The one simple sentence that can change everything
The political momentum continued to shift away from Republicans this week as conservatives took shrapnel from the Bundy implosion, polls continued to show Obamacare is far more popular than repeal even in red states and Democrats have found ways to embrace the law as Republicans continue to fail to win “the big argument.”
Perhaps the biggest news was that Speaker John Boehner, in a speech attempting to marginalize the Tea Party movement, admitted that Republicans can’t repeal the law, unless they have something to replace it with, which they don’t.
Reality won’t stop the party’s far right from pretending that repeal is a real possibility but it does show that the more than 8 million exchange enrollments in addition to the 4 -15 million Americans who have gained coverage thanks to the law have changed the political dynamics.
In Michigan, Rep. Tim Walberg was forced to admit in a town hall that Obamacare is helping some people, something that Republicans have avoided doing for years. But Walberg added a thought that exposed his party’s weakness on the issue.
“A lot of people told me, ‘I never wanted to be subsidized by the government,'” he said.
Anyone who has employer-provided health insurance, any self-employed person who gets a tax break to buy health insurance, anyone who ends up on Medicare IS BEING SUBSIDIZED BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Does Walberg want to eliminate all that? No, he wants to welfarize Obamacare.
The fantasy that we aren’t in this together when it comes to health care needs to be exposed and there’s one simple sentence that does that:
If they’ll take away your Obamacare, they’ll take away your Medicare.
And by Medicare, I don’t just mean Medicare, but the catchall word for the coverage that government already provides. But let’s be clear: Paul Ryan does want to cut Medicare, plenty.
His new budget raises Medicare’s prescription medication costs for seniors and eliminates their free preventive care immediately. For those under 55, his new plan guts Medicare less than his previous three but it still passes costs on to seniors in ways that millions won’t be able to afford while raising the retirement age to 70.
But cuts to Medicare and the future and cuts now are almost secondary to the real damage Ryan wants to do.
When seniors think about Medicare, they know that Medicaid is the safety net to catch them when they become unable to care for themselves. Ryan’s plan cuts Medicaid by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. This would immediately jeopardize seniors access to safe nursing homes while leading to rationing and disabled seniors forgoing necessary care.
And don’t forget the 14.3 – 20.5 million who would lose their Medicaid coverage, many of them who would be in their 50s and 60s.
Obamacare remains unpopular but its repeal is far more unpopular. And it the Republican lust to repeal the law is connected to their promise to gut Medicare and Medicaid, it could severely damage their chances with seniors — America’s most reliable voters.
I still believe this election holds unexpected promise for Democrats. In red and purple states, voters could literally vote themselves health care coverage by electing candidates for Medicaid expansion. In every other state, millions can vote to keep the coverage they’ve gained and to protect the promise we’ve made to seniors.
Republicans have shown again and again that they are willing to gut our health care system while cutting taxes for the richest.
Democrats just need to remind voters of that every chance they get.
UPDATE: Here’s a excellent example of holding his opponent Rep. Tom Cotton accountable for his votes to end Medicare as we know it.
[ longislandwins via Flickr]