- Democrats won the messaging war. Democrats succeeded in portraying the bill as being about "giving" people "health care." Even Republicans used the terminology. In fact, everyone has hospital care and almost everyone has other health care services paid for either through private insurance, existing government programs, voluntary services, charities, etc. The bill was, at best, about providing health care insurance to about 10% of the population who already have health care, half of whom go directly on Medicaid; as reimbursement rates remain low, and providers cannot recoup the costs from private insurers, these patients will experience a shortage of providers, and decreased health care services even though they have insurance. This is a complicated message, but true.
- It's the taxes, debt and deficit. The CBO score was a joke because of the unrealistic assumptions the CBO was required to follow. The news in the coming months will be about higher national deficits and debt. As the "doctor fix" and other unrealistic assumptions play out legislatively, Republicans need to make the public understands that the Democrats lied about the true cost of the legislation.
- The "doctor fix," and other costs which should have been included in the bill, but were not included in order to deceive the public, should be opposed. Obamacare should have to live on its own merits, which means it dies fiscally.
- It's also the jobs, stupid. If, as seems likely, the job market does not improve or slightly worsens, the blame needs to be placed -- as it correctly should be -- squarely at the feet of a President and party whose priority has been a deceptive and destructive health care plan, not helping the private sector grow. Democrats can talk their way out of almost anything, particularly with the help of the mainstream media, except the job numbers.
- It's about the children and grandchildren. Is all the doom and gloom warranted? Yes and No. The bill really is that bad, and it is true that entitlements rarely are scaled back, much less eliminated. But it also is true that we are living in interesting times. People are motivated by and scared of the national debt and our trillion dollar deficits. If given the choice between national bankruptcy and giving up some promised future benefits, I believe that the vast majority of Americans will be willing to give up something they have not yet received in order to secure the nation for their children and grandchildren.
- Elections matter. Those of you considering third parties need to understand that we are at a crossroads. A third party will ensure that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid continue to frame national policy, and any chance of salvaging the nation from the destruction of Obamacare (and cap-and-trade, and so on) will be lost. If you want that, then by all means run third party candidates. If you do not want that, then work to restore fiscal discipline within the Republican Party, and support Republican candidates.
Update - The "messaging" war: Numerous commenters think I am off point in stating that Democrats won the messaging war, based on the unpopularity of the bill. It is true that we won most of the battles, but the overall message that this bill does not "give" 30 million people "health care" was lost. The debate should have been over the damage to the 255 million people who have health insurance coverage, but it wasn't. Would it have made a difference? Perhaps not for the vote, but just you wait and see how the Democrats will oppose repeal or even a scale back - "You are taking health care away from 30 million people!"
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