Bayh: Dems counting on health bill's popularity rebounding by elections

Democrats are betting on a rebound in popularity for their healthcare bill going into this fall's elections, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) said Monday night.

Bayh, a centrist Democrat who recently announced his retirement at the end of his term next year, said that President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress are counting on the bill becoming more popular once it's enacted.

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"That is the bet, that some of the misconceptions out there will be proven to be false between now and the election," Bayh said during an appearance on the "Charlie Rose Show" when asked if the Obama administration was expecting healthcare's popularity to turn around.

"I think they are betting the myths will be dispelled, and it's better to look strong and effective than it is to look weak and ineffectual," Bayh added. "I think that's another part of the calculus there."

Current polling shows that while a number of individual elements in the healthcare bills before Congress are popular, the overall bills have suffered from poorer approval ratings.

The healthcare efforts in Congress have been seen as a major factor going into this fall's midterm elections, where Republicans hope to use it as a catalyst for winning seats, and maybe taking back one or both houses of Congress.


Republicans dismissed the likely of a bounce in popularity, with one Senate GOP aide saying, "That’s like New Jersey fans counting on the Nets to come back from their 6-53 record to win the NBA Championship."

Bayh acknowledged the tough road ahead for Democrats, relating to the health bill and impending elections, saying that no easy path was available.

"Frankly, from just a purely political standpoint, it's a difficult road for the Democrats whichever path we take," he said.

"The health care debate has gone against the Democratic Party for a number of reasons some of which are without merit and some of which you can argue back and forth," Bayh later added. "I don't think the use of the reconciliation process will matter that much to the American people. They want to know about the substance. And so if they're concerned that it's going to run up the deficit and that kind of thing or raise their taxes, even if it's not true, that may work against us."

This post was updated at 12:03 p.m.