Obamacare supporters are launching a new war room operation to stick up for the law, mobilizing liberal groups to talk up its benefits and pound Republicans for trying to cut off its funding.
The new effort — to be headed by Americans United for Change, an all-purpose liberal advocacy group, and Protect Your Care, which focused on Obamacare — will include rapid-response messaging and town halls to try to change the conversation over the health care law, its organizers tell POLITICO. They’ll start next week, during the August recess, but they’re promising to stick around during the massive effort to sign people up for Obamacare this fall.
Their goal: Get Democrats and liberals off of defense, and make the Republicans defend trying to take away benefits like health coverage for pre-existing conditions, which will become available to all Americans when the main parts of the law take effect next January.
“This is about being on offense, not being on defense against the repeal crowd. They’re on the wrong side of this now,” said Brad Woodhouse, the former Democratic National Committee spokesman who’s now president of Americans United for Change. “You know what? Obamacare is the law of the land. Hands off my health care.”
Getting off of defense has been the big problem for the Obama administration and its supporters all along. Past efforts by liberals have fallen short, outgunned by the resources of conservative interest groups and the passion of the Tea Party activists who want to wipe the law off the books.
But this time, the pro-Obamacare groups say they’ll have the resources and the firepower to give the White House backup in critical states — and to give groups like Enroll America the “air cover” they need to focus on signing people up for health coverage, according to Eddie Vale, a spokesman for Protect Your Care who’s based at American Bridge, another liberal group that’s ramping up its opposition research on Republican candidates.
They’ll have the backing of Stephanie Cutter, the veteran of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign and past Obamacare messaging efforts, and Paul Tewes, another Obama veteran who helped run the Democratic attacks that defeated President George W. Bush’s Social Security plan in 2005.
And they’re hiring Democratic consultants to help them organize events and rapid-response campaigns in 10 key states, including Texas and Florida, two of the three states with the highest numbers of uninsured people, as well as swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. The others are Wisconsin, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, and North Carolina.
It’s that last bit about bringing the fight to Texas that made me blog this. Lord knows, we need to have as strong a countervoice to the rebel faction that pervades our state. It also fits in nicely with a campaign against Greg Abbott. I don’t know what this will mean in practical terms, but I look forward to it whatever it is.