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ACA Agonistes
Dems Try New Strategy: Admitting Obamacare's Flaws

When it comes to Obamacare’s effects, you ain’t seen nothing yet. A piece in the WSJ lays out the ways in which the ACA’s main impacts are still in the future. Issues ranging from how hospitals manage the influx of new patients to how Americans will react to new prices and regulations are still very much up in the air. If early signs are any indication, some of these developments are likely to shake out badly, and the Democrats know it.

The NYT reported a few days ago that Democrats looking forward to the 2014 midterm elections are changing their tune on Obamacare:

Party leaders have decided on an aggressive new strategy to address the widespread unease with the health care law, urging Democratic candidates to talk openly about the law’s problems while also offering their own prescriptions to fix them.

The shift represents an abrupt change from 2010, when House Democrats tried to ignore the law entirely and “got their clocks cleaned,” said Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, referring to the more than 60 seats that Republicans picked up to regain control of the House.

“Part of what we learned in 2010 is that this is a real issue of concern to voters and you can’t dodge it, you have to take it on, and I think Democrats are much more ready and willing to do that in 2014,” said Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster who has done surveys for Democrats on the law.

The video above shows Senator Amy Klobuchar and Reps. Tim Walz and Collin Peterson at a panel in Minnesota answering a question from the audience about Obamacare (h/t Hot Air). This is exactly the kind of question Democrats looking to this new strategy will have to answer.

However, while admitting that the ACA has serious flaws is a good place to start, it might not be enough to save the Democratic Party’s bacon come November.

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  • Jim__L


  • MarkE

    If the Democratic Party and Obama admit that the ACA is fundamentally flawed then they are agreeing that it will need modification until the public is satisfied with the plan. The public will never be satisfied with the plan because medical care is a personal service unlike the impersonal services (military, police, tax collection) that the government is really good at.
    This means that the public will expect continued modification of the plan through every administration. If the Republican Party can win the Presidency, they will be expected to make changes in accordance with the philosophy of the party in power.

    The concept of repeal is a good rallying point for the angry and scared electorate, but the really important thing is to win the Presidency. Any objectionable aspect of the ACA can be “administrated” into non-existence.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    This plays right into the Republican Strategy of making the midterms all about Obamacare, if the Democrats are talking about it and the Republicans are talking about it, then it becomes the only issue. And the Democrats who own Obamacare can’t get away from how awful it is, and how awful it will be. The more they talk about how bad it is and how they would fix it, the more the voters will hear about how bad it is and ignore any fixes that may but probably will not work, coming from the people that gave them this huge disaster to begin with.

  • Bruce

    It sounds like the Dems didn’t learn anything in 2010. If they think they can strategize their way in to power by dealing with this head on, they don’t understand that certain things are not spinnable. This hideous law and the destruction it has wreaked on the job market, family budgets and peoples’ security won’t be minimized by trying a different approach than in 2010. Even much of the low information crowd understands what this has done and it’s highly likely they will punish those who shoved this down our throat at the polls, regardless of whether they run from it or address it. Do the Dems really think the public will believe that the party that perpetrated this on us will be the people to fix it? The Dem consultants have to say something to earn their huge fees – even if what they say is wrong.

  • Boritz

    Glasnost and perestroika time.

  • John Stephens

    Too little, too late. Repeal the Democrats first, then Obamacare.

  • ljgude

    WRM in one of his essays on liberalism characterized the modern Democratic party since FDR as “NOT being an onramp to social democracy.” I think that puts a finger on how the American Blue Model differed from its European social democratic counterpart. But the Democrats have run out of room – they have no place to go except up the ramp. Now, 50 years after the social democratic world learned how to do healthcare effectively – producing similar or better health outcomes for half the cost of the US @ 16% 0f GDP, the US has passed a disruptive insurance based system that could well so disrupt both the insurance industry and the healthcare system itself that it could sink the Democratic party. Sink them because the signature accomplishment of social democracies is that they have in various ways provided universal healthcare for their populations and have in many cases gotten better at it administratively as time has passed. In Australia we have a public system that provides for everyone and a private insurance based system giving access to doctors of our choice and treatment in private hospitals. We keep the cost below 10% of GDP because the two systems complement each other. If the waiting lists in the public system get too long, people take up private insurance. And if the insurance premiums get too high they drop the insurance and rely on the public system. The private system takes a lot of pressure off the public system making it better for those who must rely on it. Obamacare has made a complete mess and it will hurt so many ordinary Americans of both parties by giving them less and charging them more that there will be no getting in front of the issue.The problem is a bad law on top of an unsustainable cost structure.As the Eagles pit it: There is going to be heart ache tonight…..and tomorrow night …and for some time to come.

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