House Democratic leaders just did something very smart. In announcing the House reconciliation package and the CBO evaluation of it, the leaders had non-politicians talk about what the legislation would mean to them specifically.
A retired school teacher from Washington, DC talked about using her grocery and utility bill money to pay for her prescription drugs. (The reconciliation package would close the Medicare Part D donut hole and solve her problem.) An Illinois mother talked about having a $65,000 deductible for treatments related to her arthritis. (Democratic reform would prohibit insurers in the individual market from setting prices based on health status.) A small business owner from North Carolina talked about one of his employees who had cardiac bypass surgery, driving up premiums for the whole small group. (Democratic reform would put small groups into large pools and provide tax credits to small businesses to help them purchase coverage.) And a North Carolina woman diagnosed with breast cancer talked about how half her family’s income goes toward paying for her insurance and out-of-pocket medical expenses; her husband, meanwhile, is uninsured. (Under Democratic reform, individuals and families shopping for coverage on the open market would have protections to cap their out of pocket spending.)
There’s a reason House Democratic leaders chose two speakers from North Carolina. Both live in the district of Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler, who remains outside the yes column in terms of the House reconciliation bill. So even when she’s at a press conference, Pelosi is whipping.