In the key state of Louisiana, Sen. Mary Landrieu isn’t running away from Obamacare. She is using the ACA as weapon to point out how Republicans who have health insurance deny it to others.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Landrieu said:
“It’s a solid law that needs improvement,” Landrieu said. “My opponent offers nothing but repeal, repeal, and repeal. And even with all the law’s setbacks, we’re seeing benefits for thousands of people in Louisiana.”
“I think the benefits that people have received are worth fighting for,” Landrieu continued, citing an end to discrimination against preexisting conditions and extended coverage for young adults on parents’ plans. “I think Bill Cassidy is going to be at a distinct disadvantage. He has insurance, but he’s also denying it to the 242,000 people who fall into the Jindal gap. He also wants to take coverage away from tens of thousands who have gotten it for the first time.”
Sen. Landrieu’s comments represent the changing Democratic tactics on the ACA. Now that there is proof that the law is working and helping millions of people, Democrats can shift the healthcare debate to discussing what will happen if Republicans who want to repeal the law get their way.
Landrieu’s argument also echos the fairness argument that Democrats have bludgeoning Republicans with on various issues for the last three years. It’s not fair that her Republican opponents who have health insurance get to deny hundreds of thousands of people in her state who lack health care. It is a moral argument that moves the discussion past killing the ACA and puts Republicans on the defense about their position of repeal.
Mary Landrieu is in an uphill fight to keep her Senate seat. She has decided that she is not going to play defense, or adopt a pseudo-Republican position to keep her seat. Landrieu is defending the law, because she knows it is helping the people of her state. If Democrats rally around the law, instead of running from it, what Republicans assume was a strength will become a major weakness.
The better the news gets on the ACA, the more it becomes a weapon for Democrats. The great irony is that the same law that Republicans thought would carry them to victory in 2014 could be sowing the seeds of their most stinging defeat.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association