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Person holding "We love Obamacare" sign
Sen. Mark Pryor and candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes have started talking about Obamacare, and not just talking about it but campaigning on it and what it would mean for millions of people if their Republican opponents have their way and repeal it. Making Republicans like Tom Cotton and Sen. Mitch McConnell own repeal is a smart move, E.J. Dionne writes.
As one Democratic pollster told me, his focus groups showed that when voters outside the Republican base are given details about what the law does and how it works, “people come around and say, ‘That’s not so bad, what’s everybody excited about?’ ”

This consultant says of Democrats who voted for the law: “You’re going to be stuck with all the bad about this but not benefit from any of the good unless you advertise” what the Affordable Care Act does. This is what Pryor has decided to do. […]

The Bluegrass State is particularly instructive on the importance of labeling and branding. A Public Policy Polling survey this month found that the Affordable Care Act had a net negative approval rating, 34 percent to 51 percent. But Kynect was rated positively, 34 percent to 27 percent. Grimes and the Democrats need to confront McConnell forcefully on the issue he has tried to fudge: A flat repeal of Obamacare would mean taking insurance away from the more than 521,000 Kentuckians who, as of last Friday, had secured coverage through Kynect. How would that sit with the state’s voters?

Losing health coverage simply because of politics shouldn't sit well with any state's voters. It really is that simple for Democrats, whether they call it Obamacare or Kynect or something else. That should extend to Medicaid expansion, and the fact that pure politics is keeping millions of people from getting coverage. That's not a hard thing for voters to understand, and it is something that could really motivate the base.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 07:49 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (45+ / 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 Aug 25, 2014 at 07:49:15 AM PDT

  •  Who wants to go back to the inquisition? (18+ / 0-)

    Remember that multi page preexisting condition form?
    Have you ever had.........?

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 07:58:54 AM PDT

    •  And remember back - (11+ / 0-)

      We're sorry, your illness is costing our company too much money so we are releasing you from your policy. Best of luck to you.....

    •  I remember those days (19+ / 0-)

      My daughter is chronically ill, and we spent literally days gathering medical records and filling out forms to apply to two insurance companies.  I had to take off work to help her.  Of course, they both rejected her, and we knew they would, but all that mess was necessary to GET the two rejections on paper.  Then she qualified for Kentucky Access, the very high-priced, state run program for uninsurables.  Kentucky
      Access was a lifesaver, but only for those who could afford it.  The ACA policy she's on now is much more reasonable.

      Thank God for the ACA.  I'd hoped for better, but this  is a vast improvement.

      "If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." - Will Rogers

      by Kentucky DeanDemocrat on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 08:30:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  the single payer purists need to be reminded (7+ / 0-)

      they like to claim that Obamacare is just forcing everyone into the evil old private insurance market, while completely ignoring the many new restrictions that are imposed on insurers thanks to Obamacare.  Not only the pre-existing conditions issue, but the amounts they are required to spend on actual healthcare, the minimal requirements for policies, and much more.  

      you can shit on my face but that doesn't mean I have to lick my lips

      by red rabbit on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 08:49:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The "purists" are quite aware of that, thanks. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hatrabbit, hbk, patbahn

        Everyone knows the law did some very good and necessary things. Doesn't change how it was "pragmatically" cooked up in backroom deals with insurance companies during the biggest opportunity to push for single-payer that will probably come along in our lifetimes.

      •  the insurance industry (0+ / 0-)

        can afford a fucking army of top lawyers to scrutinize every policy to make sure every i is dotted and every t is crossed. Can you?

        Oh, you said on the application you had acne when you were sixteen when you really had it at seventeen? That's fraud. Your entire policy is null and void, you were trying to cheat us. We don't have to pay a dime.

        And if you sue, so what? The lawyers can keep it tied up for years. How long can you afford to pursue your case? Most of the time, the insurance companies can simply wait until you croak.

        I guess you haven't heard of narrow networks--the latest trick for insurers to game the ACA. You can't always use your awesome new policy because that policy might stipulate that it only pays for care administered by certain doctors or hospitals. And the insurance companies are deliberately narrowing the list of doctors and institutions.

        In certain areas, because of the convoluted way in which the exchanges work, you might not be able to see any doctors at all. And you won't know any of this until it's too late, until after you've had to seek care.

        The regulation in the ACA is a toothless joke that the insurance companies only grudgingly accepted because it meant getting their hands on the real prize: forcing all Americans to buy into the private insurance market.

        "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

        by limpidglass on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 11:03:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  ALWAYS do your research! (0+ / 0-)

          When I got into the exchange and started looking at plans, I invested considerable time in checking out the narrowness of the networks, the details of deductibles, and specifically whether my preferred providers were included.

          After all, it's literally a matter of life and death.

          I just don't understand the people who could (but don't/won't) do that legwork before signing up for a plan, especially if they then complain when they get exactly what they signed up for. "How was I supposed to know Provider X wasn't in my network?" Well, you could look it up at the insurer's website. They have tools for that...

          If you don't have easy access to the internet, that's one thing. If you do, though...spend a few minutes looking at the details. I live in a county that's been the subject of a Kaiser Health article on narrow networks, and nothing in that article was a surprise to me. Why? Because I dug in to find out what the difference between "P01E" and "P01S" was instead of just choosing the one that was a few bucks cheaper (but wouldn't cover my nearest hospital).

          Former libertarian...who grew up.

          by RevBobMIB on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 11:29:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Kentucky's KyNect = "Obamacare" (24+ / 0-)

    We must make Despicable McConnell eat his words about repealing "Obamacare."

    Kentucky's KyNect IS Obamacare.
    Say it often, say it loud.  Tell every Republican you know who is on KyNect.

    •  yes, hopefully Grimes is doing this (12+ / 0-)

      just keep it simple--people in KY like Kynect, and Mitch McConnell wants to repeal it.  
      He said Kynect could survive without Obamacare.  Make him explain how that would work.  

      you can shit on my face but that doesn't mean I have to lick my lips

      by red rabbit on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 08:45:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good point, but bad strategy. (0+ / 0-)

        Explanations, McConnell would yearn for.

        It gives him the floor. He is the long-term, experienced, knowledgeable Senator, after all, who knows how to get the right things done the right way ... etc., etc.
        No way should she offer him an invitation to explain.

        2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 09:27:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Explaining is losing ... (0+ / 0-)

          Despite (or because of) his long experience, the basic contradiction between McConnell's rhetoric ("repeal Obamacare") and the actual experience of family and friends who are on Kynect is going stay with people.  His on-going tenure WITHOUT a health care plan should come back to bite him.

          And besides, the standard quote applies:  When you're explaining, you're losing.
          http://www.barrypopik.com/...

          •  There won't be substance, and the public won't... (0+ / 0-)

            ... know. He's as good as any Senator at evading, and well-practiced at it.

            Campaign "debates" and questions from the floor - for an experienced and able politician, which Mitch is! - are easily handled.

            WE - the small percentage who know enough ACA details to parse and push back - would know he's BSing. The voters aren't students of ACA, and he's an adept teacher from his own lesson plans.

            If the contradiction is apparent from the face of his positions now, exploit that! Don't give him running room. Literally.

            2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

            by TRPChicago on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 02:57:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Tipped and rec'ed nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    john07801

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 08:44:34 AM PDT

  •  Spoiler alert/action needed. There is a push to (6+ / 0-)

    push more cost onto the backs of patients under ACA.

    RE the proposed "copper" plan:
    http://www.pnhp.org/...

    Comment:

    By Don McCanne, MD

    One of the major problems with the Affordable Care Act is that it has established underinsurance as a new standard.It was bad enough when the decision was made to allow insurers to offer products that covered an average of only 60 percent of estimated health care costs, but now there is a serious proposal to reduce that to 50 percent. What does this do?

    From the insured’s perspective, it would fulfill the requirement to purchase insurance, while keeping premiums as low as possible, with a tradeoff that you must accept the risk of paying on average the other half of health care costs that the insurer does not pay for (plus all costs for services not covered and for the balance of charges for out-of-network services). For the majority, such costs would create a financial hardship should significant medical problems develop - the reason this is labeled underinsurance.

    From the insurers’ perspective, while discounting the premium by only 18 percent below that of a 60 percent actuarial value bronze plan, they can attract healthier individuals who are more likely to be willing to gamble that they may not need much health care. This would be a great deal for the insurers.

    A 50 percent actuarial value copper plan would be appealing to libertarian conservatives for a few reasons. It uses a consumer-directed approach to health care purchasing by exposing the patient to significant out-of-pocket costs, requiring the patient to became an informed price shopper (even though the out-of-pocket expenses may not be affordable). It also allows consumers to exercise choice over market originated insurance products, rather than defaulting to a more comprehensive single payer program administered by the government that would actually work. Furthermore, the Avalere study shows that adding a copper level choice would reduce the federal deficit by about 30 million dollars a year. Little does it matter that 30 million dollars would not even qualify as a footnote in our federal budget, it is fulfilling an ideological goal of reducing federal spending that is compelling to conservatives.

    What about fulfilling the goal of advocates of health care justice? Obviously this proposal was not written for them. Creating a plan that exposes the sick to financial hardship is the opposite of what insurance should be doing.

    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

    by divineorder on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 08:48:18 AM PDT

    •  Wouldn't the out of pocket maximums still apply? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hbk

      Even if a Copper Plan were established to cover only 50% of out of pocket costs, wouldn't the out of pocket maximums still apply?

    •  Same old same old. Insurance co. wants to screw (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      divineorder

      us over. Thanks for comment divineorder. Up with single payer and the efficiency, cost savings, and peace of mind it would bring.  

      •  PNHP lobby day info was encouraging (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        indres

        Single Payer on the Hill

        http://www.pnhp.org/...

        PNHP and nine other organizations (Public Citizen, AMSA, NOW, Healthcare-Now, Gray Panthers, National Nurses United, All Unions Committee for Single Payer H.R. 676, Labor Campaign for Single Payer, Progressive Democrats of America) co-hosted the first-ever National Lobby Day for single-payer legislation on May 22 in Washington.

        Related activities included a national panel discussion on “Single Payer: Where do we go from here?” convened by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the day before. See details below.

        PNHP's Dr. Andrew D. Coates spoke at the single-payer panel.
        While most of the lobbying activity was based in Washington, where 74 advocates from 18 states walked the halls of both the House and Senate to meet with their lawmakers or their staff, there were at least 11 additional “in-district” meetings with congressional staff around the country. PNHP members played an important role at both levels; we fielded about 30 physician-volunteers in D.C. Our D.C. chapter co-chair, Dr. Robert Zarr, helped lead the effort on the Hill.

        At end of day, at least 39 members of the House had been urged to support H.R. 676, Rep. John Conyers’ “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act” (there was also some advocacy for Rep. Jim McDermott’s bill, H.R. 1200), and at least 33 members of the Senate had been asked to support S. 1782, Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “American Health Security Act.”

        Thousands of petition signatures calling for a single-payer system, chiefly collected by Healthcare-Now, were presented to lawmakers, and PNHP members from around the country (at least 51 who we know of, because they reported back to us) augmented the effort by participating in a national call-in campaign to ask House members to support H.R. 676.

        At least one congressman, Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., the third-ranking House Democrat, has since signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 676. Clyburn’s signature, which resulted from a joint effort by many people, including key PNHP members in South Carolina, brings the current number of co-sponsors to 57.

        Sen. Bernie Sanders’ panel on single payer

        The day before, on May 21, Sen. Sanders held a panel on single payer at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, where, in addition to Sanders (who produced this report), Dr. Andrew D. Coates spoke for PNHP, Rob Weissman spoke for Public Citizen, Dr. Margaret Flowers spoke for PopularResistance.org, Michael Lighty spoke for NNU, and where UMass economist Gerald Friedman spoke about the efficiencies of a single-payer system.

        You can read about the Sanders panel at Kaiser Health News or the DCMediaGroup site. You can watch a video of the full proceedings here.

        A congressional briefing the next day included remarks by Rep. Conyers, D-Mich., and Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., along with remarks (on video) by Greg Junemann, president of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers.

        Altogether about 100 single-payer advocates participated in the two days of activity.

        Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

        by divineorder on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 11:23:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Why not posit a 'lead plan' where the only way ... (0+ / 0-)

      Why not posit a 'lead plan' where the only way forward would be to slit your wrists?

  •  Getting bitten by it now... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indres

    Classic good news/bad news.

    We had qualified for a pretty hefty subsidy.
    That was very helpful.

    Income went up some, which reduces the subsidy eligibility.
    Increased withholding just in case -- my income is variable.
    Wife just got here dream job, which is awesome, but...

    Now we'll be beyond the subsidy for our family.
    Which is OK, but now we have to make sure that we have money or withholding to pay back the subsidy we've received.

    Surely there's a better (as in non-means-tested) way to do this.

    Oh well. One step at a time.

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

    by dinotrac on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 08:51:14 AM PDT

  •  Next up.... (6+ / 0-)

    the GOP begin to refer to it as the ACA, as they don't want Obama to get the CREDIT. Then you know it has joined the ranks of Medicare and Social Security.

  •  As I've said before. . . (9+ / 0-)

    If Democrats would fight for good ideas with the same intensity that the GOP fights for crappy ideas, we'd never lose a fucking election.

    They've done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it works every time. -- Brian Fantana

    by IndyScott on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 09:02:46 AM PDT

    •  the ACA is a crappy Republican idea (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skepticalcitizen, divineorder

      The Heritage Foundation came up with this model of forcing people to buy into the insurance market, and it was first supported in the early 90s by the likes of Bob Dole as a response to the Clintons' attempt at health care reform. The health insurance law Romney pushed and signed as governor of Massachusetts was based on the same model.

      Obama just took the Romneycare model and made it national. Politically, it was brilliant--pass Romney's health care plan nationally and dare him to run against it. That part succeeded.

      But as far as helping people get actual health care--it's working just as well as any crappy, two-decade-old Republican idea could be expected to work. Hence the non-stop PR effort by the Democratic party to persuade its base that the ACA is working miracles. Which it isn't.

      "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

      by limpidglass on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 09:27:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Miracles? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bufffan20, maybeeso in michigan

        Maybe not, but my sister and brother-in-law now have the best health insurance they have ever had and my sister got a mammogram and pap smear last month because of it, so forgive me if I don't join in one you pile on.

        “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point--race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.” ― Molly Ivins

        by RoIn on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 10:53:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Same here. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RoIn, maybeeso in michigan

          Well, except for the mammogram/pap smear part. :)

          I hit my out-of-pocket max in June, when I was admitted to the hospital for two days due to a tonsil abscess. At the beginning of August, I had them removed...at no cost. At the end of September, I'll finally get that sleep study that was recommended back in 2012, which I couldn't afford because it would cost me over $4000 out of pocket...also at no cost.

          I was about to say "the best part is," but it's hard to narrow that down. Is it that, being self-employed, the admittedly higher premiums are a business expense that's easier to handle than the old "medical expense deduction" ever was? Is it that I didn't have to waste days on end hopping from agent to agent, trying to compare reams of legalese before deciding on a plan? Or is it the simple stress relief that comes from knowing I'm covered and won't have to face bankruptcy if I get sick?

          Maybe it's all of that.

          Former libertarian...who grew up.

          by RevBobMIB on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 11:43:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Limp, ACA doesn't pay for miracles, and doesn't... (0+ / 0-)

        ... claim that it does.

        You want to run your own campaign with something like, "I would have made it much, much better," go ahead.

        2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 06:14:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  lol... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indres

    ... I love how the healthcare demonstrator is drinking a can of coke (not even diet).  Irrelevant, but silly optics.

  •  Is "McC wants to repeal Kynect" so hard to say? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indres, Da Fireball

    I don't get all the contortions and avoidances.

    He wants to repeal Kynect.  

    That's it.  No dreaded "BlackPresidentCare" need be mentioned.

  •  I keep thinking... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indres

    of the survey that was done a while back where so many were opposed to "Obamacare", yet had a favorable opinion of The ACA.
    Kind of on par with the studies that show that Fox viewers are less informed than those who watch no news whatsoever.

    "These 'Yet To Be' United States" --James Baldwin-- -6.75, -5.78

    by kevinbr38 on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 09:18:02 AM PDT

  •  Less Republican Opposition to Obamacare (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indres

    Funny, but it wasn't so long ago there was nothing in the right-wing media but vitriol for Obamacare and pledges to repeal it. We don't see that sentiment much anymore, because the Republican opposition to it was built on lies. Now that Obamacare is helping people and working -- in fact, in states where hostile legislators haven't actively tried to make it fail, it's working very well -- the liars have mostly fallen silent.

    It's kind of like "Benghazi - Benghazi! - BENGHAZI!!", another right-wing mirage, based on lies, that is no longer being force-fed to us by the Republican fantasy machine now that Abu Khattala is twiddling his thumbs in a Washington jail.

  •  A good problem (4+ / 0-)

    I have more trouble now getting an appointment because so many new patients are insured. Good result! Our neighborhood clinic hired more doctors and opened on Saturday, also. Not a bad problem!  

    WA Gov. Jay Inslee imposed a moratorium on the death penalty.“Equal justice under the law is the state’s primary responsibility."

    by mrobinson on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 09:36:36 AM PDT

  •  Based on the PPP polling results quoted above (0+ / 0-)

    it appears to me that essentially the same people like Kynect/ACA, since both are at 34%. If so, selling the equivalence doesn't bring us more voters. However, 17% more hate the ACA than Kynect, so selling the equivalence would activate the haters.

    Do we have any information to tell us otherwise?

    It still makes sense to tell voters that McConnell and other Republicans want to take away Kynect and cancel specific provisions of the ACA that people really like, without mentioning names.

    Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

    by Mokurai on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 09:39:55 AM PDT

  •  tie AffordableCare to Medicare and Social Security (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indres, maybeeso in michigan

    and tell voters that Republicans want to repeal all three programs.  make the bastards lie and deny.

  •  The notable exception to these ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skepticalcitizen, indres

    Senate candidates embracing Obamacare stories is Colorado. Gardner is running almost exclusively stories about Udall voting for the ACA, making horribly misleading claims, and Udall is not pushing back on it at all. Very frustrating. Udall might lose this election and he's letting the ACA get clobbered in ads.

    Didn't brainwrap say that CO, in terms of percentages of newly covered, say CO was one of the better states? If so, Udall needs to ramp it up on this issue.

    No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

    by Magster on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 09:59:20 AM PDT

  •  I remember a year ago (0+ / 0-)

    when I suggested that perhaps sticking with and "embracing" the Republican slur for the ACA wasn't actually a good idea, kinda like embracing the term "entitlements".

    I was told that we were making the term our own and totally turning the tide against the conservatives, so shut up!

    Now it looks like embracing and accepting conservative language and terminology doesn't actually do anything good for liberals. Shucks, who knew! It's almost as if "Obamacare" was a label designed to make people dislike the law! Wow!

  •  Grimes supports Kynect? (0+ / 0-)

    Please show me an article ANYWHERE that reports that Alison Lundergan Grimes has discussed Kynect, i.e. Obamacare, much less attacked Mitch McConnell regarding the issue of repealing it. I live in Kentucky and she's not doing it.

    •  Here's an article (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      indres

      During a joint appearance at the Kentucky Farm Bureau (most of it has to do with the Farm Bill, but the relevant portion is toward the end):

      http://wfpl.org/...

      Indeed, it would be better if Grimes hit this in advertising. It's a simple case to make, really: No pre-existing conditions denials, no cancellation of your policy because you got sick. It's now against the law for insurance companies to do that. Mitch McConnell wants to go back to that broken system. Even the lowest-information voter can get this. Let McConnell deal with his nuances and subtleties. If he's explaining, he's losing.

  •  Go Alison!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Da Fireball

    I so glad she is finally running to, and not away from the AHA. The AHA is immensely popular if, and if voters in Kentucky realise McConnell wants to take away their insurance while they pay for his, Grimes is that much closer to ousting McConnell.

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