Two freshly elected Democrats are wavering in their support of healthcare reform, as a rancorous summer series of “town hall” debates appears to be hardening opposition
against the Obama administration.
Frank Kratovil and Tom Perriello
, who as freshmen congressmen would be expected to back the party leadership, both say proposals for expanding coverage to the uninsured are unacceptable in their current form and should focus more on cost savings.
Kratovil, who was hanged in effigy by a healthcare protester at a town hall meeting in his state of Maryland, said he would have voted against legislation if it had come to a vote last month
Tom Perriello, another new representative from neighbouring Virginia, also says he is not yet ready to support the current proposals in the House of Representatives, partly because he is “still getting feedback from . . . constituents
In spite of hopes by proponents of reform that voters would be turned off by the sometimes ugly scenes, a poll yesterday from USA Today gave an indication that the debates were having the opposite effect.
Some 34 per cent of respondents said the demonstrations had made them more sympathetic to the protesters, while 21 per cent said they were less sympathetic
. In the all-important independents grouping, 35 per cent against 16 per cent
said they were now more sympathetic to the protesters – a margin of more than two to one
The Obama administration was on Thursday attempting to regain the initiative with a self-described “chain” e-mail from the senior adviser David Axelrod
, pointing to a series of “myths and facts” in the debate.
But the “myths” identified by David Axelrod, one of Mr Obama’s chief advisers, themselves highlight how the healthcare dispute has spilt out of the White House’s control