It’s another big one, reported today for Politico by Edward-Isaac Dovere:
Aware that state insurance rate hikes could give Republicans a chance to resurrect Obamacare as a political liability just weeks before the midterms, the White House’s internal health care enrollment outreach apparatus immediately redirected into a rapid-response, blocking-and-tackling research and press operation geared toward preempting GOP attacks on the issue.
In what aides say is a sign of a changed approach within the White House — but also heightened concerns around the midterms — they’re even coordinating with Hill Democrats, funneling localized background analysis and talking points to each state’s delegation through Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer’s Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. They’ve also relied on California Rep. Henry Waxman’s staff at the Energy and Commerce Committee to produce rebuttal reports, often in advance, on GOP claims about insurance.
“One of the lessons we’ve learned in implementing health care is to stay on it,” said Tara McGuinness, the White House senior communications adviser who has been spearheading the effort for the West Wing, reflecting on previous run-ins. “We are not going to let anyone distort the debate.”
Sorry, Charlie — but there comes a point where messaging is no longer enough. That point comes when people see their higher premiums instead of the promised savings. It comes when they lose the plan they were told they could keep. It comes when their doctor is no longer covered under their new plan. It comes when they learn the hard way that Medicaid expansion means fewer choices and longer waits.
That’s what’s happening now, which is why ♡bamaCare!!! becomes less popular as it comes into force — at least the parts the White House hasn’t delayed or waived or otherwise dispensed with. If ♡bamaCare!!! was working as advertised, then the White House wouldn’t have a messaging problem; the Republicans would. Instead, the Democrats furiously trying to get out in front of the train wreck they themselves set in motion four years ago.
So instead of a fail, I’m going to chalk up today’s news as a potentially big win.