Democrats prepare for damage control over Obamacare premiums

Interesting article recently in Politico that details how Democrats are preparing their talking points on the premium shock about to hit the healthcare market – right before the mid-term elections.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in Arizona’s 1st, 2nd and 9th congressional districts where Democrats are seated and being challenged by Republican challengers. (My prediction is Tobin, McSally and Rogers will win Tuesday.)

Here’s the article written by Edward-Isaac Dovere.

Obamacare’s next threat: A September surprise

Obamacare open enrollment closed March 31. The White House’s Obamacare war room did not.

Most state health insurance rates for 2015 are scheduled to be approved by early fall, and most are likely to rise, timing that couldn’t be worse for Democrats already on defense in the midterms.

The White House and its allies know they’ve been beaten in every previous round of Obamacare messaging, never more devastatingly than in 2010. And they know the results this November could hinge in large part on whether that happens again.

So they’re trying to avoid — or at least, get ahead of — any September surprise.

Aware that state insurance rate hikes could give Republicans a chance to resurrect Obamacare as a political liability just weeks before the midterms, the White House’s internal health care enrollment outreach apparatus immediately redirected into a rapid-response, blocking-and-tackling research and press operation geared toward preempting GOP attacks on the issue.

In what aides say is a sign of a changed approach within the White House — but also heightened concerns around the midterms — they’re even coordinating with Hill Democrats, funneling localized background analysis and talking points to each state’s delegation through Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer’s Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. They’ve also relied on California Rep. Henry Waxman’s staff at the Energy and Commerce Committee to produce rebuttal reports, often in advance, on GOP claims about insurance.

“One of the lessons we’ve learned in implementing health care is to stay on it,” said Tara McGuinness, the White House senior communications adviser who has been spearheading the effort for the West Wing, reflecting on previous run-ins. “We are not going to let anyone distort the debate.”

(continue reading)


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