Keep It Personal: Democrats are hoping to cut through the partisan warfare by bringing average American voters into the spotlight. Patient horror stories and first-person testimonials routinely peppered speeches during the debate over the bill itself. And Democrats are now trying to bring patients who’ve benefited from reform into the conversation. At the Tuesday press conference, Wasserman-Schultz explained how a twentysomething constituent with lupus was allowed to remain on her parents’ insurance plan. And she described a voter approaching her in a grocery store, grabbing her by the shoulders, and thanking her for passing legislation that saved her $3,000 in health care bills. “We need to tell it straight and talk real sense with real stories, to personalize this,” Levin said, adding that a similar approach helped the party fight off Social Security privatization during the Bush era.
Invoke Bipartisanship: Having lagged behind the GOP on the issue, Democrats have rapidly gotten more aggressive: In the past two days, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) demanded that all Republican opponents of health reform drop their federal health plans (only a tiny handful have done so), and Senate Democratic leaders have slammed incoming House Speaker John Boehner for threatening to take away a drug discount for Medicare patients that went into effect on January 1. But for the moment, at least, Democratic leaders have still adopted a conciliatory tone toward the GOP as they attack health care repeal. “I am hopeful that we can work together,” said Hoyer, describing the handoff to the House Republican leadership as a “very positive transition” with a “much better attitude” than in the past.