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Brent Budowsky: ObamaCare sales surge

Remember Budowsky’s first law of insider punditry: When the media and political herds are tripping over each other’s hoofs while stampeding in a certain direction, the herds are almost always wrong.

Take note of the fact that in recent days, the traffic to the Affordable Care websites has skyrocketed, and sales of insurance policies have surged nationally and in key states.

Some of the big stories of 2014, I predict, will be: First, reports of ObamaCare’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, and sales will be on an upward curve through the first quarter of 2014.

Second, insurance companies will spend well over $100 million to market their policies to consumers, because they have a tremendous vested interest in new signups.

{mosads}Third, ObamaCare will be a particular success in blue states with Democratic governors and insurance commissioners who are consumer-friendly. And that is why: Fourth, Democrats, progressives, liberals and populists who are smart will continue to own the healthcare issue with American voters.

My mini-enlightenment was caused, strangely enough, by a story on Fox News, which suggested (correctly) that consumers in red states were getting the worst deal under ObamaCare. I had an exchange with the individual on Fox who did that story, which I promised to keep off the record.

I am at liberty to state my response to the story, which was: Doesn’t the story suggest that voters in red states with Republican governors would receive better and cheaper healthcare if they became blue states and elected Democratic governors? The answer, I propose, is yes.

Watch California — a state with a progressive Democratic governor who has supported the healthcare law, acted to make it work, done a good job protecting consumers — which has had a major surge in signups.

Watch Kentucky, a more conservative state with a centrist Democratic governor who has similarly worked overtime on behalf of his constituents to deliver better healthcare for them and create another success story for the Affordable Care Act.

On the other hand watch Texas, whose Republican governor, indistinguishable from an insurance company lobbyist, has done everything he can to obstruct and destroy the law, to the detriment of his constituents.

Memo to Wendy Davis: Run for governor of Texas against the crony capitalist Republicans and on behalf of the insurance consumers of Texas, who would join the blue-state trend of better deals for policyholders with Democratic governors.

For liberals nationally, remember that for every abuse from the insurance industry, there are lots of new supporters for the public option, which has always had about 60 percent support from voters. Liberal pressure for the public option is a great check and balance against insurer abuse and a great case to take to voters in 2014.

Also, for liberals nationally, remember the overwhelming support for Medicare and Social Security, issues that have always solidified the Democratic ownership of healthcare. Let Republicans continue to push for cuts in Medicare and Social Security. Democrats should respond as Clint responded to the bad guys: Go ahead, make my day.

Add it all up and 2014 will be the comeback year for ObamaCare and the powerful revival of the long-term Democratic ownership of the healthcare issue.

The Affordable Care Act is far from perfect. It is a good idea to extend deadlines, which I long ago proposed, to give consumers more time to choose on a matter as important as healthcare. Problems that emerge should be fixed. Changes when needed should be made.

But Republicans who launch search and destroy missions against the Affordable Care Act think they are attacking Democrats. In truth they are attacking Americans who want better healthcare. Republicans who want to repeal, obstruct and destroy better healthcare for Americans do not speak for Americans.

ObamaCare sales are surging, and blue-state consumers are doing better than red-state consumers. And this old adage remains true: If you want to live like a Republican, vote for Democrats, and your healthcare, Medicare and Social Security will be better for it! 

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