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Democrats are apparently itching to get back into the healthcare fight.
Politico reported today,
“We welcome, in a certain sense, their attempt to repeal it because it gives us a second chance to make a first impression,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” He said the debate will allow Democrats to talk about “the good things that didn’t get a real airing during the sturm und drang of the debate.”
During floor debate, House Democrats plan to share stories of people who have benefited from the legislation — and issue a warning that those people would be hurt if the law is repealed. Internal polling by pro-reform groups such as Families USA has found that personal stories are more effective than a list of consumer-friendly provisions.
Pardon me if I doubt their sincerity. During the healthcare debate, the more they talked, the more people disliked it. They can try and highlight the good parts of the legislation all they want, but at the end of the day you can’t polish a turd because, as James Carville once said, “…at the end of the day, it’s still a turd.” Or, if you prefer John Boehner metaphors, it’s a “crap sandwich” that is going to require more than fancy plating to make appetizing.
People don’t like it. A recent Gallup poll found that more people supported repeal of the healthcare bill, than supported the idea of letting it stand. Businesses don’t like it. Seventy-four percent of employers said that they expect the healthcare reform law to increase group health plan costs. And doctors don’t like it. A poll by the Physician’s Foundation found, among other things, that 67% said their reaction was “somewhat negative” or “very negative”
So what are they going to do differently this time to convince everyone that the Obamacare bill is somehow less-bad than it was a couple of weeks ago? Well, they’re digging deep in their bag of tricks to trot out…more personal stories!
If that doesn’t sound like an original idea, it’s because its not. Every opportunity they got, Democrats attempted to leverage the emotions of heart wrenching stories to move the weight of public opinion in their favor.
Who could forget the seven hour anecdote-athon, also known as the Health Care Summit, in which Democrat-after-Democrat lined up to tell the story of a person who had been wronged by the current system. They started reasonably, highlighting some real problems with the system. For instance, President Obama recalled his mother’s battle with cancer and her struggle to get insurance. But somewhere along the line the stories veered from “what a tragedy” to “gimme a break.”
Perhaps the worst offender was Louise Slaughter (D-NY) who told the story of a woman whose sister had recently died. The woman had no dentures so “she wore her dead sister’s teeth which of course were uncomfortable and did not fit.” Although the story did nothing to encourage sympathy for reform, it did create perhaps the best Twitter meme of the entire year – #deadsistersteeth.
America can see through this ridiculous strategy. The personal stories they share are the result of flaws in the system that both parties agreed needed fixing. Insurance discrimination of those with pre-existing conditions, being the main one. Even then, the success of the healthcare law will not be judged by its impact on a few individuals, but rather on the impact on the healthcare system as a whole. The point of reform was to “bend the cost curve” to ensure that healthcare remained affordable for Americans. But the law made a feeble attempt at controlling costs, instead focusing on the idea of universal coverage.
So good luck to Democrats as they attempt to re-sell Obamacare to the American people. If they do half the job they did selling themselves to voters in the recent elections maybe we’ll get this bill repealed after all!
by Brandon Greife, Political Director of the College Republican National Committee