My View: Dems need to sharpen message on Obamacare
March 20, 2014
After years of the Republicans trying to convince voters simply to repeal Obamacare, polls show most want Obamacare fixed, not repealed.
In spite of lies, misleading advertising and last-minute $5 million dollar scare campaigns (as just witnessed in the recent Florida district House special election that deceptively made seniors fear cuts in Medicare benefits) and the bungled rollout, a recent CNN poll found 51 percent either "favor the law or don't think it goes far enough." The only groups that think it is "too liberal" are Republicans and self identified conservatives
Capitalizing on the botched roll out, the GOP's "repeal Obamacare " pitch goes like this: The Federal Exchange is broken because 22,000 cannot get application mistakes corrected, though the rest of the website is working and most of the state exchanges are working. Therefore, throw the whole system out." What has been demonstrated is that it is possible to fix the administrative problems, computer systems can be fixed as a March 10 Time Magazine story revealed, but it takes time and it is an ever-improving situation.
The Democrats have fumbled, got their message tangled in the weeds, and either run away from supporting it regardless of a prior vote, ignored attacks, changed the conversation to income disparity and minimum wage, blamed the Koch Brothers, or admit it is not working yet "keep it but just fix it". That did not work in Florida as the special election just illustrated.
When the country is so evenly divided, a last-minute scare campaign can be very effective. Ignorance means fear to be exploited. Voters must be educated to inoculate them from anticipated GOP misleading, last-minute attacks and the GOP must be put on the defensive. So far, Democrats have failed to do both. They have not put clearly stated rebuttals into counterattack ads or talking points that bring home the point: Back to the past is worse than a future without Obamacare.
A response that agrees with the GOP, but just offers to fix it without proposing specifics is also not credible.
Fix what and how? With something that does not work?
The fix may cost so much, such as eliminating or delaying any major mandates, it destroys Obamacare's "pay-fors" and the program collapses.
Since the GOP has failed to come up with their "fix-it" plan and the party is stuck on just "repeal it" or replace it with "something that works," they are vulnerable to a better-crafted counterattack.
Here is how such an attack/rebuttal approach might go:
"The website is up and running and it can be improved. What Obamacare does right is to insure pre-existing conditions are covered, that you can get no-copay cancer screenings, allow your 19-year-old child to stay on my insurance, extend the life of Medicare for a decade, and it is necessary to bring down the deficit. What my opponents want is to make you give up all of this because that is what "repeal" means. For those of you who have gotten affordable insurance (nearly 6 million), my opponent wants you to turn in your insurance you just got and trade it in for nothing, to risk bankruptcy and to fear again to seek treatment for whatever ails you because of the cost."
For more on Medicare, visit http://www.mufticforumblog.blogspot.com