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Obama agenda: Health-care 'stalemate'

The White House is full-court pressing today’s anniversary with administration officials in 15 events across the country and the release of a video, showing the president making a phone call to a student at Michigan State University who was able to stay on his mother’s health insurance plan. The video also includes a map highlighting voices of others in different states across the country who have benefited from the plan.

But, as the Washington Post’s Weiner writes, there is a “political stalemate” on health care. Polls haven’t budged much. In fact, they have ticked more negative over the past year. “After privately conceding that they had lost the message war during much of the process-dominated fight surrounding the health care law, White House officials predicted that health-care legislation would become more popular once it was passed, arguing that the ugly congressional battle had colored peoples’ views,” the Post writes. “The law did get a post-passage bump in polls, with slightly more people in favor than opposed. But the administration’s longer-term education effort around the bill hasn’t done much to build momentum for the law.”

Evidence of that, aside from the above-mentioned polls, also comes fresh today from CNN and Gallup. CNN’s finds a 37%-59% split of those who support the measure vs. those who oppose it. “That's basically unchanged from last March, when 39 percent supported the law and 59 percent opposed the measure,” CNN writes.

And Gallup also finds a slightly more negative split from March 2010 to this month. By a 49%-40% margin, Americans saw the health-care law as a “good thing” in March 2010. Now, the law is a net-negative, with 46% saying it is a “good thing,” but 49% saying it is a “bad thing” with Republicans most solidly in opposition.

While decisions disputing the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care law wind through the courts, individual advocacy groups are holding events to commemorate the law’s one-year birthday. Meanwhile, the Obama administration is celebrating the anniversary by focusing attention on the parts of the law that have already taken effect, like the high-risk coverage polls which have 12,500 enrollees, and the $250 rebate check that was mailed out to 4 million older Americans to help cover prescription-drug costs. “In lieu of data, administration officials are spotlighting testimonials from people who have been helped,” the Washington Post writes.

The Hill: “To combat GOP claims that reform amounts to a government takeover of healthcare, the Obama administration has been eager to tout its willingness to bend some of the rules for those who can’t match the law’s rigorous requirements. But these efforts have opened the White House to even more criticism. Republicans charge that the 1,000-plus organizations that have received a temporary exemption from the law’s new annual benefit requirements are proof the law doesn’t work, or that those exemptions are gifts to Democratic allies. That has put Democrats in the awkward position of defending bare-bones health plans they dislike in order to preserve stability in the insurance market.”