Tales from the Trail

“Obamacare” could help Democrats in 2012

October 27, 2010

Republicans are aiming their guns at health reform as they campaign to win midterm control of Congress on Tuesday, and many Democrats are ducking the issue. OBAMA/

But come 2012, the overhaul pushed through by President Barack Obama could help him and his fellow Democrats get re-elected.

Republicans accuse Democrats who voted for “Obamacare” of supporting a government takeover of healthcare. Many promise to repeal the reform passed in March after contentious debate and extended medical insurance to millions of Americans have none.

But public opinion on the law has improved — according to Democratic pollsters Stan Greenberg and Celinda Lake — and will work for Democrats in the presidential and congressional elections two years down the road.

“Every day that passes, healthcare gets more popular,” Lake said at a forum hosted by Health Affairs magazine.

“Candidates have changed their rhetoric from repeal to repeal and replace. They’ve noticed, as we have, that voters don’t want to start all over again,” she said.

Listen to audio from the forum, provided by Health Affairs.

Public discontent with Obama and the ailing economy has put Republicans into position to gain control of the House, though they are not expected to pick up 10 seats they need for a Senate majority.
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Greenberg said the changing electorate — with more non-white people and more unmarried people, who often do not have health insurance — will work in Democrats’ favor in 2012.

By then, free annual wellness visits for Medicare members, discounts to close the Medicare drug-coverage gap known as the “doughnut hole” and a plan to help small businesses offer tax-free benefits will be phased in.

Recent data shows voters are split on the health law. Lake said favorable views will improve as the law is implemented and voters, particularly senior citizens enrolled in Medicare, begin to see the benefits.

“In two years, when seniors realize it hasn’t cut their Medicare … they’re going to have a different opinion,” Lake said.

Reuters photos by: Jonathan Ernst (Obama at a rally for his health reform in Minnesota, Sept. 2, 2009);  Rick Wilking (gastric bypass patient Carolyn Dawson laughs with her surgeon in Denver, Sept. 22, 2010); and, Lucy Nicholson (uninsured girl has eye test in Venice, California, June 25, 2009).

(Updates with link to audio)

Comments
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Those who invested heavily to kill health care reform have kept on investing to ensure Americans’ hostility for the breakthrough accomplishment. Opponents of the legislation, including independent groups, have spent $108 million since March to advertise against it.

That is six times more than supporters have spent, including $5.1 million by the Department of Health and Human Services to promote the new law.

When the new administration began its mission of creating a better healthcare system in America, a coordinated destruction campaign was launched by insurance companies, right-wing activists, and Republicans desperate to prevent Democrats from completing a task that has eluded policymakers since the days of Teddy Roosevelt. They spent hundreds of millions of dollars to crush the effort, and they almost succeeded.

And when they came up short, they spent another $108 million to convince the public, with still more deceptions, to continue to disapprove of the effort they’d already been told not to like.

Ask Americans if they like the law, they’ll say no. Ask Americans if they like the provisions in the law, they’ll say yes. Why is that? Because some powerful folks, motivated by greed and petty partisanship, have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to make the case that the law is somehow a bad thing. If they didn’t, the law not only would be more widely appreciated, but Democrats would very likely be positioned to have a much better midterm cycle.

Posted by GetpIaning | Report as abusive
 

You must be joking. Premiums in CT up by 47%, CA up by 30%. And the full effect will not be felt until 2014. We will not know just how much additional premiums will cost till then. The elimination of high deductible policies is going to produce premium increases in triple digits.

Then Medicare will be cut by $500 billion, and 23 million new patients will be added with no increases in numbers of doctors, nurses, or hospitals. This is going to make people wair months, or even years just to see a specialist. Then a Government bureaucrat will have to deny treatment to the elderly because the budgets will be cut. That is, unless a member of Congress pressures the decision makers in return for campaign contributions. Some call this a bribe.

And compounding the problem is that several of my Doctors have said they did not enter into medicine to be overruled by an administrator who is not a Doctor. So, they will retire, or be forced out of practice by the combination of an unrealistic fee structure and crushing paperwork and reporting requirements.

So, costs will go way up, fees paid to medical practitioners will be subpar like today’s Medicare payments, there will be many Doctors who will retire or quit medicine making waiting lines unnaceptabie, or even impossible. This is the situation today in Hawaii where there are islands which just do not have Doctors in high risk specialities.

What a deal! Higher costs, less choice, rationing of health care, long waiting times, unavailability of Doctors, crowding out of senior citizens with immigrants who will vote for the Democrats and will demand even more services.

And we are expected to like this. Wrong.

Posted by aelemay | Report as abusive
 

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