Amid the Republican onslaught, which may have peaked (troughed?) with Rep. Michele Bachmann’s insistence that the law “literally kills” women, children and seniors, what is there for Democrats to say? A few things:
They are proud of what they did. The bottom line here is that as a result of subsidies, Medicaid expansions and new insurance rules, coverage will become available to tens of millions of people who were too sick or strapped to get it under the current system.
People are already receiving benefits and more will start soon. Repeating this message and using specifics to drive it home is key. Free preventive services like mammograms, the guarantee that insurance companies must sell you a policy and can’t kick you off, the requirement that young adults be allowed to stay on their parents’ policies until they turn 26 – these are in force or will be. It is up to Democrats and supporters of the law to make voters aware that these stem from “Obamacare.”
Republicans don’t have a replacement for the law. They continually propose repealing it (“to protect families, workers and seniors from its devastating consequences,” as House Speaker John Boehner put it Saturday in his third-anniversary observance), and vote to do so. But it’s a pointless exercise since Democrats control the Senate and the White House. Beyond that, nobody loves the old system – and that’s what we’d have if Republicans succeeded in their repeal drive, since they have no plan of their own.
The law isn’t perfect and it can be improved.