Karen Cyphers: Public disapproval of Obamacare reflects flawed plan


I remember watching in disbelief as Anderson Cooper grilled Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz in a live interview, pointing out that her facts were all wrong.

Cooper called Wasserman Shultz out for misquoting the LA Times in a fundraising letter. She had wrongly suggested that Mitt Romney endorsed the GOP’s platform plank on abortion.  The truth, as Cooper repeatedly clarified, was that Romney disagreed with the abortion plank, and had for years.

Cooper asked Wasserman Shultz if she would at least acknowledge that her use of the quote was “completely incorrect”, and she stubbornly replied, “No, I don’t acknowledge that.”

It got heated, and it was beautiful.  You should watch it.

Last week, PolitiFact again tackled the accuracy of Wasserman Schultz’s assertions — this time, regarding her defense of President Obama’s stance on Syria. Wasserman Shultz claimed that when President George W. Bush went into Iraq, the US stood alone.  PolitiFact’s ruling? A predictable “pants on fire.”

This is a long way to get to my point, but here goes.

As the Affordable Care Act fails to gain traction with many Americans, Obama’s allies blame Republicans for tainting American opinion instead of looking at the law’s flaws.

To rehash the big points from this week’s USA TODAY/Pew poll on ObamaCare: 53 percent disapprove of the health care law, the highest level since it was signed; and 53 percent disapprove of Obama’s handling of health care policy, also an historic high.

For the first time in the history of polling, Americans favor Republicans to deal with health care policy.

How did USA TODAY present these findings? Like a page out of the DNC’s playbook: “Republican lawmakers have failed in dozens of attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but a new … poll shows just how difficult they have made it for President Obama’s signature legislative achievement to succeed.”

Notice how the word “failure” appears first, and only, in reference to Republicans — not to the administration’s design of the law, its implementation, or ineffectiveness in generating support.

I’m not denying that many Republicans want the law to fail. But I’d guess that liberals don’t attribute a whole lot of credibility to Republican rhetoric. And even among liberals, Obamacare has an image problem

In this poll, 41 percent of all surveyed strongly disapprove while just 26 percent strongly approve. Clearly, the administration’s PR efforts aren’t even securing their base.

Florida’s Obamacare headlines this week told voters that Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi were sabotaging the law by barring “navigators” from conducting outreach (otherwise known as soliciting) within county health departments.

Scott and Bondi are concerned about inadequate safeguards to protect the personal information gathered by navigators — hundreds of unvetted employees who may access untold amounts of private data, including tax and Social Security information.

But instead of offering some assurance to Floridians that privacy will be protected, Wasserman Shultz resorts to her comfort zone: deflection.

“Because of their political obstinance, they forfeited their right to express those concerns,” she said.

While it is her job as DNC Chair to punt all imaginable problem back at the R’s, Wasserman Shultz might be more effective were she to heed Democrat Sen. Dan Patrick Moynihan’s way of thinking: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”

Guest Author


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