National Journal: Democrats’ Couch Time is Over on Obamacare

National Journal - July 18, 2013

Republicans have had the Affordable Care Act battlefield to themselves for a long time, but the pro-Obamacare forces are coming off the couch. The intense back-and-forth of the past few days is a taste of what’s to come as the most contentious parts of the law start phasing in this fall.

At a White House event Thursday, President Obama was surrounded by people who have received insurance-premium refunds due to Obamacare. He accused Republicans of playing politics and “refighting these old battles” on health care, instead of taking care of national needs such as passing immigration reform and a farm bill.

It was the latest move by the administration and its allies in an escalating campaign to defend the law, sell it, and strike back against ceaseless attacks by Republicans with their eyes on the 2014 midterms and the 2016 presidential race. Another is the new cable TV ad “Hands Off Obamacare,” a play on the classic “hands off my Medicare,” sponsored by the liberal group Americans United for Change.

The friendly group standing with Obama on Thursday did little to take the edge off the pointed criticism he leveled against Republicans who seem bent on going after Obamacare until the last dog dies. The law is increasingly the target of choice for GOP politicians trying to bolster their conservative cred, led by Sen. Marco Rubio, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Speaker John Boehner, whose House majority voted this week to gut the law “for nearly the 40th time,” Obama said with a chuckle. “Maybe they think it’s good politics,” he added. “But part of our job here is not to always think about politics.”

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