Dems instructed to go on O-Care offensive

 

The White House and congressional leadership are urging Democratic lawmakers to highlight ObamaCare success stories in an effort to take the offensive on the healthcare rollout after two months of backpedaling, according to two memos obtained by The Hill.

The memos, one from the Democrats’ messaging arm and one from the White House, advise members on how to establish the narrative that the Affordable Care Act is already working.

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“There are actions Democrats can take to address the Republican attacks and go on offense,” reads the memo from the Democratic Policy and Communications Center (DPCC).

The memo outlines a compilation of “messaging ideas to highlight the benefits of the ACA and generate positive press and social media coverage.”

The Democratic Caucus is being told that the most effective strategy is to highlight the stories of consumers who obtained coverage despite having pre-existing conditions, of those who no longer have to worry about the financial threat of lifetime caps, and of young adults who have been able to stay on their parent’s coverage.

“Their stories will provide us with the ammunition we need to rebut Republican claims that the law isn’t working,” the DPCC says.

The White House’s messaging memo is similarly focused on these positive personal stories.

The administration’s guidance includes a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services report that says more than 7 million seniors have saved $8.3 billion on prescription medication since the Medicare “doughnut hole” was closed in 2010, and an estimated $4 billion in savings for consumers because of new insurance industry transparency and accountability laws.

The White House also expressed confidence in the memo that it would meet its self-imposed Nov. 30 deadline to have the website running smoothly for most users, saying HealthCare.Gov would be able to handle the 50,000 simultaneous users it was originally intended to serve.

Still, Democrats’ frustration with the administration over the bungled rollout pokes through the optimistic messaging campaign.

“The problems with the HealthCare.Gov website are not acceptable, and we should continue to aggressively press the president to fix them,” the DPCC memo states.

The Democrats’ messaging scheme comes after nearly two months of getting pummeled over the glitchy rollout.

President Obama and other top officials involved in the launch apologized and expressed frustration from the start, but the daily barrage from Republicans, and the ensuing media frenzy, has frustrated the White House, which believes the positive aspects of the law are going unreported.

The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that White House chief of staff Denis McDonough was sick of the incessant apologizing, and pledged to change tactics after fuming that he “had too much humble pie.”