Obama promised change, then he took on one of Washington's toughest issues; Universal healthcare reform.Obama said that he wanted to be the generation that says, "universal health care in America, we can do that!" He spoke no less than remaking America, but in the end were they just pretty words?
"Another day, another headache for president Obama." The president had staked his entire first term on this, and if it fell through his whole presidency could have gone downhill, fast. Everybody loved the idea of healthcare reform, but are they willing to pay the price that it will cost? When making a bill such as this, every option must be open for discussion and every idea must be on the table.
From the beginning, he was getting disapproval from even inside his own West wing. The White House had a debate about whether they should actually go forward with it, because no president had ever made headway on comprehensive health care reform. First, healthcare was not an option, but later, they decided just to scale healthcare back. V.P. Joe Biden opposed health care. Too many universal health care programs had died in Biden's time in Washington, and he saw the same fate for Obama's deal as all the others. Obama's economic team warned Obama that to fund a big program, with the recession still greatly affecting the people, was risky. Obama confided in Emanuel, looking to him for advice and counsel, as well as depending on vast experience on capitol hill. His aggressive deal making and experience made him an excellent candidate for helping launch the bill. But Obama's choice of an inside deal maker like Emanuel had surprised many of his supporters, and it was an immediate wake up call for his supporters that it wasn't going to be about bipartisanship and getting along. It was about doing anything to get Republican votes.
Emanuel told Obama that he needed to move fast because in the beginning he would be most powerful. In the end president Obama decided to go for health care right away to make a larger point. For Obama, it was not just about health care, it was about showing that he could solve the countries 'big' problems. Obama wasted no time putting health care reform on the agenda, stating that they can't afford to put health care reform on hold any longer. And at looked like an easy victory for the president, at first.
Failure, was not an option, it would be viewed not only as a failure but failure to govern, and an inability to use the 60 vote majority that they had in the Senate as well as the significant margin that they had in the House. If the Obama Administration failed, then there would be a tremendous political price to pay. Emanuel knew the political price that administrations paid when it lost the battle for health care reform. Sixteen years ago, he had worked in the Clinton administration, the Clinton effort to do health care was a classic example of a 'simple minded approach' to an incredibly complex and messy political issue.