Four years after the passage of the health care reform law and the subsequent "shellacking" in the 2010 midterm election, Democrats say they are not shying away from the Obamacare fight, even as Republicans make it the centerpiece of their 2014 campaign.
In a new memo, Democratic National Committee spokesman Mo Elleithee takes aim at the Republican strategy for the fall, saying that with the law now implemented, the GOP is for the first time running on a platform of taking away existing benefits. The messaging follows the party's loss in special election in Florida's 13th congressional district earlier this month, where a Republican barrage of anti-Obamacare ads tanked Democrat Alex Sink. But Democrats are pointing a recent incident in which New Hampshire GOP Senate hopeful Scott Brown was confronted by Republicans who are benefiting from the law as a sign of things to come.
"That's the choice voters have in November: between Republicans who voted over 50 times to take away your rights and go back to the days when insurance companies could cancel your coverage on a whim; and Democrats who will protect a law that is working for millions of Americans and make sure it works even better," Elleithee said.
The memo comes in advance of a joint conference call Friday by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and the heads of the party's House and Senate campaign committees to mark the four-year anniversary of the law and discuss its potential impact on 2014 races.
The full memo is below:
From: Mo Elleithee, DNC Communications Director
To: Interested Parties
Re: The Politics of Obamacare, Four Years Later
Date: March 21, 2014
This week marks four years since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. Since its passage, Republicans have spent hundreds of millions of dollars attacking the law, confusing people and discouraging them from participating.
They ran against Obamacare in 2012 and lost. In 2013 in Virginia, Republicans ran against Obamacare and Democrats won historic victories.
All signs point to Republicans running against Obamacare again in 2014. But this year will be a little different - for the first time they are running to take away benefits that virtually every American who has health care is benefiting from.
What's more, they've wasted time and energy voting over 50 times to repeal, gut or dismantle the law at the expense of other legislative priorities that have broad support, like commonsense immigration reform.
Polling consistently shows that the American people reject the GOP's repeal plans.
* A recent Bloomberg poll found that 64% of Americans either support the law as it is or back it with small changes.
* A Kaiser poll from last month found that the American people support keeping the ACA over repeal by a 25% margin.
* In the Florida-13 Special Election, Geoff Garin, the Democratic pollster in the race found that by 57% to 31%, Independent voters preferred a Democrat who wants to improve Obamacare to a Republican who wants to repeal it.
And while the American people don't want to repeal the law, they want to improve it and make sure it works for everyone. That's what the President and Democrats up and down the ballot have said.
That's the choice voters have in November: between Republicans who voted over 50 times to take away your rights and go back to the days when insurance companies could cancel your coverage on a whim; and Democrats who will protect a law that is working for millions of Americans and make sure it works even better.
So far, more than 5 million Americans have signed up for coverage through the state and federal marketplaces alone. About 105 million Americans have received access to free preventive services, including nearly 50 million women who now have things like contraception and cancer screenings covered with no co-pay. More than 100 million Americans no longer have lifetime caps. And 17 million children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied insurance.
Republicans at every level are running to repeal the law and take away benefits that hundreds of millions of Americans are currently benefiting from.
Republicans are running to take away your right to be protected against discrimination because you have a preexisting condition. They want to take away your right to be protected against discrimination because of your gender. They want to open up the Medicare donut hole that would force seniors to pay more for their medical expenses.
Gutting those benefits, repealing those rights are what the Republicans have voted over 50 times to try to do.
With 228 days until Election Day, repealing Obamacare represents the only policy proposal that Republicans seem to be campaigning on.
Meanwhile, Republicans are blocking Democratic-backed proposals to raise the minimum wage, pass commonsense immigration reform, help the long-term unemployed and so much more. Each of those proposals is backed by a majority of Americans.
Democrats are committed to making the health care law work and supporting commonsense proposals that expand opportunity for all Americans.
The American people have a clear choice in November. That's a debate we're ready - and eager - to have.