Obama's New Job: Fight Reform Skepticism


Passing health care reform is clearly a major political victory for President Obama, but it's not the end of the road. It's the beginning of a whole new campaign of trying to convince a skeptical public that passing it was the right thing to do, reports CBS News correspondent Chip Reid.

Just two months after his health care reform plan looked all but dead, Mr. Obama was reveling in victory shortly before midnight Sunday night.

"This legislation will not fix everything that ails our health care system, but it moves us decisively in the right direction," the president said. "This is what change looks like."

Complete Coverage: Health Care Reform

The change though will be phased in gradually over a period of years. With only 37 percent of Americans approving of the plan poll, Democrats scheduled the most popular provisions to go into effect this year.

Those components include:

• cracking down on insurance companies
• banning cancellation when someone gets sick
• banning coverage denials for children due to pre-existing conditions
• allowing children up to age 26 to remain on their parents' polices
• issuing subsidies for small businesses to help insure their workers
• rebating seniors for up to $250 if they exceed their Medicare prescription drug benefits

Next year, the drug coverage gap known as the doughnut hole will begin to be phased out altogether.

"This isn't radical reform, but it is major reform," are the words the president used to describe the bill Sunday night but much of the pain in the Democrats' plan is saved for later years.

In 2013, taxes will rise for couples making more than $250,000 a year and for individuals making above $200,000.

Not until 2014 do many of the plan's major provisions go into effect.

That's when Medicaid will expand to cover about 16 million low-income Americans. Those Americans still uninsured will be required to buy coverage on new state-run insurance exchanges. Some will get tax credits to help pay for it, but those who remain uncovered will have to pay a penalty.

So, too, will small businesses with more than 50 employees that don't provide coverage.

Despite more than 50 speeches by the president on health reform, the CBS News poll shows 54 percent of Americans are still confused, which means the president still has a lot of selling to do. It won't be easy.

"The more he has talked about it, the more unpopular the legislation has become," said CBS News political analyst John Dickerson. "Now that it has passed, we will get a test of the president's ability to persuade and convince people."

The president will begin his new sales campaign with a speech at the White House Tuesday when he signs the bill. On Thursday, he'll go to Iowa, where he first proposed a health care plan as a presidential candidate almost three years ago.

More Coverage of Health Care Reform

Poll: Most Give Obama Credit for Health Care Bill
Poll: Most Say Health Care Fight About Politics, Not Policy
Health Bill Will Likely Be Signed Tuesday
Health Care Bill: What's in it?
Texas Republican Behind "Baby Killer" Remark
Palin: Health Care Vote a "Clarion Call" to Action
Nine Events That Led to Passage of Health Care Reform
Obama's Next Task: Selling the Health Care Bill
McCain: Dems Haven't Heard End Of Debate
Poll: Health Care Reform Still Confusing
Obama: "This is What Change Looks Like"

  • Chip-Reid_bio_140x100_bw.jpg
    Chip Reid

    Chip Reid is CBS News' national correspondent.