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Obama's signature on Affordable Care Act
President Obama's signature on the Affordable Care Act.
The handful of Senate Democrats up for reelection in 2014 in tough states have decided to embrace Obamacare, taking the opportunity of its implementation coinciding with the midterm elections to remind constituents of its benefits and to make sure they understand and can use them.
Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Kay Hagan of North Carolina will face voters in 2014 for the first time since voting for the Affordable Care Act – also known as "Obamacare" – three years ago. They aren't apologizing for their vote, and several are pursuing an aggressive strategy: Embrace the law, help voters use it and fix what doesn't work.
"I don't run from my votes," Begich told The Associated Press. "Politicians who sit around and say, `That's controversial so I better run from it,' just ask for trouble. Voters may not always agree with you, but they respect people who think about these issues and talk about them." [...]

"There's a lot of good that people will realize as this all comes online," the first-term senator said.

It's the only strategy that will work to defang the Republicans on the issue in 2014—making the law work, and making sure that Republican lies about it are exposed. To that end, Organizing for Action is unrolling a big education campaign on the airwaves. Given that consistent majorities, while not so thrilled with the law itself, are fed up with continued repeal efforts, it wouldn't hurt Democrats to hammer on that a bit, as well.

Making sure the law is implemented as smoothly as possible, though, will be key for many voters. Plenty will see nothing change at all, except the good stuff. Nothing will change for many who will remain on exactly the same plan except what they've already seen; they don't have to pay copays for preventive care, they can keep their adult children on their plans until age 26, and if their children have pre-existing conditions, they can still get coverage for them. For those who will be on the exchanges, the kinks need to be worked out early on. Here's one silver lining of so many Republican governors deciding against setting up their own state exchanges and leaving it to the federal government: less opportunity for state-level sabotage.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 10:50 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (27+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 10:50:23 AM PDT

  •  I was very happy to hear Begich say that this (7+ / 0-)

    morning and that will be one of several reasons I will support his re-election campaign.

    Funny Stuff at

    by poopdogcomedy on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 11:02:20 AM PDT

  •  If this turns out to be true, (4+ / 0-)

    then Democrats have nothing to worry about in 2014:

    Nothing will change for many who will remain on exactly the same plan except what they've already seen; they don't have to pay copays for preventive care, they can keep their adult children on their plans until age 26, and if their children have pre-existing conditions, they can still get coverage for them.
    I think that "public opinion" will largely be shaped by those who had decent health insurance prior to the enactment of the ACA.  If I remember correctly, the polls showed that most people who had health insurance at that time were pretty satisfied.  The ACA was based on three promises:  (1) to insure those who did not have insurance; (2) to "bend the cost curve," i.e., bring costs down; and (3) that people who liked their health insurance (most people who had it already) could "keep the health insurance they had.

    The ACA is going to do a pretty good job at (1) -- the extension of insurance to 26, and the prohibition against denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition helped that.  It's how the ACA does on (2) and (3) that will go a long way toward deciding the 2014 election.  If people perceive that the health care they had, and liked, before the ACA is jumping significantly in cost, so that the health care plan they "had" and were promised they could "keep"  is significantly more expensive, that's two promises broken -- (2) there would be no "bending the cost curve, and (3) they would not be keeping what they had, they would be paying lots more for what they had.  (Small increases, say 5% or less, won't be problematic, I think.)  Or, if some people lose the insurance they had because it's literally cheaper for an employer to pay the penalty rather than insure employees, or if people are cut back to less than 30 hours due to the perverse financial incentive written into the ACA by Congress, I don't think it's going to be so good for Democrats, regardless of what they do to try to sell the ACA.  

    The opinions of the public are going to be shaped by how this law affects them directly.  In passing the ACA, the Democrats (including President Obama) promised that we could insure millions more people while, at the same time, "bending the cost curve" and letting people "keep" what they had -- keep about the same coverage at about the same cost.  If the ACA lives up to all three, that's a big win for the Democrats in 2014. If the ACA lives up to (1), but is perceived as not doing (2) or (3) as the Democrats promised it would, that's going to be a problem in 2014.  

    •  If that's true. (0+ / 0-)

      2014 is the year it is most likely to be true.  I anticipate that most of the negative impacts of the law will take some time to present themselves -- especially the case of employers ditching health coverage.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 02:35:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The subsidies will be hugely important as well (0+ / 0-)

      The reason we have 85% of the country covered, without a mandate, is not because 85% of the country is at death's door. Most people are covered through employers or various government insurance programs. Those programs are subsidized. If people making 133% to 400% FPL can obtain insurance with the subsidies making it affordable to them there will be millions of fairly happy campers out there. If the opposite happens, and millions of Americans can not afford the subsidized insurance and now have a fine to pay, that will be a problem for the Democrats.

  •  It's encouraging news, for sure. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr MadAsHell, We Won, DaddyO

    Not going in for the all-too-typical Democratic strategy of cower-and-camouflage.

    Instead, they're asking, "What have we done that sets us apart from the Republicans?"

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 02:08:23 PM PDT

  •  this is a good thing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    We Won

    thanks for the news.

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 02:08:34 PM PDT

  •  FINALLY!!! Its about time. I also heard (0+ / 0-)

    there is a Pro-Obama Care commercial out. FINALLY!!!!! I am convinced 5 years out from when Obama has left Obamacare will be very popular, but it shouldn't take 5 years to EXPLAIN!!!

  •  Obamacare is a step in the right direction (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr MadAsHell, DaddyO

    The final destination is Single Payer.

    Obamacare is the best Obama could push through a polarized and dysfunctional DC and stupid blued dogs.

    I wish the campaigned on this message to get the grassroots excited.

    I delivered such a message to a Democratic party club in California last Saturday and the loved it.

    I am tired of thos who see Obamacare as a "generational" thing.  It is the first step only.  The sooner they get it the better.  

    According to recent polls by Pew and Kaiser, there is more people who think Obamacare should be expanded than people who think it's great.

     photo Polls_zpsd240143b.jpg

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 02:10:22 PM PDT

  •  Yeah, (0+ / 0-)

    Begich is a real hero, voting against (gun-related) background checks.

  •  "less opportunity for state-level sabotage" (0+ / 0-)

    That was why I hoped the states would all opt out.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 02:16:10 PM PDT

  •  No lifetime cap. No rescissions. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    We Won

    Refund checks from insurance companies that overcharge relative to benefits paid.

    Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

    by Dogs are fuzzy on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 02:16:31 PM PDT

    •  Well said (0+ / 0-)
    •  And, as loathe as Democrats are to do it . . . (0+ / 0-)

      We need to say it, say it again, and then repeat it. Too often, we think if we say the blindingly obvious once, that's all we need to do to inform and persuade the voting public.

      But as Adlai Stevenson rightly said when a supporter told him that he would have the vote of every thinking person, "That's nice, but I still need a majority to win." We have to hammer on these points right into people's brains, and make sure they know who to credit now that they're not being denied coverage for pre-existing conditions. And which candidates are dragging their feet, hoping against hope that voters will fail to figure it out.

    •  Where's my check? (0+ / 0-)

      I'd like to see one of those, in my hot little hands or at least in a pdf...before I ever believe an insurance company will refund jack shit under the ACA.

      Sure. It will happen. Maybe. All I can think is: Where's mine? Where's my refund? Because all I've done is watch EVERY COST of my medical go through the roof for the last six years or so.

      "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

      by DaddyO on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 05:44:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mary Landrieu is my favorite "Blue Dog" Senator (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Yeah, I know there aren't Blue Dogs in the Senate technically but I think she's a fine Senator.  

    Great to hear Pryor and Begich are running on it too, I thought they'd renege on it.

    My personal (political) blog is at My new Twitter: @RushHolt4Senate

    by RVKU on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 02:18:37 PM PDT

  •  Ironically, the GOP legislature in AR is (0+ / 0-)

    helping Pryor when it comes to "Obamacare." AR is running a partnership model for their exchange, and the GOP legislature, I believe, has accepted federal grants to fund the exchange. They also passed a privatized form of the Medicaid expansion. I know that's not the preference for many of us, but it's probably the best we can get out of a GOP legislature.

  •  In lives saved, it will be the Democrats biggest (0+ / 0-)


    •  Recently (0+ / 0-)
    •  Let's talk about how many lives the Democrats LOST (0+ / 0-)

      ...with the ACA: More people will die in this 'system' than would have with a single payer or public option.

      People right now are having a helluva time paying premiums, drug costs, copays. I know this for a fact because THAT IS ME. I voted for Obama, but I will never be 'happy' with the ACA as the status quo. It is a tremendous failure, simply because it falls so far short of real reform.

      "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

      by DaddyO on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 05:42:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can you imagine: the GOP still trying to deny (0+ / 0-)

    the American people health care in 2013, how dumb can you get, I guess we will see what else the GOP wants to damage  or destroy like Social Security and Medicare/Medicaide.

  •  You're right about no choice. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ACA was passed with Democratic votes and all hands on deck.  There is no way a Democrat can run away from it.

    So....please....if trying to avoid screwing millions of people isn't incentive enough -- get it right.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 02:34:14 PM PDT

  •  Really (0+ / 0-)

    I just read this from your post: if their children have pre-existing conditions, they can still get coverage for them.

    What does this mean?  My daughter turned 26 yesterday and she had cancer at age 21.  Can we still keep her on my wife's plan?

  •  I'm unimpressed with the ad itself. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dogs are fuzzy, GReen4994

    The idea is sound, but in my view, the most important benefits are left out of the discussion.

    For example, one of the most underrated benefits of the Affordable Care Act--lifetime protection against bankruptcy caused by medical bills.

    Obamacare eliminated lifetime limits on insurance policies and, starting next year, annual limits. The $1M and $2M limits that these policies carried were wholly insufficient to cover our care in the event of a catastrophic injury or accident, and many who paid their premiums and maintained health insurance simply blew through their limits only to find themselves among the ranks of the uninsured.

    Before ObamaCare, each and every one of us were exposed to the same catastrophic financial risk...running out of health insurance when we needed it most. With ObamaCare in place, those days are over.

  •  "It's the only strategy that will work..." (0+ / 0-)

    Absolutely correct. Talking in depth and detail about the ACA will only help the public perception of it.

    Just like talking in depth and detail about the public option and a single payer worked when it was time to talk about them in 2009.

    Selective strategies give you exactly what 'they' want to give you. Never mind what is best for the largest number of people. Never mind what is the cheapest system. Never mind how happy other countries' citizens are with THEIR public options/single payer systems. Never mind the dirty fucking hippies. It's irrelevant.

    Thanks for having that debate in 2009, Obama and Democrats. You fucked us all, right in lockstep with the insane Teabaggers and Wall Street. Fucked us good and hard. As Atrios has said, early and often: When you pass a shitty law, you don't get nearly as much credit as you do BLAME...

    "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

    by DaddyO on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 05:39:40 PM PDT

  •  single payor is better... (0+ / 0-)

    as pointed out by an esteemed colleague above, single payor is the best option, and it may be the plan...implementing same will make Medicare stronger, since the pool of beneficiaries will be younger and healthier...the other major impact will be less stress on city, state, and federal budgets (as well as large and small privates) because the employee healthcare expenses will be negated...with all that money now back in the economy, it's quite possible that will provide some serious economic stimulus without printing $$$. Here's my ideas on the topic, with other links towards the top....please  read it carefully, and if you need other guidance, make contact....thanks

  •  Louisiana (0+ / 0-)

    Prior to Jindal taking office Louisiana had a fairly decent indigent care network. He and the other repugs have killed it off with huge cuts and closings of teaching hospitals.

    People in Louisiana tended to go only when they had to and so many smoked too much, drank too much, and ate too much rich foods that they were often fairly bad -off by the time they went but they always were taken care of regardless of ability to pay.

    Now they have to drive to New Orleans and stay in a hotel or with friends and hotels in New Orleans are expensive.

    It will take time but the repugs have made a lot of enemies there and eventually they'll lose power.

    If you ever get the chance to visit New Orleans, then you should take it. It's very different from the rest of the South and the people there are great. Sure the French Quarter bars and streets stink but I didn't visit them much. The Garden District, the Zoo, and the rest of the town are worth seeing before it gets submerged.

    In the mornings when i walked my dogs there I would see young people smoking joints on the way to school or work. Louisiana has problems but the people there know how to live!

  •  Please Don't Make The Same Mistake in 2014 (0+ / 0-)

    I deeply believe that the reasons we Democrats lost the House in 2010 (and the reason why Repugs gained 66 seats) ..... boils down to two reasons: the health care bill and the failure to address the national debt.

    Firstly,  Congressional Democrats did not strenuously explain the  new health care law, which they had just recently passed.

    Not doing that allowed the Republicans to attack it constantly, raising fears that it would cost so much it would hurt the rest of us, the majority of Americans who already have insurance.

    I must admit, the Republicans were very, very effective in raising doubts and fears about the health care law.

    But also, the Democrats did an incredibly poor job of explaining the new law. And defending it.

    And all that begs the following question ...... why ?

    Was it because a lot of the elected Democrats had not read the entire bill. Perhaps many of them had only asked an assistant to read it and write a summary of it. And maybe because of that, they did not really have a good grasp on what was actually in it ?

    Did they fear going on TV and radio shows to defend the new health care law, perhaps being afraid of being asked a question about the new law (which was over 2000 pages long, according to reports). Questions that they were ill prepared to answer ?

    Were they afraid of therefore, looking stupid ?

    There was obviously no shortage of Republicans who were willing to go on political talk shows and bash the new law relentlessly.

    There only seemed to be a shortage of elected Democrats who were willing to go on talk shows and defend it.

    Perhaps Democrats have learned a lesson from that horrible politically strategic mistake in 2010.

    I dearly hope so.

    "Love Is Why We're Here"

    by Paniolo Joe on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 09:05:37 PM PDT

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