Democrats stuck in stage 3 of ObamaCare grief?

posted at 10:41 am on February 19, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross once proposed that people go through five stages of grief after a loss. The first time I’d ever heard of this was in the film All That Jazz, where the late Cliff Gorman does a stand-up routine based on the theory, although calling it the five stages of death rather than grief (NSFW):

National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar takes this concept and applies it to politics, specifically in the case of Democrats who are struggling to come to terms with the disaster of ObamaCare. Kraushaar argues that Democrats are in stage 3 on the Kübler-Ross scale, bargaining that voters will want them to stay in office to fix the problems revealed in the disastrous rollout of the Affordable Care Act. However, even that sounds like stage 1 – denial:

Indeed, in a sign that Democrats are stuck in neutral on their Obamacare messaging, the “news” from the memo is months old. The strategy devised by the sharpest party operatives has already been in effect in numerous ads across the country and was promoted by the party’s top strategists two months ago. In those targeted races, public polling has shown Democratic standing worsening where the on-air Obamacare debate has already begun. (See: Landrieu, Mary; Hagan, Kay.)

The main reason 2014 is different than 2012 isn’t the quality of the messaging. It’s that the law is now a reality affecting millions of Americans—and more don’t like the changes. The most important test on the ultimate success of the health care law will be whether voters think they’re getting a better deal out of the law than not. And all available evidence, from polling to the government’s cherry-picked enrollment data, suggests that supporters face a tough challenge making the sell.

The actual number of Americans who gained insurance through the law is much lower than the 3.3 million the White House is claiming. The numbers released by the Health and Human Services Department include many people with insurance who were forced out of their previous individual market plans onto the Obamacare exchanges. It also includes those who signed up but never paid for insurance—which makes up about one-fifth of those enrollees, according to a New York Times analysis.

For a crystal-clear sign of the political woes Obamacare faces, look no further than the ad the Democratic House Majority PAC is airing in a majority-Hispanic south Florida district that Obama carried twice. The seat, represented by freshman Rep. Joe Garcia, is one of a small handful in the country that gave Obama a larger share of the vote in 2012 than in 2008—he won 53 percent last election. It’s also one of the media markets where the Obama presidential campaign spent millions of dollars in Spanish-language ads praising the law in unequivocal terms.

This new ad, as part of the damage control, contains no such accolades. It promotes how Garcia “took the White House to task,” referencing its “disastrous” health care website. Like its counterparts, it argues Garcia wants to fix the broken law. Democratic strategists said that outside of the most liberal precincts, they can’t persuade people of the law’s benefits until they acknowledge its problems first.

Indeed. The problem is that the disruption still far exceeds the benefits, and according to the CBO, always will — as 30 million will still be uninsured at the end of the program’s first decade anyway. In the meantime, the impact of the program produces outcomes like this one highlighted by Americans for Prosperity.  Julie Boonstra had satisfactory health insurance and coverage for her medications treating leukemia, until ObamaCare forced her out of her plan despite Barack Obama’s promise:

Americans for Prosperity, a conservative tax-exempt organization, has a new 60-second television ad running in Michigan that criticizes Democratic congressman Gary Peters for his vote and continued support of Obamacare. The ad features Michigan citizen Julie Boonstra, who describes how she was diagnosed with leukemia but lost her health insurance coverage this year because of Obamacare’s regulations.

“I was doing fairly well fighting the cancer, fighting the leukemia, and then I received a letter. My insurance was canceled because of Obamacare,” says Boonstra. “Now, the out-of-pocket costs are so high, it’s unaffordable. If I do not receive my medication, I will die. I believed the president. I believed I could keep my health insurance plan. I feel lied to.”

Democrats shoved ObamaCare through Congress over the opposition of a majority of Americans largely by offering anecdotal arguments. That ground has shifted now that the impact of the ACA is being felt in reality, rather than hailed in theory.  There will be many more stories such as Boonstra’s, and Democrats who think they can defend themselves by saying they waggled a finger at incompetence aren’t in the bargaining stage. They’re in sheer denial.


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Look no farther than yesterday. Almost exactly 24 hours ago, even:
 

Suck it, retirees.
 
Suck it, middle class.
 
rogerb on February 18, 2014 at 2:57 PM

 
As i said, they used their political capital on the Affordable Care Act. That would arguably be a benefit to retirees and to the middle class. Let’s not argue if it actually is a benefit, but you’re position that they were intentionally screwing those two groups is invalidated that they passed legislation intended to help those exact two groups.
 
segasagez on February 18, 2014 at 3:12 PM

 
They know what it’s doing to the people they claimed to want to help, and they know that it’s their fault. It’s why they’re trying to figure out a way to blame (R)s for it.

rogerb on February 19, 2014 at 3:07 PM

the ObamaCare issue should be/ought to be the pathway to recapturing the Senate and increasing their majority in the House this fall.

Bob Davis on February 19, 2014 at 2:40 PM

And? This makes some difference how?

rrpjr on February 19, 2014 at 3:12 PM

The road to economic hell is paved with liberal’s “good intentions”.

DimsdalePiranha on February 19, 2014 at 3:18 PM

In the immortal words of Ronald Reagan, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”

Obama isn’t desperately tweaking and amending his own law by fiat and decree because of compassion for the people. He’s trying to keep the turkey alive past Thanksgiving.

The “risk corridors” to cover the losses of insurers on the exchanges will be the least of his problems. Between the natural adverse selection (those who need and use health care more are most motivated to sign up, the healthy not so much) and all the many waivers and extensions he’s granted (buh-bye, healthy people!), the dreaded “death spiral” is already gaining momentum.

Premiums will be going up, up, up from their already effectively doubling (for equivalent coverage), more people will find it unaffordable to pay them and drop out even as people begin to use their plans and find with the high deductibles and co-pays they aren’t really “covered” for anything and say “screw this” and drop out.

ObamaCare is going to crash and burn, and it won’t be pretty.

Adjoran on February 19, 2014 at 3:22 PM

We are living in Idiocracy, which was a funny movie, but also a dead-on commentary about America, circa 21st century.

USNCVN on February 19, 2014 at 1:55 PM

All good points, and I have to be truthful, Liberals should shoulder much of the blame for the state of the schools. What the liberals have done is localize national elections. Liberals have not been able to nationalize local election, though they are trying. Senate seats are kind of both national and local with house seats being local. The role of the media is not all that powerful in local elections and it currently costs way too much money for a national GOTV effort. This is why Republicans win at the local level.

By “localize national elections”, I mean the Liberal machines, which includes labour unions, now are able to focus their GOTV efforts in smaller strategic areas. I think most folks, both Ds and Rs, would be amazed at how sophisticated our GOTV is in the battle ground states. I have no idea how they obtain the data, but with the services of partners like Google and others, their data mining has no equal. ACORN and the like are not even a tip of the iceberg. By GOTV, I don’t mean on election day; Democrats make many door to door visits well before election day. These visits are not random either and they target voters down to the individual level. This local effort starts 18 months before election day and the cost to run this effort is paid out of funds not collected until a candidate has won their primary because of campaign fund laws. After the primary, funds are legally transferred back to the appropriate parties.

This makes it hard for the Republicans to win the battle ground states, but it can be done as you guys came close in all those states without much of any GOTV efforts. For some reason, Republicans thought President Bush won in 2000 and 2004 because of some great strategies on the part of Karl Rove. Bull, we ran terrible candidates who did not deserve to win. Truth is…..if you guys learn to work at the local level on national elections; you can win. Things are not all roses in our camp as you think and we cannot win on policies and results. Our candidates do not run on “in the weeds issues”; just smoke, mirrors, free this and that, and voter suppression.

Sigh, another long post. GOTV for national election is hard work and the Republican consultants are great at lining their pockets, but not so good at getting voters to the voting box. I know the next statement sounds way to easy and unicorns and skittles like, but if the Republicans would marry true conservative ideas with a well ran and massive GOTV effort……..you would be amazed at the results. The dog food the Democrats are selling ain’t worth a plug nickel…..the dog food the Republicans is selling is just worse than ours.

The really hard part….you would have to get directly involved for this to work and keep your day job. I will say this for the last time…..conservatives have a great message; get it out there and win.

HonestLib on February 19, 2014 at 4:05 PM

And? This makes some difference how?

rrpjr on February 19, 2014 at 3:12 PM

It makes a difference because Republicans could then set the agenda for all legislation that passes through both chambers. It makes a difference because of judicial nominations (perhaps even Supreme Court). It makes a difference because we could then unseat Harry Reid as Senate Leader. It makes a difference because we could send Obamacare repeals–repeatedly–to Obama’s desk and keep the pressure on him and his party.

Yes…it would make a big difference in a lot of ways.

Bob Davis on February 19, 2014 at 4:30 PM

The peasants will have to get on their knees and suck it.
redguy on February 19, 2014 at 10:52 AM

The final stage of grief is: suck it.

HellCat on February 19, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Yes…it would make a big difference in a lot of ways.

Bob Davis on February 19, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Have to disagree. The republicans as presently constituted could own the White House, 90 senators and 400 plus House members and they’re NOT going to defund Obamacare or do a single other remotely controversial thing. Because they are more terrified of the mainstream media than they are committed to any sense of obligation to America or faith to the conservative base.

That’s the bottom fuc*ing line with the Republicans.

rrpjr on February 19, 2014 at 4:36 PM

Heck, life ain’t fair.

HonestLib on February 19, 2014 at 1:09 PM

I suppose that could be one take. I have always tried to adopt this. HeIIfire, life is better than I deserve.

Bmore on February 19, 2014 at 4:59 PM

I suppose that could be one take. I have always tried to adopt this. HeIIfire, life is better than I deserve.

Bmore on February 19, 2014 at 4:59 PM

Hey, I like it. Sunny side up look at life. Good for you!

When I was young and crude I used to say…..life’s a beach, you marry one, then you die. But I am so much wiser now?

HonestLib on February 19, 2014 at 5:27 PM

Russ808 on February 19, 2014 at 1:26 PM

I think the more pertinent question would be which Presidential Candidate had even talked about conservative values since Reagan left office. None. So it is the GOP’s fault if the country embraces socialism, as they have not even presented a case

Brock Robamney on February 19, 2014 at 5:47 PM

If only we had Republicans who would fight…

Mojave Mark on February 19, 2014 at 5:54 PM

“If I do not receive my medication, I will die. I believed the president. I believed I could keep my health insurance plan. I feel lied to.”

Obama lied, people will die. How’s it feel, Toots, to be stupid enough, liberal enough, to believe a lying, leftist sock puppet? We don’t want to hear your whining. What we want to hear is your ANGER!

HiJack on February 19, 2014 at 6:34 PM

conservatives have a great message; get it out there and win.

HonestLib on February 19, 2014 at 4:05 PM

So this then begs the question. If you know the truth of the Conservative message, believe it to be a great message, and yet admit to being a liberal and attempt to win elections for the liberal cause, which sentence can I believe?

Not to be picking a fight, but if you know the message, understand the message, think it’s better than the liberal message, I don’t understand the “I’m a liberal” thing, and not really certain I believe much of what you say.

USNCVN on February 19, 2014 at 8:07 PM

Not to be picking a fight, but if you know the message, understand the message, think it’s better than the liberal message, I don’t understand the “I’m a liberal” thing, and not really certain I believe much of what you say.

USNCVN on February 19, 2014 at 8:07 PM

68?

Good question and I knew someone well seasoned would ask . No reason to believe anything I say as this is the internet and you don’t know me or most likely anyone who posts here.

Yes I am a liberal, but I am other things first. The most important being a dad to my kids and a half decent husband. Yea, I need to work on the husband thing. I have the black heart of a consultant and have worked both sides of isle with good success. Again, I have stated that I am a Liberal and tell the truth as I think I know it. Politics is retail and both parties have something to sell. My point is that, if your side would wake up, you have a product that will sell better than our current product. I am not saying I like your product, nor am I saying our product is all that great with the idiots currently in charge……but the posts I made were based on politics being point of sale. My bad for not explaining the context of my blathering and I am not good at putting my thoughts into words.

With all that…..I think we want the same thing for our country; our kids; our families; our friends. I left politics in 2009 and just recently dipped my toe back into the cesspool. Your comment has given me pause and better I go back into hibernation. For your service, my highest regards and respect.

HonestLib on February 19, 2014 at 10:58 PM

HonestLib on February 19, 2014 at 10:58 PM

We may not agree on all things, but in this I believe I can say that you are a stand up person. I look forward to verbal jousting in the future.

And yes, we both want the same things, and I too do not take my station in life above being a husband and father. The rest of the stuff can and will be gone some day but they won’t.

USNCVN on February 19, 2014 at 11:30 PM

68?

Actually my first was the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69). I served in Reactor Department, then went to the pre-commissioning crew of the USS George Washington (CVN-73). I did get some sea time on the USS Abraham Lincoln and USS Theodore Roosevelt as well.

USNCVN on February 19, 2014 at 11:33 PM

Who here thinks, as I do, that democrats are never going to get past stage 1?

Sterling Holobyte on February 20, 2014 at 1:36 AM

If only we had Republicans who would fight…
Mojave Mark on February 19, 2014 at 5:54 PM

Unless… They are a bunch of neo statists who actually support Obamas Agenda

Brock Robamney on February 20, 2014 at 5:39 AM

gop =’s wet, limp noodles.
what the hell are you going to do with that wet, limp noodle?

mmcnamer1 on February 20, 2014 at 5:50 AM

rrpjr on February 19, 2014 at 4:36 PM

Hard to disagree that Congress is currently occupied by too many GOP squishes (RINO’s).

That’s why we need to elect more staunch conservatives like Ted Cruz to fight our battles.

Bob Davis on February 20, 2014 at 11:00 AM

The only numbers people need to look at is the number of people who signed up for insurance versus the number of people who lost their “substandard insurance”.

djaymick on February 20, 2014 at 11:18 AM

It will all be OK because Magic Johnson says so…

kennethRY on February 20, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Oops!

Wrong again!

How does this keep happening?

Constantine on February 20, 2014 at 1:29 PM

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