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.
When I moved from Boston to Georgia ten years ago they told me about grits and pork rinds, warned me about the bugs, and assured me there would be a lot less snow. They did not tell me that belonging to a church is required by statute and that I would be the only liberal between Atlanta and the Canary Islands.
There are, however, Yellow Dogs. These are Southerners who would vote for a Golden Retriever if it were running as a Democrat. That these people would be called Republicans if they lived in New England does not make me one bit less grateful that they exist.