Republicans have vowed to use Obamacare implementation problems as a weapon against Dems in the 2014 elections. Will Dems be spooked by the prospect of implementation becoming an albatross, or will they stand behind the law and refuse to get baited into running away from it?
The immediate answer appears to be the latter: National Dems are planning to seize on today’s House GOP vote to repeal Obamacare — the 37th such vote — to hammer Republican Senate candidates as more interested in grandstanding for the Tea Party base than in solving people’s problems.
The DSCC is putting out press releases in the districts of multiple House Republicans today who are either running for Senate, or are contemplating a run, highlighting today’s vote for Obamacare repeal. Here’s the release that hits three GOP Members of Congress in Georgia who are running for Senate:
Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey, and Jack Kingston are far more interested in scoring partisan political points than helping middle class Georgians, and voting for the 37th time to repeal health care reform proves it. Georgia voters want their representatives in Congress working on common sense reforms to our health care system, not wasting the country’s time with meaningless stunts designed to score political points. Broun, Gingrey, and Kingston’s reckless waste of taxpayers’ time and resources only threatens to take us back to the time when insurance companies could discriminate and deny coverage for people with preexisting conditions, drop you from your plan when you get sick, and kick children off their parents’ health care before they turn 26.
As a result of the Affordable Care Act, health care is more available and more affordable for all Americans and repealing it would have an instant impact on seniors and middle class families. Medicare benefits for seniors, including prescription drug coverage, and coverage for preventive-care benefits, like mammograms and free wellness visits, would be cut immediately.
The same release will hit GOP Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Mike Rogers and Justin Amash of Michigan, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, and William Cassidy of Louisana — all of whom are running or contemplating a Senate run. Meanwhile, the DCCC is releasing robocalls in the districts of 10 House Republicans hitting them over today’s repeal vote.
It remains to be seen how individual Dem candidates will act if implementation problems kick in, and no doubt there will be cases where they run from the law or criticize implementation in an unhelpful way, as Max Baucus did when he predicted the possibility of a “train wreck.” But the early move by the Dem party committees suggests Dems believe the best way to push back on GOP efforts to turn implementation into a liability is to highlight the political nature of the party’s never-ending drive to repeal health reform, and their refusal to offer any meaningful alternative to replace it. The idea is to bolster the case that Republicans are simply uninterested in solving people’s problems — while continuing to highlight the law’s benefits — in the belief that even if Obamacare implementation may be problematic, voters certainly don’t want to return to the pre-reform free-for-all of the past.
Democrats can — and should — continue to make this case even as they simultaneously call for Obamacare implementation to be done carefully, and criticize it when it goes awry. Dems can do this while continuing to stand squarely behind the law’s goal of expanding coverage to those who don’t have it. The early evidence is that this is how Dems plan to proceed.