In a public relations move worthy of a George Orwell novel, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer twisted President-elect Donald Trump’s famous slogan in an attempt to block efforts to repeal and replace the disastrous and horridly misnamed Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare).
In an interview with Politico, New York Senator Schumer announced that he has briefed his colleagues on a new messaging campaign to launch the catchphrase “Make America Sick Again.” Beginning on January 15, Democrats will launch health care-themed rallies across the country, trying to brand Republicans as anti-health care for wishing to repeal Obamacare.
“Less health care and it will cost more,” Schumer said Tuesday. He warned that repealing Obamacare “will create chaos. Because you cannot repeal a plan and put nothing in its place. It doesn’t matter if you say the repeal won’t take place for year [sic] or two years.”
Democrats are launching an all-out effort to salvage Obamacare, with President Obama coming to Capitol Hill Wednesday to rally his party behind the law. At the same time, Vice President-elect Mike Pence is meeting with Republicans about rolling it back.
Displaying his political savvy, the Senate minority leader declared that Democrats don’t just care about Obama’s health care law. “Our message is not just on Obamacare. Our message is don’t cut health care,” Shumer said. “Medicare. Medicaid. Obamacare.”
This is smart messaging, because a great deal of Obamacare focused on expanding Medicaid, a program which suffers from massive fraud. Any plan to dismantle Obama’s health care law would likely cost Medicaid in the meantime — a benefit for taxpayers but a public relations struggle. Democrats could use this aspect of reform to brand Republicans as evil lovers of the rich who would remove health care from the poor.
Even though Senate Democrats face a challenging election map in 2018, Schumer was confident that his colleagues would remain steadfast in opposing Republican plans to repeal and replace Obamacare.
“I’ve talked to just about every one of my colleagues,” he explained. “Obviously they’re not going to say we won’t look at anything. But the idea of just tweaking a Republican plan that takes away these benefits, the bottom line is there is virtual unanimity in our caucus that we’re all from Missouri: Show me. If they show us a plan, and it’s a plan that we can live with, of course. But we’re not going to sit down in a room with them once they repeal and say let’s figure out a joint plan.”
Ironically, this kind of obstinacy is what gave us Obamacare to begin with — the Democrats were unwilling to compromise on their health care plan, so they pushed it through Congress on a party-line vote.
And what kind of “benefits” would repealing Obamacare take away? Famously, President Obama won PolitiFact’s “Lie of the Year” in 2013 after he promised “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” under Obamacare. The law has also precipitated a spike in health care premiums. The nonprofit Freedom Partners predicted that premiums would rise in every state but one last year, and indeed, premiums spiked an average of 22 percent.
Implementing Obamacare has been an infamous nightmare. When the website Healthcare.gov launched in October 2013, it crashed multiple times in one day. Even by late November, the launch had remained between 60 and 70 percent unfinished. Oh, and there were reports of security breaches.
In August, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest argued that Obamacare was not failing, and the Internet collectively laughed at him.
But it gets worse: The Obama administration has used the health law’s regulations to push the LGBT agenda on religious health care providers. It isn’t even just the Little Sisters of the Poor going all the way to the Supreme Court to fight mandates that they pay for abortifacients, either. On the last day of 2016, a federal judge had to put a stay on HHS regulations that would have forced Christian employers and health providers to cover and provide transgender surgery as health care.
It has become clear Obama’s reform was likely intended to fail, so as to enable Democrats to push a single-payer replacement. Now, Republicans have taken control of the government, and it seems likely someone besides the socialist Democrats will be able to replace Obamacare. This must be stopped at all costs.
Hence the PR campaign, the catchy slogan, and the Democrat march into obscurity. So long as Republicans can present a strong, solid Obamacare replacement plan (no easy task, but possible), they can reveal Democrats as the obstinate socialists they are. If Obamacare is replaced, and the system improves, and Democrats weren’t involved in its replacement, their political marginalization is likely to continue.
The 2018 Senate elections already look less than promising for Democrats. Will they continue to dig their own hole? Pass the popcorn.