OBAMA’S SUBTLE MESSAGE TO CONGRESSIONAL DEMS…. President Obama devoted his weekly address yesterday to passing health care reform, and emphasized a few angles that haven’t traditionally been part of his pitch. For example, he said Congress “owes the American people an up-or-down vote on health insurance reform” — and then repeated the “up-or-down vote” message again in his conclusion.

The president also noted that he’s “eliminating special provisions that had no place in health care reform,” and specifically rejected Republican demands to “start over.”

But of particular interest, Obama noted that while it would “take a few years to fully implement” the entire reform package, there are “numerous protections and benefits that would start to take effect this year.”

“This year, small business owners will receive tax credits to purchase health insurance.

“This year, thousands of uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions will finally be able to purchase coverage. Insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. And they will no longer be allowed to drop your coverage when you get sick.

“This year, all new insurance plans will be required to offer free preventive care to their customers — so that we can start catching preventable illnesses and diseases on the front end. There will no longer be lifetime limits or restrictive annual limits on the amount of care you receive. Young adults will be able to stay on their parents’ insurance policy until they’re 26 years old. And there will be a new, independent appeals process for anyone who feels they were unfairly denied a claim by their insurance company.

“Finally, seniors who fall into the gap in coverage known as the donut hole will receive $250 to help them pay for their prescriptions.”

And who’s the intended audience for this? Ideally, Americans skeptical about reform will hear about these advantages and be more likely to support the proposal.

But it seems even more likely the president was offering congressional Democrats a reminder: get this done, and you’ll have popular reform measures to point to during your re-election campaigns.

Too subtle?

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.