Q: What are people in your district saying about the health care law?
A: What has struck me decisively is how the public mood has switched from sort of the 30,000 foot policy debate of last August and has pivoted to very practical implementation-related questions today. The anger has been replaced with both curiosity and the need-to-know information. So instead of people talking about socialized medicine and how we’re going to be just like Great Britain, at town hall meetings this August it’s, “I’m 62 and I run a small business and I’ve got a pre-existing condition and is there going to be some kind of gap coverage for us between now and when we qualify for Medicare? Does the [insurance] plan my kid had to go off of because they were 21 and now they’re 24, [will the new law allow me to] get her back on the plan until she’s 26?” The policy debate is over for the public. We’re now in the implementation phase. How will that work? When will that work? How much? Do I qualify? Very practical kinds of questions.
Q: What else would you like to fix in the health care bill and what on your wish list is most likely to happen?
A: I think we really need to let it marinate a bit. I think one of the problems the opposition to health care reform has is that they so overstated the case. They were so into histrionics and intemperate charges in some cases – you know death panels and euthanasia – and that the world as we knew it was going to come to an end if we passed this legislation. Well when it didn’t, it forced people to take a second look at health care reform and I think that’s going on all across the country and you’re seeing that reflected in national polling.
Q: Are your colleagues who supported the health care bill worried it will be a major factor in their races?
A: Most of my colleagues are experiencing what I am describing to you. They are pleasantly surprised that health care isn’t going to get you. Health care alone is not going to get you. It’s on a palette of other things that you have to either positively assert or you have to defend. And everyone has their own narrative going into this election cycle in terms of what they’re going to say or defend or whatever. Health care is on that palette but it’s not going to be the dispositive issue the other side was hoping for just a few months ago and the press was saying it would be.
“Something that is beyond man is happening,” Beck said. “America today begins to turn back to God.”