President Obama is bungling the health care and losing control of his message. Here is what he needs to do to save face on health care:
1. Abandon the Public Option: Obama is losing the public option argument, and with it, he hazards losing credibility as a public servant. He should concede defeat and move on.
Bill Clinton abandoned his universal health care proposal, and it did not prevent him from winning a second term as the Democratic nominee. Obama should take a lesson from the last Democratic president.
2. Stop Scaring Seniors: About 38 million Americans, ages 65 and older are insured through Medicare. Some seniors receive Medicaid. Obama keeps promising coverage for the uninsured paid for in part through savings in these programs. He is also curiously referencing "end of life" care. Regardless of intent, this is menacing rhetoric, and seniors did not have a dog in the public option debate until Obama starting talking about changes to their health coverage.
3. Stop Demonizing the Private Sector: Democrats are promoting the public sector over the private sector, and in turn, polarizing the health care issues. According to Rasmussen Reports, 51% of the nation's voters fear the federal government more than private insurance companies.
By attacking private insurance companies and promoting government, Obama and the Democrats risk leading the nation into an intractable dispute.
4. Try the Little Things First: There are many reforms that should prove appealing to the GOP; reforms that Obama could suggest in the name of lower health care costs and expanded choice. Allowing consumers to purchase insurance over state lines is one idea. Tweaking the tax treatment of health insurance is another. Something as simple as encouraging people with access to coverage to enroll for coverage could immediately lower the number of uninsured Americans. There are other examples, too, but the point is, if Obama passes just one of these reforms, he will be able to claim political, bipartisan victory on health care, and in the process, deliver the "change" he so often promised.
Christopher Coffey is a FOX News Channel employee. He is a veteran of several Republican political campaigns.