President Barack Obama and his cohorts are working hard trying to convince fellow Democrats that they can win in 2014 by standing up for the Affordable Care Act as a great law. The pollsters know better. They tell candidates to promise to fix Obamacare. But that’s not good enough for Obama.
“In terms of Obamacare, don’t defend it,” the respected Democratic pollster Celinda Lake urged in March following the release of her own extensive polling on the issue for George Washington University’s respected Battleground Poll. “Say it was flawed from the beginning, and we’re going to fix it.”
There’s just one problem with that strategy: it serves as an implicit rebuke of the 111th Congress, the Democratic Party’s leadership in the legislature, and President Barack Obama.
Perhaps this is why Democrats are busy convincing their colleagues to ignore Lake’s warnings. “I think Democrats should forcefully defend and be proud of [the ACA],” Obama… strongly advised the members of his party seeking office at a Thursday press conference.
The Associated Press helped lay the groundwork for the president’s call to action the day prior when they published a story featuring a variety of Democratic political consultants advising their ideological allies to take a similar course.
“Democrats need to start making the case for Obamacare,” said North Carolina-based Democratic consultant Thomas Mills. “They all voted for it, they all own it, so they can’t get away from it. So they’d better start defending it.”
It seems like everyone who is not up for re-election in 2014 is giving advice to everyone who is up for re-election. And their advice is always to stand up for the President’s signature law. Don’t worry about what the pollsters tell you. Don’t worry about how the Republicans are campaigning. Just fully support Obamacare and all will be well.
But Democratic Representative Stephen Lynch from Massachusetts has a different perspective. He voted against the Affordable Care Act in 2010.
“There are parts of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, that were postponed because they are unpalatable,” Lynch observed. “As these provisions come into effect, the administration thus far is saying, ‘Gee, we really can’t handle this right now so we’re going to delay it.’”
“These obligations keep piling up,” he continued. “Any individual with an individual healthcare plan that exceeds $10,200 is in a Cadillac plan situation. They’re going to have to pay — that employer, if they provide that, and many do today let alone in 2018 — will have to pay a 40 percent tax on the amount over the minimum established — excuse me, the maximum established under the Affordable Care Act.”
“That is a huge tax. It’s the first time in this country’s history that we have actually taxed health care,” Lynch said. “We used to treat it like food, that people would die without it. Well, we’re in a new day now.”
Here, Lynch implies that Republicans could — if they were so unscrupulous — turn the liberal strategy of accusing those Republican-led states that refused to expand Medicaid of murder on its head.
“We will lose seats in the House,” the Bay State congressman confessed when pressed on the likely political impact of the ACA. “I am fairly certain of that based on the poll numbers that are coming out from the more experienced pollsters down there. And I think we may lose the Senate.”
Lynch did not mince words when he said that the Democrats’ dire political straits are “primarily because of health care.”
The elements of the law that Lynch cited which have yet to kick in are only some of the more onerous aspects of the law that continues to tick ominously like the economic time-bombs they are. Many analysts believe that the flood of cancelled individual insurance plans that characterized the law’s early implementation period was merely a prelude to when (or, as former White House Press Sec. Robert Gibbs said, if) the ACA’s employer mandate is enacted.
Obama, remember, is insisting that only “political spite” explains the refusal to expand Medicaid. Once taxes kick in, it might become quite clear that there was a more rational motive.
In any case, I can’t say for certain that Lynch is right. But I plan to work and vote in a way that will help prove him right!