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Now Democrats must sell health plan to voters

Los Angeles Times, December 22, 2009

With a healthcare overhaul inching closer to reality, Democrats looking to next year's midterm elections plan to market the bill as a way to help voters who are focused more on unemployment and the economy. The chances of passing healthcare legislation rose significantly Monday, with a Senate vote that put it on track to clear the chamber by Christmas. A sour public mood may make matters tough for Democrats, whose comfortable congressional majority will be at risk. Party leaders hope to minimize concerns that many of the health bill's provisions would not take effect until 2014. That is when, for example, a new health insurance marketplace would open, with the goal of making it easier for consumers to find policies. Democratic leaders in the House and Senate are compiling lists of "immediate benefits" that would spring from passage of the bill, which still must emerge from the Senate and be reconciled with a version approved by the House.