Monday, July 2, 2012

Democrats are learning, re-frame the insurance mandate

It's about time the Democrats are learning from their conservative brethren on framing issues. After the Supreme Court ruled to uphold the Affordable Care Act, including the insurance mandate, conservatives are trying to frame this as a tax on middle class Americans. What they don't tell you is that the mandate will affect only about 1% of the population according the the Congressional Budget Office, not the entire middle class. And who are these 1%?

Democrats are turning the former conservative spin back on them and are saying that the mandate is a penalty on 'free riders,' those who can afford the coverage but refuse to buy it, thus putting the burden on the rest of us who pay into the system. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said this on Meet the Press yesterday, as did Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley on Face the Nation and White House chief of staff Jack Lew on Fox News Sunday. It's good to see the Dems coordinated and consistent on the frame and echoing it throughout the media effectively.

And what makes this framing so much more effective is that Mitt Romney, who had a mandate in MA health care reform when Governor, made exactly the same argument about the penalty and free-riding. (See his USA Today op-ed.) In mid-2009 Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the top Republican on the Finance Committee, told Fox News the same thing. Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior campaign adviser for Mitt Romney, reiterated this today, refuting it as a tax and calling it a penalty. This is just delicious, the Dems finally giving the conservatives a dose of their own medicine, and winning the argument according to polls.

1 comment:

  1. Also note the conservatives were not prepared for the SCOTUS ruling and are fumbling all over the place. They generally conspire to have the spin framing down pat but one of the main leaders, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, stumbled horribly on Fox News Sunday. He was asked 3 times by a sympathetic conservative on a conservative spin machine program how the Republicans would cover the 30 million uninsured that the ACA will pick up should conservative repeal it as promised. And McConnell's response? Covering those uninsured is not the issue! This is spectacular that they're falling apart on this.



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