much difference,— he said.Hoyer pointed to the Senate. “They didn’t do energy, and it’s still tough for them.—