President Obama has a simple message for Obamacare critics: “we’re not going back.”
“If I’ve got to fight another three years to make sure this law works, then that’s what I’ll do,” he said at an event Tuesday afternoon.
The speech kicked off a new White House campaign to refocus the Obamacare narrative on the positives of the law, following two months of negative coverage of the troubled rollout of HealthCare.gov. Now that the consumer experience side of the exchange website is largely fixed, the administration plans to spend the next three weeks leading up to the first enrollment deadline on Dec. 23 by publicizing the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.
The President’s speech today was a more forceful defense of the law than has been given in recent weeks, and indicated a clear message going forward: the status quo is not an option.
“If you ask many of the opponents of this law what exactly they’d do differently, their answer seems to be, well, let’s go back to the way things used to be,” he said, explaining that the law’s opponents have yet to coalesce around a viable health care alternative.
“If, despite all the millions of people who are benefitting from it, you still think this law’s a bad idea, then you’ve got to tell us specifically what you’d do differently to cut costs, cover more people, make insurance more secure, Obama said. “You can’t just say that the system was working with 41 million people without health insurance.”
The administration’s strategy is to set up this dichotomy between what is available under Obamacare, and what was wrong with the status quo — the default comparison metric since Republicans have been heavy on calls for repeal without options to replace it.
Obama said the ACA is working and will continue to work better. While he welcomed suggestions for how to improve the law, he insisted repeal is not going to happen.
“Look, I’ve always said I will work with anybody to implement and improve this law effectively,” he continued. “But we’re not repealing it as long as I’m president. I want everybody to be clear about that. We will make it work for all Americans.”
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Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
“We haven’t seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena.” So says Bill Maher in his Hollywood Reporter cover story (more a stream-of-consciousness riff than an essay, actually). Conservative states may never vote for a socialist in the general election, but “this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated.” Maher saves most of his bile for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, writing that by nominating Palin as vice president “John McCain is the one who opened the Book of the Dead and let the monsters out.” And Trump is picking up where Palin left off.