Get Ready for the GOP War on Health Care

November 21, 2013 RSS Feed Print

A new Republican memo, according to today’s New York Times, prods the party to adapt a rollout strategy for killing the Affordable Care Act: message points, hearings, “a multilayered, sequenced assault.

They have created a “war room” to coordinate all aspects of the attack and sent out a 17-page playbook with sample opeds, social media tactics, a “Call to Action” email chain and numerous talking points as well as a calendar of activities.

This is election 2014 for the Republicans – ‘rev up your engines’ is the order of the day.

[See a collection of political cartoons on Obamacare.]

The White House needs to move fast to counter this onslaught. It is time for an all out effort to not only implement the reform, fix the website and sign up people, but the president and his team must again seize the offense in this debate.

And it must begin now.

Much as Rahm Emmanuel took charge of the effort in the White House during the Clinton administration to pass NAFTA, President Obama needs his own war room to run this operation.

Here are eight specific actions that must be put in place immediately:

  1. Someone must be in charge, fulltime.
  2. A solid group of seasoned staffers must be in place.
  3. A “fact/fiction” website must be up and running with daily updates.
  4. An outreach operation must be humming.
  5. A direct line to Hill Democrats must be established with a point person devoted solely to this issue.
  6. A research and data team must be in place.
  7. Someone must be given responsibility to coordinate the various federal departments
  8. A press liaison must be in place to be proactive.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the Republican Party.]

There are important arguments that are getting lost in this furor – and have been buried from the very beginning. The old system was a disaster and everyone knew it. Horror stories were abundant for decades about cost, access, getting kicked off plans, bankruptcies, shoddy care and shoddy plans. Never mind the number of people without care or forced into emergency rooms, the most expensive form of “insuring” their health. The current “stories” don’t hold a candle to what was happening for decades.

On the cost side, the math isn’t too hard to understand. If you enroll over 30 million new people in insurance plans the pools grow substantially and the number of people paying is an insurance company’s dream. What insurance executive doesn’t want that outcome?

The critical question now is whether the ACA will be allowed to work or whether it will be deep-sixed by a concerted Republican campaign machine.

The Obama team has to engage and engage with overwhelming force. To do otherwise would be malpractice.