Obamacare’s Improving Health

Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa.
National Journal
Scott Bland
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Scott Bland
April 23, 2014, 7:40 a.m.

It’s a con­fused time for Obama­care: As its poll num­bers bounce up and down in Gal­lup’s re­cent meas­ure­ments, the sig­nals com­ing from Demo­crat­ic cam­paigns also paint a con­tra­dict­ory pic­ture.

— Pennsylvania gubernat­ori­al can­did­ate Allyson Schwartz‘s (D) new TV ad tout­ing her work on Obama­care has at­trac­ted sig­ni­fic­ant at­ten­tion. It fol­lows an­oth­er not­able move in health care polit­ics, when the main out­side group back­ing Sen. Mark Be­gich (D) aired a testi­mo­ni­al ad tout­ing the law’s in­sur­ance re­forms on preex­ist­ing con­di­tions.

— Yet not every Demo­crat or Demo­crat­ic cam­paign is march­ing in the same dir­ec­tion in its mes­saging. Sen. Kay Hagan‘s (D) first flight of ra­dio ad­vert­ising in­cluded cri­ti­cism of North Car­o­lina state House Speak­er Thom Tillis (R) for once call­ing health care re­form “a great idea” (be­fore say­ing it couldn’t be paid for). Mean­while, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D), also in a tough red state race, pledged to the Wash­ing­ton Post this week that she’ll be on of­fense on health care, re­gard­ing Medi­caid ex­pan­sion and oth­er ac­cess is­sues.

— Obama­care’s healthy en­roll­ment num­bers and oth­er re­cent suc­cesses in cer­tain states, after a rocky start at im­ple­ment­a­tion, may even­tu­ally force Re­pub­lic­ans to change their strategy of at­tack­ing the law. (Demo­crats ar­gue res­ults in 2012 and oth­er elec­tions show it’s already cost­ing them.)

But for now. it’s Demo­crats who are go­ing with dif­fer­ent mes­sages in­dif­fer­ent situ­ations, from Demo­crat­ic primar­ies to tough gen­er­al elec­tion match­ups. Obama­care isn’t a com­pletely stable fix­ture of the polit­ic­al land­scape; opin­ions on it con­tin­ue to evolve. So, too, will the mes­saging we see.

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