The New York Times: Mark Penn participates in Room for Debate blog on Selling Health Care Reform to Voters

The New York Times Room for Debate: Selling Health Care Reform to Voters

Mark Penn participated in The New York Times Room for Debate blog, weighing in on the question of what President Obama needs to do to sell health care reform to the American people.

Cross Those Party Lines
Published July 29, 2009

The biggest problem with health care is that no one agrees on the solution, so people say they support reform but in practice the more they know about any specific answer, the more they have concerns. That is what happened in the ‘90s and what is happening now and why it is so much easier to shoot down a plan than to sell one.

The underlying tension is that 47 million Americans may not have coverage but hundreds of millions do and they worry that the stress and strains of trying to pay for the last 15 percent will cause their coverage to deteriorate or even be rationed as has happened in other countries.

Read Mark’s full post at The New York Times Room for Debate blog

Politico: The Strategy Corner with Mark Penn: End class warfare


Published July 29, 2009

It sounds so simple: Just tax the few to pay for social programs that benefit the many.

Yet no political idea — embodied by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s call to tax the wealthy to cover health care for everyone else — has ever proved more contentious. The country was founded on the principle of unlimited and unbounded opportunity. Despite what poll questions often appear to say, class warfare language, outside the Democratic primary electorate, has always been politically counterproductive, because it divides Americans from one another and from their own aspirations and dreams.

And class warfare could be especially problematic now, considering that many of the Democratic Party’s newest supporters are among the highest-income categories — groups that had previously voted overwhelmingly Republican.

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Politico: The Strategy Corner with Mark Penn: Health care reform done right


Published June 18, 2009

Everyone knows the story of what went wrong in 1993 with health care reform: virtually everything.

The plan was written by a White House task force, all the health care interests bitterly opposed it and spent heavily against it, the Republicans moved to kill it, Democrats in Congress got cold feet, and the reputations of Hillary Clinton and the Clinton administration were thrown for a loop. The 1994 midterm elections changed both houses of Congress, and for years afterward, health care reform was achieved only incrementally.

While Hillary Clinton and others spearheaded the move to cover 6 million children with the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, little else got done. Medical records remain a shambles, the medical malpractice system is broken, the number of uninsured is up and the Medicare trust fund is looking like a subprime mortgage.

The core political problem of health care is really not about all of the rhetoric or posturing. It’s about the math of universal health care.

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CNN: Mark Penn discusses the keys to success in healthcare reform on CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer

Democratic Strategist Mark Penn discusses the administration’s keys to success in passing healthcare reform, including gaining consensus and focusing on cost first. Mark and Alex Castellanos, Republican Strategist, also offer advice for the Republican leadership on shoring up support for the GOP.

Watch the video now on YouTube