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Mike Pride

Mike Pride: Message to Democrats: Embrace Obamacare

President Obama’s State of the Union Address was a yawner, but let’s hope New Hampshire’s Democratic members of Congress didn’t nod off during his riff on Obamacare. All three of them, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Annie Kuster are up for re-election in the fall, and on this issue the president gave them a model for winning.

Maybe the Republican Party will wake up one morning and realize that destroying Obamacare without offering a positive alternative is a losing proposition, but the odds are against it. Already, Americans for Prosperity, the Koch Brothers’ mega-PAC, has run a $20 million ad campaign flogging Democratic congressional candidates on Obamacare.

In December, Kuster was a target of one of these ads even though she was not in Congress when the Affordable Care Act passed. Not that she would have opposed it, but the ads are a big Republican bet that Obamacare will be a winner for the Republican Party come fall.

The best response for Kuster, Shea-Porter and Shaheen is to embrace Obamacare wholeheartedly, and the sooner the better. In Obama’s speech, he showed them the way to do it.

In case you missed it, the president began by saying that Obamacare was about fixing a broken health-care system that has caused families economic hardship for decades. He singled out a physician-assistant and single mother in the audience who signed up for Obamacare on Jan. 1 and used it to help pay for emergency surgery five days later.

“That’s what health insurance reform is all about – the peace of mind that if misfortune strikes, you don’t have to lose everything,” the president said.

Obama said that 3 million Americans under the age of 26 had gained health insurance under their parents’ plans. Nine million citizens have obtained private health insurance policies or Medicaid. He lauded the law’s provision allowing people with pre-existing conditions – asthma, cancer – to be insured. He pointed out that women could no longer be charged more than men for coverage.

“The American people aren’t interested in refighting old battles,” he said.

Then he addressed Republicans directly: “If you have specific plans to cut costs, cover more people and increase choice, tell America what you’d do differently. Let’s see if the numbers add up. . . . We all owe it to the American people to say what we’re for, not just what we’re against.”

This is the argument the state’s Democratic members of Congress should carry into their campaigns. Even in December, with the Kochs waging their television attacks and amid fresh memories of the faulty rollout of the program, the polls were mixed on whether opposing Obamacare was a winning argument for Republicans.

Between now and November, the website woes of 2013 will fade away, and the numbers Obama used Tuesday night to make his case will grow and grow.

Here’s the question Republican congressional candidates won’t be able to answer during the campaign: What will you do for the millions of Americans who will lose their health insurance if you get what you wish for and vote down the Affordable Care Act?

Obamacare can be a winner for Democrats in yet another arena, and that is the Legislature. Senate Republicans have blocked the expansion of Medicaid in New Hampshire. If they continue to do so, they will – and should – pay a price in November. As long as they dally, the state’s working poor citizens, and their children, pay the price.

So far, Republicans seem intent on fighting the last war. History has been unkind to the party when it has taken such a stance.

Social Security and Medicare are not part of a communist plot, and Obamacare isn’t evidence of creeping socialism. The public likes the programs for the elderly. As the new health-insurance overhaul takes effect, they expect their public servants to work out the kinks, not fight a lost battle to the last barricade.

If the Republicans insist on making Obamacare the cornerstone of their fall campaign, Shaheen, Kuster and Shea-Porter should stand up for the program. Flaws and all, it’s a winner for the country, and it will be a winner on Election Day.

(Former Monitor editor Mike Pride of Concord is the editor of “Our War: Days and Events in the Fight for the Union.”)

Legacy Comments19

NObamaKare - The worst possible thing we could do…is saddle businesses with new taxes and regulations that discourage hiring and expansion and encourage cutting jobs and hours. Yet that is precisely what the president’s health care law does. The health care law has been a disaster from the start, devastating both family budgets and the economy as a whole. Every Democrat who voted for this law owes the American people an explanation. And Americans will demand one at the ballot box.” –Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.

Jeanne Shaheen said this in an interview last week: "At least for people who are willing to pay more, that they have that option of going to their doctor and hospital no matter what their insurer does." Isn't that nice, you can now keep your doctor if you are willing to "pay more". Whatever happened to a persons body and their right to control those choices? Shaheen shows no empathy, whatsoever. Shaheen went on to say: ""I would've designed it differently had I been designing it. I wasn't the person who was writing the law. Hindsight is 20/20." Well, whooopeeee ding. So now we just have to 'live with it'? It needs to be repealed and those damaged by the law made whole by the government. Time to start from scratch. But many folks who have paid handsomely over the years for their insurance should not be penalized and pay more now to cover others who have not fended for themselves. Makers and takers all over again and the takers are all here to support the bill.

Obamacare will push 2 million workers out of labor market: CBO ....

Posted to Sail, GWTW, and others with equally flawed thinking: I'll ask the question of you, if you want to end Obamacare, exactly what do you have to propose in return? The old system? Or can you come up with something better? As an optimist I am always hoping for an intelligent response, but past experience tells me none of you have any of that when it comes to health care, or alternative ideas that would work. "No no no" is your plan.

They all have one plan, Tax Credits.. Which is a great plan since "we all know" the poor don't pay taxes.

Oh yes, according to Forbes, hell has frozen over because the Responsible Republicans also proposed a 35% tax increase to pay for it.

If you read any qualified current events you would know of the many different proposals put forth by the Responsible Republicans. As you obviously only read this rag and other liberal screeds you do not even know of the proposal put forth a few weeks ago.

Here is a common sense program.....1) Health care for folks earning less than $20,000 as singles or less than $40,000 as a family, could be subsidized depending on assets and qualifying them based on "needs"; so a "needs" test. 2) Then allow people to write off the first $20,000 of their medical bills from dollar # one. No threshold but all care after the cost of well care and prescriptions. 3) Pharmaceutical companies have a limited time to recoup their investment and that is why drug prices are so high so allow them an extra 2 years but in those extra two years they have an exclusive patent to their own drug but it must be sold at generic prices., giving them two years to recoup their investment. That would give then an incentive to make their name brand creations more affordable in the first couple of years of production. 4) Tax free medical spending accounts, that is a no-brainer. 5) Give a $500 rebate to taxpayers who seek well care visits and can provide a receipt of their visit. 6) No illegal aliens would be allowed to seek care on our dime. If they show up in emergency rooms they would be treated and then deported when they were well enough. 7) No abortions would be paid for by any government funds, it would be viewed as elective surgery, similar to cosmetic surgery. 8) To ensure health of those less fortunate, all food stamps and EBT cards would be redeemed for specific, healthy food items. Therefore only fresh fruits, milk, eggs, whole grain bread, fresh vegetables. Not a $$ focus but make those healthy foods available in larger amounts. If it is found that a person on public assistance smokes, benefits would be ended. 9) Funding for all of this would come from ending programs in the GAO waste and duplicate spending program report. Also to pay for it, federal government would be cut by 10% across the board.

As far as expansion of Medicaid Expansion, better be careful what you wish for. There is a penalty in Medicaid that allows the Gov. to recoup cost by seizing assets. It hasn't been an issue in the past because Medicaid was for the TRULY NEEDY/POOR. Many now enrolling in Medicaid have assets/homes etc. So go right ahead and see what happens years down the road when Obama and all those that pushed this poorly written and never read bill thru, are all gone and out of the public eye.

When a senior is on Medicare and goes into a nursing home, Medicaid kicks in. Many very rich seniors and their families who can well afford to pay for themselves put assets in trust so that the government can't recoup the cost of their care. I don't think taxpayers should be stuck for these costs. As you say it is for the truly needy. The people enrolling for Obamacare Medicaid are also to be low income and not able to pay on their own. If they have hidden assets then they are lying to get it and their assets should be seized.

There are 10-12 democrat Senators that are in toss up races that will all run from this NObamaKare disaster like the plague. As a result of their hypocrisy the Responsible Republicans take over Senate and hold the House

I agree... Dems Pleeeeezzzzzeeee Embrace Obamacare. If this was so great why wait 45 minutes into his speech to tout his "signature piece of legislation". Even vulnerable Dems including Shaheen who cast the deciding vote thanks to Reid and his procedural motion not allowing Scott Brown to be sworn in are running from the anointed one. They all have excuses why they won't be stumping with him during re-election. So YES PLEEEZZZEEE EMBRACE OBAMACARE!!!!!!!!!!!

"not allowing Scott Brown to be sworn it"? Has he been elected yet? Do any of you right wing Republicans realize what you are getting when you ask for a blue state Republican, whether it is Christie, Brown or Romney. They are all moderates. Don't remember George Bush spending much time with Romney when he was running.

the difference is simple the hospital might be willing to wave such, considering they are getting paid something when in the past they got paid nothing, as hospitals get paid more for the care they provided the cost should come down thus insurance payouts should be reduced as the cost is being spread over a large base. the difference also is a person who gets seriously sick doesn't risk losing everything as the insurance company pays the bulk of care, and again if the person is unable to pay the full co pay might be able to get the hospital to wave part or all.

THIS IS HEALTH CARE The documentary, Forks Over Knives, is health care. The rest is still wag the dog insurance company focused and is NOT helping care for ones health. That MUST begin inside our cells.

What is profound to me, is that if the President and Congress cared about the HEALTH of Americans, the five year, $500 billion Farm Bill expenditure would reflect the support of healthy food systems, perhaps teaching poorer people how to grow food as they are able, and would not subsidize, as the USDA has since it's creation in the 1800's, production of what led this nation to a health crisis! Its equally profound to me, that tax dollars are expended, again, to run massive government agencies that call themselves Centers For Disease Control and PREVENTION, National Institute of HEALTH, but the focus has never been, to the best of my research over the past twelve years, in disease prevention by teaching Americans to stop eating the SAD, Standard American Diet. It's a tragedy that our political leaders are empowered by agribusiness, to continue investing in disease care, and a food system that manifests in every degenerative disease our culture experiences. If any President cared about HEALTH CARE, he or she would distribute tax expenditures far differently to encourage healthier food production instead of giving dairy, feed corn, livestock production, and other unsustainable, unhealthy production, our taxes. It is disingenuous to tout concern for health care, while never helping educate about far better HEALTH outcomes, as those of us who switched to a veg diet are experiencing.

Thank you Laura Beth...excellent point.

"Flaws and all, it’s a winner for the country..."...Just what are those flaws? Whats the difference if a person can barely afford the premiums, gets sick, goes to the E room, and cant afford the deductible?

Exactly. Thank you for bolstering up the case for single payer health care for all Americans!

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