Thursday, May 11, 2017

Battle Over Obamacare Repeal Comes to Colorado: KOA Interview

April Zesbaugh and Steffan Tubbs interview on KOA May 9, 2017 on challenges congressional Republicans face from grassroots groups fighting the Obamacare repeal and replacement.

Floyd Ciruli: Two political fights are underway. In one fight, Democrats want to win back the House of Representatives. They need to pick up 24 seats in 2018. In the other, they want to stop the Obamacare legislative changes that came out of the House last Thursday, which are now in the Senate.

Health care policy has dominated American politics since what came to be known as Obamacare was first introduced in 2009. It cost the Democrats their majority in 2010 with a 30-seat loss. The losses continued in 2014. In a reversal of fortune, they are hoping the resistance is as potent as the Tea Party and health care will put them back in power in 2018.

But the fight is also over controlling the narrative as much as specific seats and candidates at this point. Democrats are arguing millions will lose coverage and that protection for pre-existing conditions has been emasculated. Republicans argue Obamacare is collapsing and the new law will stimulate private coverage, lower premiums and limit budget-busting Medicare expansions.

Part of the message battle is at congressperson town halls and constituent meetings. In Colorado, both Congressman Mike Coffman and Senator Cory Gardner have been targeted by the Democratic resistance and other health care activists.

A standing-room-only crowd in gymnasium of Byers Middle School during an
“in absentia”  town hall meeting directed at U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who was
invited, but did not respond to the invitation, Feb. 24, 2017 | Andy Colwell/
Special to Denver Post
Washington pundits believe that the embattled Trump presidency hovering over the health care debate has made the political environment very volatile and potentially competitive for 2018. In fact, the respected Cook Report just moved Coffman’s seat from lean Republican to toss-up in spite of his voting no on the bill. And although it is premature to downgrade Coffman, who wins re-elections in good and bad Republican years, health care has been a Republican-only bill with President Trump as the chief promoter.

It is now up to the Senate with its narrow Republican margin to craft something the House Republicans will accept and the party will want to run on in 2018.

The Buzz: Democrats could retake the House
FiveThirtyEight: A very early look at the battle for the House in 2018
New York Times: ‘No district is off the table’: Health vote could put House in play

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