“This is about being on offense, not being on defense against the repeal crowd. They’re on the wrong side of this now,” Brad Woodhouse, former Democratic National Committee spokesman and current president of Americans United for Change, told Politico this week regarding the organization’s plan to boost support. “You know what? Obamacare is the law of the land. Hands off my health care.”
“Hands Off Obamacare,” has become the rallying cry of supporters, led by a commercial sponsored by Americans United for Change, a liberal advocacy group. Their mission is to put Republicans on the defensive; an ongoing public relations campaign — including the nationwide commercial — has been designed to highlight the improvements to the American health care system the Affordable Care Act has already made, a move that is aimed at forcing Obamacare opponents to justify why they think a law that will bring coverage to uninsured Americans is a bad idea.
Changing from a defensive stance to an offensive one is an important strategy change for the organization to make, especially since congressional Democrats are concerned that the Obama administration has not been assertive enough in answering Republican’s political attacks of the legislation nor active enough in addressing the problems Obamacare implementation has faced. As Politico reported, the new public relations effort, organized by Americans United for Change and Protect Your Care, a group that solely campaigns in favor of Obamacare, is focused on pounding Republicans for trying to cut off the legislation’s funding. Eddie Vale, a spokesman for Protect Your Care, told the publication that the “resources” and “firepower” the combined organization will have at its disposal will give support to the White House as it talks up the law’s benefits in critical states and give Enroll America the “air cover” it needs to focus on signing up the uninsured for health coverage.
The joint effort will hire Democratic consultants to organize events and “rapid-response” campaigns in ten key states, including Texas and Florida, which are two of the three states with the highest number of uninsured Americans. It will also work with advocacy groups, unions, and think tanks like the Center for American Progress, Planned Parenthood, Health Care for America Now, the Service Employees International Union.
Just as the GOP is planning town hall events to explain why it opposes the Affordable Care Act, so too are the liberal advocacy groups Americans United for Change and Protect Your Care. Not only will they setup town hall meetings of their own, but the groups will send representatives to the GOP town hall meetings to “put Republican lawmakers on the spot, asking questions about benefits they’ve received, like coverage of contraceptives or preventive care, and asking why the Republicans want to take those away,” reported Politico.
“We’re going to hold accountable those members of Congress who, rather incredibly, want to deny their constituents access to affordable health care,” Woodhouse told the publication.
However, the success of this campaign is uncertain. These liberal advocacy groups may not have enough money to compete with the well-funded interest groups that oppose the law. Furthermore, the Republicans hold a trump card of sorts. With the date the Obamacare insurance exchanges are scheduled to open for enrollment — October 1 — drawing ever closer, Republicans are increasing their own efforts to dismantle Obamacare. On Thursday, Conservative groups announced that they using all resources available to build support for proposals in the House of Representatives and the Senate to defund Obamacare when Congress approves funding for the government. A number of Senate conservatives have even said they will refuse to fund the federal government if the administration goes forward with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah announced that an undisclosed number of senators had signed a letter promising to vote down the continuing resolution if it funds the health care reform.
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