Health reform and the election

Greg Sargent noting that in spite of the Affordable Care Act not being overly popular as a whole, focus on health reform during the election could be helpful to the President.

I would agree and go even a bit further, and say that avoiding health reform discussion since passage of the law has enabled Republicans to get away with only being clear about what they are against, and let them off the hook from offering a coherent alternative. The more discussion about health reform during the election the better. If Republicans move toward a plan that attempts to substantially address coverage, cost and quality, it will start to look an awful lot like what they have been against. If they don’t offer a comprehensive plan, then they will have no answer to one of the key issues facing our country.

The Affordable Care Act was a good step because it was a step; we desperately need to take the next one and find some set of health reform policies that we will actually TRY. It will take both sides to do this, and an important step is to smoke Republicans out on what they are really for (if anything). This is a time where the Rove playbook–go on offense around a presumed weakness–should be co-opted by the President, both for policy and political reasons.

Author: Don Taylor

Don Taylor is an Associate Professor of Public Policy at Duke University, where his teaching and research focuses on health policy, with a focus on Medicare generally, and on hospice and palliative care, specifically. He increasingly works at the intersection of health policy and the federal budget. Past research topics have included health workforce and the economics of smoking. He began blogging in June 2009 and wrote columns on health reform for the Raleigh, (N.C.) News and Observer. He blogged at The Incidental Economist from March 2011 to March 2012. He is the author of a book, Balancing the Budget is a Progressive Priority that will be published by Springer in May 2012.

5 thoughts on “Health reform and the election”

  1. I also agree. But just to clarify, Rove’s playbook said to attack a strength, by distorting and mangling it to look like a weakness.

    1. @Bard
      yeah, the unpopularity of the ACA could be viewed as a strength for Repubs, but by focusing on the topic, their lack of a coherent plan will become a weakness for them. Don’t think you have to distort their position, just keep saying ‘what is your plan?’ ‘why did you never mark it up in any House committee?’ that sort of thing.

      1. Heavens to Betsy, I wasn’t suggesting the RBC should act like Rove! Just wanted to clarify how that … “person” operated.

  2. At least one side is against health reform. So, a forlorn hope of a “plan” that takes both sides to do anything is doomed.

    Health care reform is so difficult, precisely because there is well-funded, well-organized opposition to any sensible reform. What substantive, effective reform requires, therefore, is one side defeating the other. That so many supposedly pro-reform folks favor pre-emptive surrender is the story of the ACA.

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