March 22nd, 2010
12:19 AM ET

Obama hitting road to sell health benefits

President Barack Obama plans to hit the road this week to start aggressively selling the benefits of the health care overhaul and give nervous Democratic lawmakers some political cover across the country, according to three Democratic officials familiar with the plans.

The president will take many such trips in the weeks ahead, following up on promises to push back on Republican attacks in the months leading up to the November mid-term elections, the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to publicly discuss the emerging White House strategy.

Which cities Obama will visit were not immediately available.

One of the officials said, though there was no quid pro quo, the White House had "strongly intimated" to lawmakers that Obama "would go out and sell this thing" after they passed the health care overhaul.

"We're certainly going to be out there," said a second Democratic official familiar with the president's plans. "We think this is a tremendous step forward for individuals and small businesses. We want them to know what comes next."

Organizing for America, Team Obama's grass-roots organization, has collected pledges from people nationwide for a total of 9.3 million volunteer hours to campaign for lawmakers who supported the overhaul, according to the Democratic officials.

Late Sunday evening, Organizing for America planned to send an e-mail from the president to its list of about 13 million supporters. The e-mail will thank Democratic lawmakers for their votes and will tout the benefits of the overhaul. No Republicans voted for it.

Organizing for America is already circulating a list of "Key Provisions That Take Effect Immediately" to help lawmakers counter the belief that many of the benefits do not kick in for several years.

Their talking points on provisions that kick in quickly tout 18 provisions, including:

  • tax credits for small businesses of up to 35 percent of insurance premiums (immediately)
  • free preventive care under Medicare (starting in 2011)
  • an end to "recissions" by banning insurance companies from dropping people from coverage when they get sick (six months after enactment)
  • no discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions (within six months); and
  • a prohibition on health insurance companies from placing lifetime caps on coverage (also within six months).
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Matt

    Obama is an insurance company rep now and everyone has to buy. Government run healthcare will be a complete failure. Neither the Democrats or Republicans can get anything right , and i'm sure this will fall right into that same category.

    March 22, 2010 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
  2. Ammon

    They have their work cut out for them. Nothing angers a voter more than their representatives ignoring them and voting accordingly. The nation isn't against health care reform, but they were against how it was done. And contrary to what Obama said, the people DO care about procedure. China gets a lot done, is that kind of procedure o.k.? It is sad when a country is led to believe that the government should be the savior of all in every situation. The government can only give what it takes from someone else. Something is not a right if it must be taken from someone else or if someone else must labor to produce it. As the American people are further taught they should live of as many people as they can for as much as they can you will see the caliber of this nation dwindle until we are just another weak European welfare nation. And the charity argument? Charity isn't charity if its obligatory. If its obligatory it becomes legal theft. Anywho, November will be the big tell-all. That, and the multiple supreme court cases that will emerge from this.
    Side note: Had Obama put this plan to a national vote, I would have been o.k. with it passing even though I disagree with the foundation upon which it is based, as I believe in a majority rule. But he didn't..........

    March 22, 2010 at 4:31 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jay

    Glad to see it go through. I am independent voter. This is a victory for all of us. Insurance companies thought they were invisible and above all of us. Its ashame how people misunderstand the government role and fear it and thats to provide to the public. Glad to see health insurance is a right not a priviledge.

    March 22, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |