It is something Democrats have championed and Republicans failed to repeal, and the Affordable Care Act continues to light a fire under voters.
According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 8.8 million people enrolled in 2018 Obamacare plans between November 1 and December 15. That’s down slightly from the previous year’s enrollment period but it’s still being viewed as a positive by some because the 2018 enrollment period was the shortest thus far.
“Both parties are paying attention especially after a better-than-expected enrollment season under the health care law,” The Associated Press reported.
The same AP story points to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released Friday that found health care is the top issue voters want congressional candidates to address.
“We’re definitely making it an issue,” Jason Crow, a Democratic congressional candidate in Colorado, told the AP.
That state is one of several states that saw enrollment approach or surpass 2017 levels. California, Connecticut, Idaho, Maryland, New York, and Vermont report the same thing.
Hadley Heath Manning of Independent Women’s Voice agrees that Democrats will campaign on Obamacare.
“They’ve always been on the side of ‘more coverage’ and specifically more coverage through the Affordable Care Act programs,” Manning tells OneNewsNow. “It reminds me actually of a Ronald Reagan quote that the closest thing to eternal life on earth is a government program.”
Once people get enrolled in something, Manning says a program starts to enjoy a “status quo” advantage.
“And that’s certainly the case with the Affordable Care Act,” she continues. “As soon as there are beneficiaries, as soon as there is a population that can say that they’re being helped, then it becomes much harder to repeal or even to reform that particular program. So that’s a challenge for Republicans now.”
A coalition of conservative groups is calling on President Donald Trump to make health care reform the focus of his legislative agenda this year.
Manning helped organize that effort and, in fact, she collected signatures from a variety of center-right individuals to include with the coalition letter.
“There are people who have benefited and the flip side of that coin is there are people who have really suffered,” says Manning. “I think what Republicans should focus on doing is minimizing disruption to the health care system, keeping in places things for people that have benefited, while at the same time addressing concerns that other people have.”
Meanwhile, Manning thinks Republicans need to do a better job communicating why they want to make changes.
“It’s not just a political issue,” she says, “but it’s a policy issue that affects the everyday lives of millions of people.”