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Hullabaloo


Thursday, March 27, 2014

 
Republicans are banking on Obamacare hate for 2014. That might not work so well...

by David Atkins

Greg Sargent makes a great catch:

Here’s a really interesting example of how the GOP Obamacare repeal stance is running into complications even in a deep red state like West Virginia. It also shows how Dems can seek to turn the Obamacare war of anecdotes to their advantage by dramatizing the local impact of repeal — though it still remains to be seen whether this strategy will be enough to offset the law’s (and Obama’s) deep unpopularity in regions such as this one.

A battle has erupted in West Virginia over an ad that Dems are running against state senator Evan Jenkins, the Republican candidate who is seeking to unseat Dem Rep. Nick Rahall, in a nationally watched “toss up” race.

The Dem-allied House Majority PAC is airing an emotional spot that hits Jenkins over Obamacare repeal by featuring a coal miner who fears losing his black lung benefits if the Republican is elected to Congress. The charge is that, if Obamacare is repealed, miners could lose expanded black lung protections that the late Senator Robert Byrd inserted into the Affordable Care Act. The ad says Jenkins ”vowed to repeal black lung benefits...”

The Jenkins campaign has objected to the ad, arguing that while he would repeal Obamacare, he remains firmly opposed to any cuts in black lung benefits, and stressing that he would replace the law. FactCheck.org has sided with Jenkins, arguing that repealing the law isn’t quite the equivalent of repealing the benefits. But FactCheck.org does concede that the repeal of Obamacare would mean that “some miners and surviving spouses would be denied benefits and some would find it harder to obtain benefits.” And FactCheck.org also notes that the replacements Jenkins has suggested for the law don’t deal with black lung benefits.
Meanwhile, the president of the United Mine Workers tells the Charleston Gazette that repealing Obamacare “would have the practical effect” of “cutting off black lung benefits for most, if not many, of those applying for them.” The Gazette also notes that Jenkins “has not explained what he would do to protect those benefits if the ACA were repealed.”
Republicans are going to be in a bind over issues like this all across the country if Democrats get out there, stand behind the ACA and explain its local impacts. With over 6 million people signed up for the ACA already, it's going to be very difficult for Republicans to effectively tell voters that those people shouldn't get healthcare.

The bigger danger for Democrats, I think, remains the zombie lie about the ACA stealing money from Medicare that worked so effectively for them in 2010. But given the number of votes they've all taken for the Ryan budget that explicitly slashes Medicare and Social Security, even that will be problematic for them.


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