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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Dems, Don’t Forget the GOP’s Other Big Failure – Health Care Policy

Eleanor Clift explains how “Democrats Can Win if They Make the 2024 Election About Healthcare: Ron DeSantis updated the GOP’s “repeal and replace” Obamacare mantra to “replace and supersede,” and Trump wants to “terminate” it. But voters like the Affordable Care Act” at The Daily Beast:

Of all the issues before voters, healthcare remains the holy grail for Democrats.

In the last three election cycles, it delivered Democratic victories based on deeply held beliefs about which party could be trusted to reform a system that had left millions without health care and millions more bankrupt with medical debt.

The Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010 (and more commonly known as Obamacare), is far from perfect, but it allowed people with pre-existing conditions to get health insurance, it removed unrealistic caps on medical care, and it allowed young people to remain on their parents’ insurance policy until the age of 26.

It was revolutionary, and more than a decade of Republican calls to “repeal and replace” proved futile. The GOP might have learned its lesson, but Donald Trump, who never tires of his old fixations, says on social media he would like to “terminate” Obamacare and “replace it with something much better.”

Clift adds that “it is music to Democrats whenever Republicans start mucking around in health care. Forty million Americans now have health insurance thanks to Obamacare, an ace card that Democrats hold going into the 2024 election where health care could once again play a decisive role in the outcome.” Also,

“It’s the most powerful kitchen table issue there is,” says Leslie Dach, executive chair of Protect Our Care, a health advocacy group, and senior advisor to the Congressional Integrity Project, a pro-Biden rapid response group. “Politically, it’s a loser for them (GOP) because it’s a totally non-partisan issue. The only place it’s partisan is in Washington, D.C. Everybody in America worries about getting sick, and how they’re going to pay for it, and they’re trying to make it an ideological issue.”

In addition, Clift writes, “It will be 14 years in March since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. Most Republicans are ready to put the issue in the rearview mirror, recognizing the futility of repeal and replace, as well as the complexity of the healthcare market in a bitterly partisan political climate….Nikki Haley’s home state of South Carolina and DeSantis’ Florida are two of 10 remaining states that have blocked Medicaid expansion, withholding health care coverage from hundreds of thousands of people.”

Clift concludes, “Any time Trump or DeSantis want to vent about Obamacare, they sharpen the contrast between the party that delivered health care for millions of people and the party that would take it away under the false illusion that they’ve got a secret plan to make it better.”

Sure, Democrats should frame the Republicans’ cluelessness on abortion rights for maximum advantage. But don’t forget their failure to propose a single credible health care reform.

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