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Posted at 3:14 PM ET, 01/ 6/2011

Dems sharpen message for health repeal fight

By Greg Sargent

Lots of people around the Web have been asking whether Democrats have settled on a clear, compelling and coherent strategy for the war against the GOP's effort to repeal the health care law, and it looks like the Democratic National Committee has now settled on its messaging.

The DNC is sending out a detailed set of talking points -- sent over by a source -- to surrogates, Congressional officials, activists and volunteers all over the country for use in TV appearances and organizing efforts, another sign Dems are gearing up for a major battle with the GOP over repeal.

The talking points return to a heavy emphasis on tying the GOP to the hated insurance industry, a message we heard frequently during the 2010 campaign. By repealing reform, Republicans would once again allow the industry to wreak havoc on the lives of ordinary Americans by depriving them of safeguards against specific industry abuses. And central to the message is that repeal would lead to an explosion in the deficit, an effort to use this fight to tell a story about GOP deficit hypocrisy:

* Republicans in Congress want to unravel the law that holds insurance companies in check.

* The insurance company lobbyists are working overtime with Republicans to return to the days when insurance companies were free to do whatever they want, including raising premiums and imposing higher costs on families and businesses to protect their CEO bonuses and corporate profits.

* Republicans will allow insurance companies to once again DENY coverage to children with existing conditions, CANCEL coverage when people get sick, and LIMIT the amount of care you can get -- even if you need it.

* When the insurance companies are free to pursue their profits without any accountability, people have fewer choices, fewer options, and little recourse.

* And, by rolling back the Affordable Care Act, Republicans are adding a TRILLION dollars to the deficit.

The new talking points come as The New York Times is reporting that Dems are gearing up to fight repeal with an operation that has all the trappings of a political campaign, including a war room, rapid response, and paid TV advertising. The talking points are meant to compliment those efforts, and crystallize the evolving Dem operation's central message.

The push suggests again that Dems expect this fight to drag on for months, and even years, and are hoping to use it as an opportunity to once again educate the public about what's actually in the law. Full talking points here.

By Greg Sargent  | January 6, 2011; 3:14 PM ET
Categories:  Health reform, House GOPers  
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Next: Senator Nelson's office clarifies position on filibuster reform

Comments

Heh, heh, the Ds finally figured out their problem. Blaming the left is fun, free and easy. But if the Ds don't want to get shellacked again, they better let people know what they are up against.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm curious to see what the Republicans will make up this time. It's hard to get more despicable than death panels, but we are talking about some real disgusting people, I mean Conservatives here, so I'm sure they can top themselves.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 6, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Maddog said it something like this:

The D's main problem is letting the opposition control the narrative. Its why we lost the House. Obama runs away from battle not realizing the troops are ready for battle.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

"including raising premiums and imposing higher costs on families and businesses to protect their CEO bonuses and corporate profits."

I'm sorry but there's a problem with messaging here. Blue Shield is upping their premiums here in CA as much as 59% over the next 5 months for individuals. Anyone think it won't spread to other states?

Posted by: lmsinca | January 6, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

shrink -- thanks for the book recommendations

Posted by: NoVAHockey | January 6, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Might as well toss this into the mix:

~The GOP's Health Care Repeal Problem: $230 Billion In Lost Revenue And Counting~

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/01/the-gops-snowballing-health-care-repeal-problem.php

Basically, the longer the GOP goes without repealing HCR, the bigger the deficit created by the repeal...

Asked about the CBO's projection of the cost of repeal on the deficit, heeeeere's Boner:

"I do not believe that repealing [hcr] will increase the deficit,"

See that? The CBO might "believe" that with their fancy "analysis," but he doesn't. Problem solved.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 6, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

"See that? The CBO might "believe" that with their fancy "analysis," but he doesn't. Problem solved.

Posted by: Ethan2010"

It's a Conservative Thing to call the CBO liars about everything except deficit projections (and even that only when the Dems are in power)

Posted by: DDAWD | January 6, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD,

This is funny too:

"""Because Congressional deliberations on H.R. 2 could begin very soon, CBO is providing in this letter a less-detailed preliminary analysis of that legislation."""

After all that whining about "ramming" HCR through, the GOP won't even waiting for a detailed analysis of their repeal bill.

This right here is the HCR version of "we don't need a complete inspection, we know he has WMD."

Same sh*t, different day.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 6, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Ethan:

That business of the GOP rejecting CBO scores is frighteningly irresponsible. Once the parties are doing their own budgeting there will NEVER be an accurate cost projection. The CBO is one of the very few important non-politicized institutions in our government. Rejecting science on global warming, now rejecting math. Where does it end?

Later.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 6, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, that quotation was from the CBO letter to Boner on HCR Repeal:

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/120xx/doc12040/01-06-PPACA_Repeal.pdf

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 6, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

"Rejecting science on global warming, now rejecting math. Where does it end?

Later.

Posted by: wbgonne"

What do you expect? Conservatives believe that in a subtraction problem, the first number doesn't matter.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 6, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

"Where does it end?"

As long as establishment forces continue to allow Republicans to get away with absurd behavior like this, it will never end.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 6, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

The CBO better not make Speaker Boehner cry, or he will have to compensate with an even bigger gavel.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 6, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Was it Teddy Roosevelt who said

Sob Softly And Carry A Huge Gavel?

Posted by: Liam-still | January 6, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

"As long as establishment forces continue to allow Republicans to get away with absurd behavior like this, it will never end."

Yes and President Obama is the leader of the establishment forces.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth. The Republicans have absolutely NO expectations of repealing Obamacare. They'll take a vote to do so, of course. The Senate might even pass one, though I think that's highly unlikely. And -- should such a repeal make it to Obama's desk -- he will veto it. And his veto will be upheld. The Republicans will have fulfilled a campaign promise WITHOUT costing a dime. Then the Republicans will begin to roll back pieces of Obamacare. They'll peel off vulnerable Dems like McCaskill and pass a few. Obama may, at his own peril, veto popular elements like the repeal of the individual mandate. Obamacare will change, albeit not by much. It will continue to be a muddled mess and the only fix will be a government-run single payer plan. Just as the liberals planned it.

Posted by: outsider6 | January 6, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

It will continue to be a muddled mess and the only fix will be a government-run single payer plan. Just as the liberals planned it.
----------------------------------------------
From your lips to God's ears.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | January 6, 2011 4:22 PM | Report abuse

All, this is moderately encouraging: Senator Ben Nelson is softening on filibuster reform:

http://wapo.st/gPAKwc

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 6, 2011 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't it be great if the Health Insurance industry lost the mandate and yet was still on the hook for everything else due to GOP sloppiness?

Posted by: Alex3 | January 6, 2011 4:27 PM | Report abuse

If the Dems can do half as well as the GOP in providing consistent talking points to their talking heads legion then it will only aid them going into 2012.
Their talking points have to be a constant daily mantra. They can't be afraid to demonize Boehner, Cantor and the Tea Party freshman the way the GOP did to Pelosi.
No better place to start than the GOP death panels in Jan Brewer's Arizona.

Also, on a weekly basis the DNC should come out with a GOP Dumb-Dumb of the Week Award for the most foolish and extreme statement that week from a member of the GOP. Bachmann, Gohmert and Steve King are going to get a lot of competition from this new GOP House class.

Posted by: filmnoia | January 6, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't it be great if the Health Insurance industry lost the mandate and yet was still on the hook for everything else due to GOP sloppiness?
-------------------------------------------
If the GOP had the power, this is exactly how it would end up. But, the insurance industry will not be so sloppy and they will come out on top. If it's between Congress and the insurance industry, I'll put money on the industry every time.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | January 6, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

@Filmnoia: The only drawback to your plan is all the Dem Dumb-Dumbs the RNC could counter with. For every Bachmann there's a Wiener or Wasserman-Schulz to make the GOP look wise and reasonable. Plus, Dem Dumb-Dumb flows off the tongue waaay better.

Posted by: outsider6 | January 6, 2011 4:31 PM | Report abuse

omfg

King: Babies In Garbage Cans Prove Health Reform Is Unconstitutional (VIDEO)

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/01/king_babies_in_garbage_cans_prove_health_reform_is.php

The crazy thing is that as outlandish as the headline is... that actually IS the point King was trying to make. Words fail.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 6, 2011 4:35 PM | Report abuse

12Bar: don't worry, Pelosi will be redeemed in progressive eyes. Obamacare, while tactically stupid, is strategically brilliant. By making pre-existing conditions and 26 year olds required coverage while completely bypassing the whole "bending the cost curve" thing, Nancy & Co. have set in motion events that will cause insurance rates to skyrocket. Insurance companies will go bankrupt because they'll be required to insure the uninsurable. And into the breach steps who? Your dauntless federal government. Fixer of Bank of America and AIG. Savior of Chrysler and GM.

Don't worry. It's coming. Not today or tomorrow but soon.

God help us.

Posted by: outsider6 | January 6, 2011 4:39 PM | Report abuse

"If the GOP had the power, this is exactly how it would end up. But, the insurance industry will not be so sloppy and they will come out on top. If it's between Congress and the insurance industry, I'll put money on the industry every time.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain"

They would just skyrocket premiums. They will still be within the constraint of having to spend a minimum percentage of premiums on actual health care, but you just won't have healthy subsidizing the sick. That's why the mandate is so necessary. Not for the sake of the insurance companies, but for the sake of people who actually need it.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 6, 2011 4:41 PM | Report abuse

@outsider6: "For every Bachmann there's a Wiener or Wasserman-Schulz to make the GOP look wise and reasonable."

Interesting that you chose two rising stars in the Democratic Party, both young and Jewish.

The idea that either of them are anything but reasonable is so far-fetched as to be laughable. Then again, looking at your other comments, I see a distinct pattern.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 6, 2011 4:42 PM | Report abuse

"From your lips to God's ears."

I didn't know Lloyd had a dog in this hunt.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

"They would just skyrocket premiums."

This is why the mandate is crazy. They will anyway. Single payer is the only thing this country can afford unless it wants to become a health care culture, in the anthropological sense.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan: guess you missed the part where I lumped them in with Bachmann. Over-the-top, extreme, and annoying knows no race or ethnicity. I'll add Rush, Beck, Hannity, Olbermann, and that Ed guy to the list. Have to pass on Maddow though. Can't stand her views but her passion and intelligence are compelling.

Posted by: outsider6 | January 6, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

12bba writes
" If it's between Congress and the insurance industry, I'll put money on the industry every time. "

Which is to say that if the mandate is overturned by the courts, it will be rewritten. Why wouldn't the insurance industry want guaranteed customers? What they need changed are the rules that cost them money: 1) the rebate; 2) ban on preexisting conditions; 3) total benefit cap; etc.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 6, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

"Insurance companies will go bankrupt because they'll be required to insure the uninsurable."

This is the utter failure of both imagination and humanity that is the modern conservative. There are no "uninsurable" people. No. Such. Thing.

Switzerland's private insurers manage to provide insurance for their "uninsurables" without going bankrupt. Mind you Switzerland has the world's second most expensive health care system (after the US), but at least it is universal and the private health care providers are not free to gauge the public.

Posted by: Scientician | January 6, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

@bsimon: I believe the theory is that if they have the "guaranteed customers" via the mandate, pre-existing conditions becomes a non-issue as risk is then spread across the entire population and shared by all the companies.

Posted by: outsider6 | January 6, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

@Scientician: really, that's an "utter failure" of business. And math. I'm guessing there's some type of individual mandate in Switzerland? Thus -- as you say -- no one is "uninsurable".

As for semantics, our current system, which carries millions of uninsured who then get terribly sick, certainly has uninsurable people. But don't blame conservatives: FDR invented this system of tying health insurance to your job! You can look it up...

Posted by: outsider6 | January 6, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

"@Ethan: guess you missed the part where I lumped them in with Bachmann. "

Name one thing each that Wiener or Wasserman-Schulz have said that approaches the crazyness and stupidity that is Michelle Bachmann.

Bachmann wants members of Congress investigated for being anti-American. She introduced a bill to prevent the US dollar from being replaced by a World Currency. She repeated the outright lie that Obama's India trip cost $200M a day. Here's her quote on the health care bill:

"This cannot pass. What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass. We will do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn't pass."

In short she is head and shoulders more nuts than all but a handful of right wing figures like Glenn Beck and Alan Keyes.

This mirrors the old "Olbermann is the left wing Hannity" myth. The extremists on the right have only pale imitations on the left. There is no left wing Ann Coulter, no left wing Bill Kristol, no left wing Dick Cheney, no left wing Fox News (MSNBC is not even close).

Posted by: Scientician | January 6, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

"...pre-existing conditions becomes a non-issue as risk is then spread across the entire population and shared by all the companies."

No that would be health care reform. Parsing risk is how money is made. There is nothing in this law that stops the slicing and dicing, the cost shifting to M&M, cherry picking...it is all the same broken system just lots more of it.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

@Scientician: really, that's an "utter failure" of business. And math. I'm guessing there's some type of individual mandate in Switzerland? Thus -- as you say -- no one is "uninsurable".

As for semantics, our current system, which carries millions of uninsured who then get terribly sick, certainly has uninsurable people. But don't blame conservatives: FDR invented this system of tying health insurance to your job! You can look it up...

Posted by: outsider6 | January 6, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

" The only drawback to your plan is all the Dem Dumb-Dumbs the RNC could counter with. For every Bachmann there's a Wiener or Wasserman-Schulz .."

The Dems may be feckless for the most part, imo, but they aren't dumb, especially the two you mention. You may not like what they have to say, but that says more about you. Bachmann, on the other hand,is a first class Grade A Space Cadet chock full of incorrect information, with a deer in the headlights look of a fortune teller.

Posted by: filmnoia | January 6, 2011 5:09 PM | Report abuse

@Scientician: we'll have to agree to disagree on the respective looniness of the wing nuts on both wings. As an independent, I can't watch Fox News (conservatism for dummies, I call it). I actually prefer MSNBC -- well, in the morning. From Ed What'sHisName through Maddow, the evening slate is pretty far out there. We could certainly trade loopy quotes from all concerned but as you are clearly on the left and I'm not, we won't agree. Suffice to say the answers are always somewhere in the middle and none of the folks you listed profits from that. I find it best to seek many inputs and keep your own counsel. The only one I trusted to give an unbiased interview in the last 15 years or so was Russert. Though I'd say he trained Chuck Todd pretty darned well...

Posted by: outsider6 | January 6, 2011 5:11 PM | Report abuse

@filnoia: never said they weren't smart. Just over-the-top, extreme, and annoying. Their respective intellects were never questioned. And yes, I suspect my distaste for their views IS a reflection of me. I'm ok with that.

And I agree: Bachmann's a wack job. IF, as rumored, she runs for president and wins the nomination, I'll be joining you in the campaign to re-elect 44. :)

Posted by: outsider6 | January 6, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

"This mirrors the old "Olbermann is the left wing Hannity" myth. The extremists on the right have only pale imitations on the left. There is no left wing Ann Coulter, no left wing Bill Kristol, no left wing Dick Cheney, no left wing Fox News (MSNBC is not even close)."

You said it. MSNBC is a part-time opinion network without any "hard news" at all. Fox is now the Mainstream Media.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 6, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Here's a question: during the HCR debate, the argument FOR the public option made by Schumer, et al, was that the insurance industry needed competition to drive costs down. Why then wasn't a repeal of their anti-trust exemption part of the package? It seems THAT would have been the first step in creating competition, thus giving Dems ammunition to create the public option later if/when the anti-trust repeal failed to "bend the curve".

Thoughts?

Posted by: outsider6 | January 6, 2011 5:41 PM | Report abuse

"For every Bachmann there's a Wiener or Wasserman-Schulz to make the GOP look wise and reasonable. "

tell me, where do you get what you smoke? because it must be really good.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 6, 2011 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I know this goes against the grain of the times, but people should stop demanding free stuff from the government and private industry. People in this country should spend more time trying to pay for what they get, rather than trying to get the government to force others to give it to them. The insurance companies do not owe you "reasonably-priced" insurance.

Posted by: pijacobsen | January 6, 2011 5:58 PM | Report abuse

@fiona: I"m guessing you haven't listened to Anthony or Debbie much. If you had, you wouldn't think I was smoking anything.

Posted by: outsider6 | January 6, 2011 6:01 PM | Report abuse

"IF, as rumored, she runs for president and wins the nomination, I'll be joining you in the campaign to re-elect 44. :)"

I'd love the prospect of that happening, but the good old boys in the GOP can tame her, but they can't tame Palin, imo. Whenever Bachmann is on the tube I'm reminded of the line spoken in the old sci fi movie THE THING. A reporter , refering to the "thing", says "An intellectual carrot. The mind boggles."

Posted by: filmnoia | January 6, 2011 6:06 PM | Report abuse

You can't defend the indefensible ... how many times have the Dems tried to shine this turd ?? ... now we have to endure ANOTHER ad campaign ... this law creates NO new long lasting majority constituents like Medicare or SS and never will based on it's dynamics ... look at the underuse of the high risk pools ... people are voting with their feet at the state level already ... the Democratic party is stuck with this pinata of a bill for the duration ... I hope they enjoy falling on the sword for their "victory" ...

Posted by: cunn9305 | January 6, 2011 8:37 PM | Report abuse

tell me, where do you get what you smoke? because it must be really good.

==


Uh, you don't wanna smoke that stuff, it requires a glass pipe

Posted by: caothien9 | January 7, 2011 12:29 AM | Report abuse

I pray that this is the straight dope and the Democrats have finally caught on to the simple and endlessly-repeated message with a few compelling points.

Intellectual appeals just don't work when half the electorate has an IQ under 100.

The Republicans have chosen self-immolation by this doomed repeal effort. It brings everything wrong with them right out into the open.

But for the Dems growing a spine, well, I'll believe it only when I see it.

Posted by: caothien9 | January 7, 2011 12:33 AM | Report abuse

" The insurance companies do not owe you "reasonably-priced" insurance."

==

WHAT?!? Are you NUTS?!?

Airlines don't owe you safe flights either. If you don't want to crash, don't get on the plane.

Go away!!

Posted by: caothien9 | January 7, 2011 12:36 AM | Report abuse


The first new rule says you HAVE to have insurance. Both my husband and I have pre-existing conditions, and although the new bill says we can't be denied coverage because of it. So far, the cheapest health insurance we've been able to find is called "Wise Health Insurance" search for it online if you are pre-existing conditions.

Posted by: keithrybicki | January 7, 2011 1:14 AM | Report abuse

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