White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said Democrats are going to keep the Senate in the fall because of Obamacare, not in spite of the healthcare law.
“I do think that the Republican argument of repeal is a political loser. What they are arguing now is that the 7 million people who signed up through the exchanges, and the millions more who got it from Medicaid and other ways, they are going to take healthcare away from all of those people,” Pfeiffer told CBS. “And then what they are going to do for the millions of Americans — the 85 percent of Americans who had healthcare before the Affordable Care Act — is that they are going to take away their protections, because embedded in the Affordable Care Act was the Patients Bill of Rights.”
“So we will go back to the days where men paid more than women — or women paid more than men for the same health care, seniors paid more for prescription drugs, and insurance companies had all the power. That is not a good argument to make.”
Pfeiffer acknowledged that there’s “a lot more work to do” with Obamacare, particularly in how the sign-up system has functioned.
“We have to ensure that the 7 million folks who signed up have a good transition into health care. We have a number of people who were in the queue when the deadline hit who we have to get signed up,” he said.
“We don’t have complete data yet, but 200,000 additional people have signed up this week. So that’s progress. And we have to continue implementing the law. There was a celebratory moment, we all felt pretty good when we hit this mark that no one thought we were going to hit. But it is not a victory lap.”
Pfeiffer also said they’re studying the demographic data of sign-ups, and “what we have thus far through February is perfectly in-line with what the insurance companies say they need to have a good mix.”
“And all indications are, particularly if we follow the same example that Massachusetts did, more young and healthy people come in at the end,” he said.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), though, said “we’ve got the math in our favor” for Republicans to take the Senate.
“The polls are very clear. I saw something on RealClearPolitics saying that 111 consecutive polls have said that Obamacare is viewed unfavorably, not favorably. And there’s a good reason for it. Costs are going up and people are losing their choices of healthcare providers. So no, it’s not popular. And particularly in the Senate seats that are up this year, it’s pretty unpopular,” he told Fox this morning.
“…But look, it’s going to depend on good candidates. I think we have some great candidates and what the mood of the country is. And right now, you know, people are discouraged about the economy, as they should be. It has not turned around. And they’re very concerned about Obamacare and how it’s going to affect them and their families.”