Political strategists are well trained to change the subject when the subject at hand isn’t a winner. But Obamacare is, quite rightly, an issue that’s too big to ignore, and won’t easily be driven to second-tier status—particularly given that all Republicans have to run on is that they didn’t vote for Obamacare. Which is not to say Dems can’t also run on the minimum wage, and immigration, and LGBT rights, and voting rights, and equal pay and the Koch brothers, and so on. But they can’t leave the Obamacare question unanswered.He's right, they can't. One of the assumptions among Democrats and progressive pundit types—I've done it myself—is that the good stuff people see in Obamacare will bring them around, will make it less unpopular and take the sting out of it as an issue. But that can't really happen in a vacuum. People really need to be told, straight out, that the fact that they don't have a copay for their annual physical anymore is because of Obamacare; that their mother's or grandmother's prescription drugs through Medicare cost less because of Obamacare; that their neighbor's grown kid has insurance on his family's plan because of Obamacare. That their other neighbor with a cancer diagnosis isn't in any danger of losing her coverage because of Obamacare.
All that needs to be said explicitly and often. And, as Beutler says, Democrats need to put those stories on the air, in their own ads. There are no end to the good news stories out of this law. They need to be told. That's particularly true because every bad thing that happens in our health care system, anything that any insurance company ever does that's negative, is going to be blamed on Obamacare. Rate hikes? Never mind that they have happened every single year. It'll be because of Obamacare. Your employer decides to go with a new insurer and you have to change doctors? Obamacare will be blamed. That's going to have to be countered at every turn.
In the immediate term, it's not enough to assume that people are going to understand and internalize all the good stuff they got through Obamacare, not after years of hearing very little but negative. So let's start seeing the ads talking about what Republicans are trying to take away, what they're trying to keep away from people in the case of Medicaid expansion. The voting population isn't going to pick that up just through osmosis. They need to be told.