Let’s Nudge Republicans Off Their Shaky Healthcare Cliff

If the Democrats can’t turn the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) into THE issue of the upcoming election and then win overwhelmingly with it, that omission will be the greatest example of political malfeasance in recent history and the party will deserve to lose.

Tea Party Republicans are on such shaky ground with their opposition to “Obamacare” that it would be a sin not to nudge and send them sprawling into the dirt. Better yet, the President and each Democrat running for congress (as well as for governor or attorney general in every Red state which sued over the mandate or is fussin’ over implementation) should rip the  health care plank out of the Republican platform and bash incumbents over the head with it.

First of all, quit digging down. Explanations don’t work, sound bites do. There was Nancy Pelosi on Sunday morning and Sheila Jackson Lee Monday afternoon explaining the fine points of taxes and penalties. Who gives a crap? The vehicle doesn’t matter, the intent does and the operative term is “freeloaders” as in “we are going to make sure that no one who can actually afford to be insured will freeload off the rest of us.”

Of course the Left doesn’t typically think that way. We want “universal health care.” We are concerned about people who find themselves sick or hurt and unable to pay for care. We also lose elections because that namby-pamby attitude is what the right hates most about us. The Right panders to the core values of greed and resentment. We may abhor it, but with health care we can beat them at their own game.

We must not let the issue die. Donny Deutsch, who usually has a pretty good divining rod for pop culture and advertising, said this morning that “health care is not an issue on which either side can dramatically win.” Wrong! Letting the issue drop will free Romney to return to the economy and his baseless claims of job-building skills. He and Obama are both vulnerable on those topics but only Republicans can be nailed over their opposition to health care.

First they were going to “repeal and replace.” On second thought maybe they will just repeal. Every Republican candidate should be forced to define which it is and if the former then precisely what will they replace AFA with and how will it deal with preexisting conditions and lifetime caps? The face of healthcare going forward must be made a major political issue but on our terms not theirs.

Next month 12.8 million Americans or their employers will share in $1 billion in health insurance rebates, an average of $151 per family. The dollar value is transitory; what needs to be hammered home to Americans is what the refunds signify.

• “The refund is coming because you were overcharged for your health care insurance this year.”

• “Can you just imagine how much the insurance companies have gouged you over the last five, ten, or 20 years?”

• Do you see (insert name of Republican candidate) caring that you have been overcharged?

• “In fact, the Republicans actually scheduled a vote to repeal ACA in July. If it had passed insurers would have been allow to rip up those refund checks only days before they were supposed to be mailed to you.”

These four simple points can be remixed to apply to every one of the AFC provisions – pre-existing conditions and transportability, keeping young adults on family policies, the shrinking donut hole – of which polls show Americans overwhelmingly approve – once they are taken out of the AFC context.

Not only has the left done a lousy job selling ACA but they have let the tall tales of $500 billion Medicare cuts and government interference in medical decisions stand unchallenged. These must be called out for what they are; not misinformation, not misstatements, but huge and intentional lies. The Tea Party has been able to spin these and other stories and watch them flourish because the left has banked on logic and the “intelligence of the American voter” to discredit and disbelieve them. This is where the grassroots can be invaluable; challenge the lying politicians; refute your friends’ and family member’s Fun Fox Facts with solid and documented information over and over again. If the “big lie” works, why wouldn’t the big truth once it sees the light of day?

The Right knows their audience. They know that their 30 years of building the Great Noise Machine while destroying the educational system has given them a gift of an intellectually defunct population. It is time that the left realize this as well and start talking to Americans on a level they understand, simple sound bites coupled with an appeal to greed and the growing American paranoia that tells them others might get something they won’t. Health care is a great issue for doing this.

9 Replies to “Let’s Nudge Republicans Off Their Shaky Healthcare Cliff”

  1. Best political idea I’ve read all day. Democrats can and should sell this. They should be able to do so with ease, because unlike most of the crap the GOP puts out, this is actually true.

  2. Couldn’t agree more. Great post. I hope to live long enough to see democrats fight like republicans. I don’t think It will ever happen but I can dream.

  3. Dems are on the offensive now (finally) The Repugs are bombing in their interviews because the press is asking uncomfortable questions that they don’t want to answer (again, finally). The right can only dodge the question about kids and adults with pre-existing conditions for so long before they start to look like the shady d***heads that they are.

    It IS that simple. The American people by an overwhelming majority want children and adults with pre-existing covered, period. The Republicans don’t have, nor do they intend on having, a plan to cover children and adults with pre-existing conditions, period. Show them for what they are… amoral, boot licking, corporate foot soldiers that don’t give a damn about the American people.

  4. Spot on article. We need a Frank Luntz on our side. Case in point on sound bites that work with the idiots who vote republican is that now they are using the terms ‘patient-centered’ solutions in a step-by-step common sense approach to replacing ACA. This crap is all Luntz-ian.
    Means nothing, and it just is used as a front to back their lies. The truth is the repubs do not plan on replacing ACA at all. They want it the way it was.

    Ruined our great Savings and Loan Institution
    Closed Fairness Doctrine that has Limbaugh types on our public airwaves
    Closed Revenue Sharing
    Since 1980, initiated our involvement in 10 foreign conflicts
    Repealed Glass Steagall—took deposits in over 7000 banks and put 50% in 5 (Too Big To Fail)
    and 80% in 10 (Too Big To Fail) Banks.
    Modernization of Commodity Markets—from investment to Casino Derivative Of America
    2 very dumb invasions of two of most unarmed and destitute nations.
    Ruined our International reputation as a Do Good Christian nation to Big Bully Devil
    Stood by as freak marketeers ruined our housing industry
    Stood by as Casino Derivative Of America ruined the world financial industry
    Impeached a great president for petty political gains that created a long term animosity between the parties
    Attempted to destroy the safety nets that make a great middle class
    Implemented Tax Codes that permitted a redistribution of Wealth to top (10%) who now own (73% )of Net Wealth and (83%) of Financial Wealth and take (50%)of all individual income
    They have taken America to a rank of (#2) as Least Taxed in OECD nations; (#2) as least taxed corporations; and sadly to (# 4) on Inequality.
    Since 1980, their Spend & Borrow policies, mainly, were responsible for adding 14,000 billion to our 1000B Debt when they started in 1981.
    Fought the Great GI Bill.
    Fought the WWII Draft
    Installed strict laws which have loaded our prisons with non-violent offenders which make us world leader in prison population

  6. How many seniors will appreciate their tea party republican Member of Congress forcing them back into the Medicare Prescription Drug donut hole?

  7. But the question is how many of them will know why it happened? My guess is the Republicans will manage to frame it as AOF – All Obama’s Fault.

  8. “Impeached a great president for petty political gains that created a long term animosity between the parties”

    I hope this doesn’t make me suddenly (or too) unpopular, but the situation was far more complex than that, and the end result was that some women didn’t receive justice. IMO, Clinton was nowhere near being a great president, and can’t hold a candle to President Obama. I also think he got off a bit easy.

    He’s not much better than Bush IMO. I especially have problems with his neoliberal policies.

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