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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Seeing the Danger

In July, Alexis Simendinger reported that pollster Stan Greenberg foresaw risks in the "you can keep it" line:
Greenberg said his polling work examining the 2003 Medicare prescription drug benefit known as Medicare Part D influenced his thinking about how early public suspicions about a major new health care law can dissipate when Americans feel the tangible benefits. “We will see what happens during implementation” of the Affordable Care Act, Greenberg added. “That’s a dangerous position to be in.”
He was critical of the Obama administration’s promotion and messaging about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, adding it would be preferable if the president and his supporters had not eventually embraced the originally pejorative shorthand “Obamacare.”
In his telling, that wasn’t the Democrats only misjudgment, either.
“They had an argument for passage … which was 'you can keep what you’ve got,’” Greenberg told reporters, “when in fact, it was a big, big change in the nature of insurance, and people would be invested in it if they’d actually say, 'this is a big change.’”
Obama has delivered numerous speeches reassuring Americans that the vast majority who have coverage through their employers or received Medicare benefits wouldn’t see any change. Greenberg suggested the White House sales pitch had been misleading on that score, creating an opening for Republicans to fan public doubts.
Greenberg also suggested that the issue would not burden Democrats in 2014 because it had not disadvantaged them in 2012.  He overlooked a fundamental difference.  In 2012, Obamacare was not hurting anybody yet.  Now it is.