Dems plan 'aggressive' offensive on health benefits threatened by repeal

Democratic lawmakers are preparing an "aggressive" offensive toward Republicans on healthcare, planning to highlight benefits that would be nixed immediately if health reform law were repealed.

Democrats in Congress and beyond will begin loudly pointing to benefits that would be threatened by repeal, a Democratic leadership aide said Wednesday, starting with a provision in the bill which allows young adults to stay on their parents' insurance until age 26.

The pivot marks the opening salvo of an "aggressive campaign" against Republicans that will last indefinitely, and begin to focus increasingly on other benefits that would be threatened by a full-scale repeal of the legislation.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) has called repealing healthcare the "top priority" for Republicans next year if they win control of Congress. But it's unclear what form the repeal might take.

Some Republicans advocate a repeal of the entire legislation or a repeal in part of the provisions they find most distasteful. In either case, those GOP lawmakers have also argued for replacing it with some of the reforms for which they've long called.

The aide said that the effort allows Democrats to "get off defense and go on offense," shifting from arguments where Democrats had been promoting benefits added in the bill, to offense, where now they will focus on benefits that would be threatened by repeal.

A top Democratic leader addressed the caucus last week on the effort, which was described as "caucus-wide," and expected to extend to all corners of the party, including committees and other outside groups that have been heavily involved in pushing reform efforts.