No doubt, the Obamacare roll out is a mess. That said, states that set up their own exchanges and expanded Medicare are having success. They are getting insurance to people who have never had it or have been denied affordable coverage for years because of pre-existing conditions. Eventually, this program is going to work. And probably sooner than later.
Democrats need to take a deep breath, steel themselves and stay on message. This program is not about a web site. It’s about providing health care to virtually everyone and controlling costs that have been spiraling out of control. It’s a message Democrats pushed throughout the first decade of this century with overwhelming support. It’s also a message Republicans ignored when they had the power to do something about it.
In states like North Carolina, Democrats should be blaming Republicans for refusing to set up their own exchanges and expand Medicare. They are denying coverage to more than 300,000 people and costing many of the rest of us more money. Make them own it. Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin said as much just a month ago. He and the rest of the Democrats should still be saying it. Over and over and over again.
Democrats’ only option is to make the program work–and it is workable. They’re fools if they think they can run from it now and supporting legislation that will hurt the program will only hurt them. If the program fails, Democrats across the board will get the blame and no amount of maneuvering will change that. So they need to fight to make it work, not appease the small but vocal group of people who are paying more.
Regardless of the recent Gallup poll, people want health care. While the headlines and Republican TV ads have them spooked right now, they will no longer accept a system that denies coverage for pre-existing conditions or sends hardworking families into bankruptcy for sub-par coverage. And the only solution Republicans have offered in the past 30 years is the one Obama is trying to enact now.
My guess is that by April, the furor dies down. The GOP has made such a stink for so long, that Americans who will be little impacted are expecting a huge difference in their lives. The media is loving the drama of the failed web site and increased premiums for a very small percentage of the population. After the March 31 enrollment deadline, most people are going to realize that they’ve seen little change to their lives or their health coverage and all this rancor is going to be a distant memory.
So, Democrats, here’s your message: We want to control the cost of health care and provide affordable care to all Americans while Republicans have failed to offer any solutions to our broken health care system and are now trying to sabotage reform, not fix it.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >