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The Democrats’ Intellectual Dishonesty in Talking About the Affordable Care Act

Support for the Affordable Care Act continues to remain low and under attack by Republicans. To help counter this attack Democracy Corps, one of the biggest Democrat-aligned groups, put out a memo on how to defend it. The problem with the talking points is the bizarre disconnect from the reality. From Democracy Corps, their top two “key findings”:

  • Don’t repeal it, fix it – and don’t put insurance companies back in charge.  Republicans are out of touch on repealing health care reform, apparently their top priority in Washington. That is true in the Republican battleground seats and more so in the Democratic.  Virtually all polls say majority of voters are against repeal – and Democrats should hit the Republicans on this.  The main reason?  They don’t want to put the insurance companies back in control of your health care.
  • Voters do not want the insurance companies calling the shots on women’s health: they do not want to hand the reins back to insurance companies who can discriminate against women and those with pre-existing conditions.  The new law makes health care more affordable for the middle class and can be improved to help small business – and voters respond.

These talking points would be great if Democrats adopted a single-payer system, but the talking points sound somewhere between pathetic and overtly dishonest.

While the ACA did put some new regulations on private insurance companies, the private insurance companies remain firmly in charge. The law forces you to become their customer. It will greatly expand the size of private insurance companies and further entrench their role in the system.

The talking points might make sense if the law at least included a public option so people could choose to opt out of the private insurance system, but it doesn’t.

This is a perfect example of why Democrats have had so much trouble selling the law. They chose to create a corrupt corporatist bill, but it is almost impossible to defend such an ineffective design. Democrats talk about the law as if it were actually a progressive proposal, but this is intellectually dishonest. If the insurances companies are so terrible, why give them huge amounts of money and mandate people buy their products?

Photo by Images Money under Creative Commons license

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at