Unlike ’16, Democrats embrace health care on the campaign trail

In the campaign of 2016, Republicans clobbered Democrats on the campaign trail over their support of health care. And, because of Obamacare’s unpopularity, a lot of Democrats didn’t fight back. The rest is history.

Americans didn’t like health care much until they were set to lose it last year in the initial wave of attempts to rollback the Affordable Care Act.

That should’ve told the Democrats something. It did. At least it did for North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat in a blood red state who is trying to hold onto her seat by tarring Republicans with the very thing that got them elected in the last election.

“It’s all the proof you need to know that 2018 will be the inverse of the past two midterm cycles: Democrats are relying on Obamacare to carry them in tough races rather than Republicans exploiting it to bring them down,” Vox’s Dylan Scott writes today.

You won’t find this message in just North Dakota either. Democrats are spending more money on ads for health care, according to the Cook Political Report, than any other issue.

Like Heitkamp, Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin has emphasized her personal history with preexisting conditions — she’s had one since she was 9 — in the Wisconsin Senate campaign.

In West Virginia, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), also up for reelection in a tough race, penned an op-ed earlier this summer that criticized the Trump administration for attacking preexisting conditions.

“Heitkamp’s support for Obamacare has saddled North Dakotans with higher costs, worse care, and fewer options; and voters will remember that in November,” North Dakota Republican Party spokesman Jake Wilkins said, betting that what worked before can work again.

  • MrE85
    • Jack

      I’m assuming the good looking guy on the right is Mr. E85. 🙂 I also concur with your thoughts – we need more people like Heidi watching out for us.

      • MrE85

        My annual DC trips are one of the few times I wear a suit these days.

  • Sonny T

    Support for ObamaCare is a losing proposition. It’s an endorsement of insurance companies and business as usual.

    The Democrats might have lost the presidency over this very issue. Hard to believe they’ll try again. A better strategy would be Medicare for all. Every Dem voter would support it, and a whole lot of Republicans who can’t take their Godzilla-size deductibles any more.

    The only people opposed are the insurance companies. And the politicians they carry in their hip pockets like so much change.

    • Jack Ungerleider

      What they need to do is promote Medicare for All as a “jobs bill”. If you give employers a known cost (their part of an increased payroll tax) then they can plan for it better. Then they can better plan for the number of employees they can support with their business. The result is more jobs. Smaller businesses might be able to keep employees that leave for larger companies with better benefits. People will take the chance to be entrepreneurial because they don’t need “a job” to get reasonable health care. Who knows they might be the next brilliant startup that creates jobs for many people. (If the guaranteed minimum income comes up for discussion, I offer an opinion on how that is both a jobs bill and a law and order anti-crime bill. 8^)

      • Sonny T

        Absolutely. The cost of doing things the way we’re doing them is eroding our ability to compete.

      • Jeff

        The rub is that people will have to pay more in taxes which replaces their health care deduction, but just mention tax increase and Republicans will have a field day.

        • Jack Ungerleider

          “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society” – Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (Compañía General de Tabacos de Filipinas v. Collector of Internal Revenue, 1927 dissenting opinion.)

        • >>The rub is that people will have to pay more in taxes which replaces their health care deduction<<

          …and replaces their medical premiums…

    • theoacme

      Trumpcare is a death sentence for people who have preexisting conditions that arent multi-millionaires…

      …the GOP may as well lynch me now.

      • Jack

        If Trumpcare doesn’t get you, the relaxation of pollution standards will.

        • Sonny T

          Respectfully, the pre-existing conditions thing is a red herring used to keep the insurance company in the game. Everywhere (MN included) had laws guaranteeing claim payments, long before Obamacare. It’s used to scare us.

          Trump has spoken approvingly of single payer. I believe he praised Canada’s system. He’s a big enough freak to flip, under the right circumstances.

          • Jack

            I’m old enough to remember the pre-HIPAA days. I have a pre-existing condition. For that reason, I paid for health insurance when I was out of the country for a couple years, just so that I would still have health insurance when I got back to the states. That wasn’t me being smart, it was my employer (Peace Corps) that recommended that move to all of us.

  • Al

    I think there are a lot of us out there who are ready to vote for our ideals (good and equitable health care being one of them). We tried moving toward the center, and it didn’t work. I’d rather vote for a candidate who will work for justice and equity than one who’s more likely to win.

    An exercise in futility? Maybe. But the other way–voting centrist–was feeling pretty futile, too.

    • Jerry

      The “center” is a mirage anyways. If Republicans could cast free market, foreign policy hawk like Clinton (both of them) as a raging liberal, there is no such thing as the center.

      • JamieHX

        Four or five percent of the electorate voting for raw ideals instead of for reality are keeping the Lying Bullies Party in power in Congress. Probably had a significant affect on the election of Trump, too.
        (This reply was meant for Al, but I couldn’t get a text box to appear there.)

        • Jerry

          The fact that the right is literally embracing white supremacists and literal nazis proves that no matter how much the democrats move to the right, the “center” will keep moving and people will keep voting for one side or the other because they identify with a particular party, and ignore the message.

          • Jerry

            The way for Democrats to win is not to get people on the right to vote for them, but to get people on the left to actually vote at all.

          • Sonny T

            You have your issue in free, nationalized health care. Every first world country has some form. This is an issue made for Democrats. It embodies everything they stand for.

          • kevins

            It also would work and be good for people. Truth.

          • Jack

            Oh to not be tied to jobs just for the better health insurance plan.

          • Sonny T


          • Jack

            Always interesting to see who ends up voting. The Democrats had a much larger turn-out than the Republicans in the primary.

        • Al

          No, the people voting for the Lying Bullies Party are keeping them in power. Thanks, though.

  • Credit Warrior

    I had an interesting conversation with my physician a few weeks back. Medical care under both the ACA and Medicare has been quietly changing over the past 3 or 4 years that gets minimal press. This change was initiated originally by the Obama administration in the name of lowering health costs for ACA and Medicare. The changes have minimally lowered costs, which may or may not be good. During this period physicians and other health care providers have had their reimbursement amounts reduced by the government. If physicians followed guidelines that used cheaper solutions/reduced tests for the year they could be rewarded an additional 6% bonus at years end. Many physicians dropped their medicare patients as many in private practice couldn’t afford to take the hit and of course there was increase administrative costs associated in maintaining the program. In reality physicians that continued to see ACA/Medicare patients would be mandated to use medicine that may or may not be as good for an associated condition before prescribing a higher cost medicine which they know would be far more effective, less side effects etc. Doesn’t sound like better care to me. See Medicare’s latest change “Step therapy” which requires a failure with one medicine before another can be tried….All in the name of “better care”. http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/health/sd-no-step-therapy20180814-story.html