Axelrod: Halting health reform 'not an option'

The Obama administration will mind what the Massachusetts special election said about health reform, but not back off its longstanding effort, a senior advisor stressed Wednesday.

David Axelrod, a White House senior advisor, said it's "not an option" for President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress to abandon healthcare reform after roughly a year of formal efforts to craft and pass legislation.

"We will take that into account and then we’ll decide how to move forward," Axelrod said during an appearance on MSNBC. "But it's not an option simply to walk away from a problem that's only going to get worse."

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Axelrod, along with White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, acknowledged that voters' frustration toward health reform plans in Washington contributed in part to Republican Scott Brown's win in the normally-Democratic state, but emphasized that voters' anger extended well beyond healthcare.

"Healthcare is an aspect of it; but it's far broader than that," Gibbs said on MSNBC. 

Democrats are floating a number of ideas on how to proceed on healthcare in the wake of last night's election results, including breaking up the bill, having the House pass the bill, and waiting altogether until Brown joins the Senate to see how to proceed.

Gibbs assessed voters' anger as frustration toward the slowness with which the U.S. has been working to raise itself out of a deep recession, while dealing with other major reasons.

"I think for a lot of reasons, the first of which is change takes a long time to happen," Gibbs said of the reasons for Brown's win in Massachusetts. "And it takes the American people even longer to feel that."