On 1 Year Anniversary, Dems Celebrate Health Care Reform
By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor
Health care reform is still a big… deal if you ask Pennsylvania Democrats, who weren’t ceding any political ground on yesterday’s anniversary of President Obama signing the Affordable Care Act into law. Dems called up familiar arguments and tactics in a series of events across PA.
Polling has generally showed mixed results for the law in PA. By narrow poll margins, a plurality of Pennsylvanians disapprove of the health care law as a whole though the individual mandate is less popular. Specific components on the other hand, like closing the Medicare doughnut hole and ending denials for pre-existing conditions, remain popular.
Democratic events were generally more low key in attendance and tone. According to several strategists PoliticsPA spoke to, Dems aren’t seeking a high profile battle over the issue because they believe they have the strategic advantage in the health care battle; that time is on their side. The more time the public has to become accustomed to new benefits the thinking goes, the more politically difficult it will be for Republicans to push for a full repeal.
Dems sought to highlight those individual portions that most Pennsylvanians support.
“In one year, we have made significant strides to improve health care in Pennsylvania and across the country,” said Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn in a statement.
“Children with pre-existing conditions are no longer denied care, thousands of adults with pre-existing conditions are able to receive insurance, small businesses that provide insurance to their employees have already begun to receive tax credits, and nearly 250,000 seniors have received rebates to cover the cost of prescription drugs. Health insurance reform was an important step in the right direction, and we must continue to fight for the gains we have achieved to make sure health care is affordable and accessible of all Pennsylvanians.”
During a protest of yesterday’s hearing in Harrisburg, between 20 and 40 protesters carried signs urging legislators to protect specific health care reform measures.
Vice President Biden authored an email to the massive Organizing for America (OFA) list serv in PA. It told the story of William, a 3 year-old who suffers serious medical problems but whose family had only tenuous health care stability before the Affordable Care Act passed last year.
“Before the Affordable Care Act, Justin and Kari weren’t sure about the future. They worried that they’d never be able to find coverage for William again if Justin lost his job. They worried about the life that William would lead — whether he’d ever be able to work or support a family,” wrote the VP. “Not anymore. William’s condition isn’t going away, but he’ll always be able to get care. The Affordable Care Act is one year old today, and it has already changed William’s life — and this country — for good.”
OFA held a number of events across PA, rallying supporters of the law.
“Since being signed into law, the Affordable Care Act has protected Pennsylvanians, both young and old, from the discriminatory practices of health insurance companies. Just one year later, young adults up to 26 are able to stay on their parents’ insurance, children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage and seniors are receiving help to pay for prescription drugs,” said OFA-PA spokesperson Kerri Axelrod.
“Instead of working toward bipartisan solutions that create jobs, grow our economy, and make America more competitive, Republicans are trying to refight the political battles of the past two years by trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act. OFA supporters worked hard to pass the Affordable Care Act and we will continue to stand with President Obama to protect the law from Republicans’ partisan and political attempts to defund and repeal it.”