Democrats Plan To Address ACA Ahead of Midterm Elections
Democratic leaders are urging party members to talk openly about the Affordable Care Act's problems and suggest fixes to them, ahead of the 2014 midterm elections, according to a recent memo sent to House Democratic candidates, Politico reports (Hohmann, Politico, 2/18).
The strategy -- written by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee -- marks a significant shift from the party's 2010 strategy, when House Democrats largely ignored the ACA and ultimately lost control of the House (Parker, New York Times, 2/16).
In the memo, DCCC Deputy Executive Director Jesse Ferguson wrote, "The best way to push back on the attacks we know Republicans will launch over health care is to be on offense about what your opponent would do to health care while highlighting your commitment to fixing and improving the law."
The memo outlined 17 poll-tested strategies against Republicans who have voted repeatedly to repeal the ACA, such as warning that GOP lawmakers would eliminate some popular provisions of the law, including those that bar insurers from denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions and those aimed at boosting coverage for women and reducing prescription drugs costs for elderly U.S. residents (Politico, 2/18). Specifically, the memo recommended accusing Republican candidates who voted to repeal the ACA of wanting "to go back to the days when insurance companies could charge women more than men for the same coverage and treat pregnancy as a pre-existing condition" (New York Times, 2/16).
In addition, the memo suggested that Democrats characterize Republicans as advocates for insurers, with one talking point alleging that the GOP's approach to health care could result in larger bonuses for CEOs of insurance companies (Politico, 2/18).
Democrats say the new strategy is in line with polling data that suggests U.S. residents favor efforts to improve the ACA over repealing it.
The memo's recommendations already can be seen in various campaign advertisements across the country.
For example, an ad for Sen. Mary Landrieu, (D-La.) -- who is considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the upcoming elections -- addresses the rocky rollout of the ACA and touts a bill she sponsored that would allow U.S. residents to keep their insurance plans even if the plans failed to meet the minimum requirements of the ACA (New York Times, 2/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.