GOP fights ObamaCare PR war, finds actions harder than words
Jesse Hellmann reports in The Hill:
Republicans are facing a new public relations war in their effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
The GOP Congress has repeatedly approved legislation to repeal ObamaCare, but those proposals went nowhere with President Obama in the White House.
Now that Republicans also hold the White House, the challenge for the GOP is taking the long-promised action in a way that won’t backfire politically.
And that’s turning out to be harder than many anticipated.
Polls show the public is divided on whether to repeal ObamaCare, which doesn’t make the task of unraveling one of the largest social programs passed in recent history any easier.
Republicans say the key to winning the public relations battle is for their party to highlight the weaknesses of ObamaCare, a law even most Democrats admit could improve from legislative changes.
“I think the thing that, simply from a Republican standpoint, is to point out it’s a failing system,” said GOP Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who pointed to rising insurance premiums and fewer choices for consumers as significant problems that will spur public support for the GOP’s plans.
The GOP arguments are being made to a politically polarized population on edge after the 2016 presidential election. Democrats are doing everything they can to make it tougher for Republicans to take action on ObamaCare.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) says Republicans want to “Make America Sick Again,” playing off of President Trump’s campaign slogan.
Other Democratic senators have said repealing ObamaCare will lead to the deaths of thousands of people.
Republicans have faced angry crowds at some town halls, where people have expressed their displeasure at possibly losing health benefits.
While Republicans contend that much of the opposition at the local events is being ginned up by Democrats, it appears to have had an effect.
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) tells upset constituents that Republicans are aware that repealing ObamaCare must result in a “much-improved health system.”
“We will be judged on our success in doing so,” he said. . .