What strategies were used to pass health reform?

David Axelrod • JULY 14, 2014

David Axelrod, political consultant and professor of politics at the University of Chicago, discusses the politics of health reform. He explains how in 2008 the Obama campaign had concerns about healthcare as an issue, and how the strategy of the campaign was to position candidate Obama in the political center. After the election, the administration decided to pursue health reform on the idea that if they did not achieve it in the first two years, it would not get done. According to Axelrod, a major challenge was that the focus of health reform was going to be on covering the uninsured, yet 85 percent of Americans had insurance. They ran the political risk, Axelrod says, of Americans feeling that health reform was benefitting "someone else." The strategy, therefore, was to speak about the issue in ways that demonstrated how the law helped the general public. Axelrod says he is optimistic about the survival of the law and the good achieved by the reform.

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