The Politics of Obama-care in an Election Year
Read on the Hill (http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/225239...):
The Obama administration is employing an aggressive ground game to build support for its controversial healthcare law that often reaches beyond the Beltway.
While President Obama doesn’t mention healthcare much in his public appearances, the administration consistently touts its popular reforms to make the case for a law with an approval rating stuck just below 50 percent.
In the two years since Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, the administration has released a deluge of positive reports, press releases and blog posts from the White House and the Health and Human Services Department (HHS). The administration consistently highlights new policies as they take effect and tries to keep other popular provisions, such as discounts on prescription drugs, in the news.
Obama will formally launch his reelection campaign on Saturday, but healthcare has so far gotten only a glancing mention in his public appearances and campaign materials.
The campaign’s first ad, titled “Forward,” makes only a brief mention of the landmark law. And Obama did not hold a public event for the second anniversary of the law after marking the one-year and six-month milestones.
Still, it’s clear the administration is trying to do its best to promote the law even if it does not always put Obama in the spotlight to do so.
Democratic strategist Douglas Schoen said the administration is simply doing the best it can with a law that’s not especially popular and might be struck down this summer by the Supreme Court. It has to defend the law, but it doesn’t suit Obama’s political purposes to constantly be front and center in defending it.
“Because there is such a risk of them potentially losing the election over healthcare, they feel they are obliged — required — to advocate for the law,” he said.
“The Obama administration knows very well that healthcare lost them the 2010 election,” he said. “They believe they didn't explain it well and realize some elements are unpopular. They believe more than that they have to mobilize their base."
The Affordable Care Act hasn’t gotten any more popular in the two years since Obama signed it, but it also hasn’t gotten any less popular, even though Republicans continue to assail the law in Congress and on the campaign trail.
Voters don’t love the Affordable Care Act, but polls also show that they don’t understand it very well.
Voters don't understand the Affordable Care Act because it is an arcane wish list of incoherent, expensive, wasteful, half-baked policies which are only taking shape as thousands of pages of regulations are streaming forth from the Obama administration. What is to love in legislation that was sold as reduced cost when everyone knows that it is a budget buster? This legislation was never about what made sense in health system reform, it was always about politics. If the democrats lose another election over this nonsense, they deserve it. The only thing keeping them from being outright losers in 2012 already is the fact that republicans are not offering anything that makes any sense either. Until some politician has the courage to overtly state what is wrong with American health care and then propose a straightforward means to correct the problem, we will continue to have health care reform as political football.
Dr. Joe Jarvis