President Obama stepped into the press room to discuss the crisis in Ukraine yesterday and to provide his sympathy for the Korean maritime tragedy on Thursday. And he had a confident hop in his step as he approached the podium—because he had something big to say about health care.
Actual Obamacare results are in. And in most cases they are exceeding expectations.
- 8 Million+ citizens are now enrolled in Obamacare.
- 35% of citizens enrolled in Obamacare are under 35 years old.
- Obamacare has brought economic security to all consumers of health insurance.
- Over 14 million have received insurance over the exchanges and via the Medicaid expansion to Obamacare.
- Medical cost is now growing at less than 1/2 the previous rates.
- Obamacare is shrinking the deficits.
- It is fact that repealing Obamacare would increase the budget deficit, raise premiums, and take away insurance from millions of Americans.
When asked if Democrats should campaign on Obamacare, President Obama said:
Democrats should forcefully defend and be proud of the fact that millions of people like the woman I just described who I saw in Pennsylvania yesterday we’re helping because of something we did. I don’t think we should apologize for it. I don’t think we should be defensive about it. I think there is a strong good right story to tell. I think what the other side is doing and what the other side is offering would strip away protections from those families and from hundreds of millions of people who had health insurance before the law was passed but never knew if the insurance company would drop them when they actually needed it or women who were getting charged more because they are a woman.Please read more about this strong stand below the fold.
In his preamble to the news conference, he actually laid out the talking points. They were not at all defensive. It was a narrative from a position of strength given the now-provable—and successful—Obamacare implementation realities.
I find it strange that the Republican position on this law is still stuck in the same place that it has always been. They still can’t bring themselves to admit that the Affordable Care Act is working. They said nobody would sign up. They were wrong about that. They said it would be unaffordable for the country. They were wrong about that. They were wrong to keep trying to repeal a law that is working when they had no alternative answer for millions of Americans with preexisting conditions who would be denied coverage again, or every woman who would be charged more for just being a woman again....The narrative got even better, moving from a simple recitation of facts to a fact-based moral statement when President Obama said the following:
It is well past time to move on as a country and refocus our energies on the issues that the American people are most concerned about. And that continues to be the economy. Cause these endless fruitless repeal efforts come at a cost. The 50 or so votes Republicans have taken to repeal this law could have been 50 votes to create jobs. … 50 votes to make it easier for middle class families to send their kids to college. Or 50 votes to raise the minimum wage. Or restore unemployment insurance.... The repeal debate is and should be over.
States that have chosen not to expand Medicaid for no other reason than political spite. You have 5 million people who could be having health insurance right now at no cost to these states, zero cost to these states other than ideological reasons they have chosen not to provide health insurance for their citizens. That’s wrong. It should stop. Those folks should be able to get health insurance like everybody else.In those few statements, the president laid out a narrative that instead of being defensive of Obamacare, presents an offense model. Americans do not like weakness or defensiveness—witness how Republicans have been winning elections with bad ideas because they are assertive in defending bad ideas. They are assertive in lying about helping even as their policies materially hurt the vast majority of their constituencies.
Obamacare now has fact-based numbers behind it. If these numbers are so good after a pathetically rocky rollout, just think what it could have been and what it will be going forward. That scares all of those who have made it a mission to kill it.
While President Obama’s narrative above is decidedly pointed, civil and characteristically presidential, Democrats must institute an Alan Grayson-like narrative in their stumps. Why? Because the outcomes of implementing a Republican repeal of Obamacare and subsequent expected inaction makes it true.
Republicans have been airing ads that lie about people who were hurt by Obamacare. Where are the stories like the Charlene Dill story in which the evidence is irrefutable? Charlene Dill is dead. Had she had the reliable health care the Medicaid expansion to Obamacare would have provided, she would be alive today.
Democrats must ignore ivory tower pundits. They must think outside of the box. Americans are waiting for politicians who will fight for them. Americans will show up if they think the politicians they are voting for have conviction. Americans want politicians who are willing to get into a street fight if necessary to defend and protect them. That is what the 2014 election must be. Running a status quo election will provide status quo results. We all know the definition of insanity.