Third Way Think Tank / Flickr chuck schumer...
Third Way Think Tank / Flickr

A couple of days ago, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer just kneed his unworthy opponent, Yertl the Turtle, right in the groin. McConnell announces that the Senate would not be taking an August recess this year, to which Schumer immediately responded, “Great! We’ve needed to buckle down and get to work on healthcare for a long time now!”

Schumer may be a wee slow on the uptake, but at least he’s willing to learn. The title of this article should have been the Democrats 2018 bumper sticker all along; “It’s The Healthcare, Stupid!” It’s simple, it’s a universal subject, and it’s something that the Democrats can nail the GOP to the wall on.

I have little doubt that the Republicans are willing to put up with so much shit from Trump for a very simple tactical reason. It’s because he’s a 55 gallon drum of whitewash for their pathetic failures. Their tax cuts have taken off with the general public like a lead balloon. But the constant, incessant noise belching out from Glorious Bleater has put it in the closet.

The same thing is even more true of healthcare. The GOP ran for seven years on an immediate repeal of Obamacare, and then they failed. Not only to repeal the law, but even more importantly, to bring forth the incredible replacement that they had been slaving and toiling on for seven long years in the legislative wilderness. Instead, they did something even worse.

They broke the ACA. They made it basically unusable. By eliminating the individual mandate, they allowed the critical premiums from younger, healthier participants that were the linchpin for the subsidies for older and sicker Americans to disappear. And they allowed states more latitude to tinker with the system, depriving even more people of critically needed assistance. And, while the Democrats screamed bloody murder when it happened, like almost everything in the US these days that is not Russia or Scott Pruitt connected, it’s been long forgotten. And it can’t be.

This issue is a political gold mine for the Democrats, if they just elevate it to the top. In 2017, every one of the 15 Democrats that flipped GOP held delegate seats ran on healthcare as a prime topic. And after almost flipping their House, and shutting out the GOP in statewide offices, they found plenty of sudden GOP converts in both their House, and the Virginia Senate to pass a a bill providing 400,000 Virginians with healthcare through the Medicaid expansion.

Nothing breeds success like success. The Democrats need to be running on this in every red state, starting now. Think that people who can’t afford to take their kids to the doctor might be interested in hearing how people in another state that couldn’t afford to take their kids to the doctor can now, simply be electing a Democratic legislature? Especially when they explain in simple, easy to understand terms, how the GOP let the insurance companies take their existing healthcare away by jacking up their rates to compensate from the missing premium support.

Because the Democrats have a secret weapon in their arsenal, and it’s a neutron bomb. In October, mere weeks before people go to the polls, insurance companies are going to announce their premiums for the 2019 coverage year. This is going to be the first year where all of the tinkering that the Republicans did with the ACA is going to be in full effect, and anybody who honestly thinks that the effect will be positive needs an intervention. And it we’re going to take full benefit of the political fallout, we need to be tying the GOP to the issue of healthcare with barbed wire right now. We need to make it so that by the time that the insurance premiums come out, the first response in every voters mind to the word “healthcare,” is “Stupid goddamn Republicans!”

There is much wringing of hands, and knitting of brows in Democratic circles about how dangerous is is to run solely against Trump in the midterms. Well, here’s an issue that you can hang around the neck of every Republican incumbent, and even bring up their voting record, not only for the bill that passed, but for every one of the 60+ “show votes” that they cast in the last seven years. It’s never a good idea to take away something that people already have. And I’m betting that plenty of Republican voters who were happy to trash Obamacare when they had it, are now kind of missing it when their healthcare costs have already gone up, or in some cases their coverage has disappeared. Just show them who to blame.

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