By Jennifer Stefano
Let me state, up front and for the record, I am a big fan of both Senator Mike Lee and Senator Ted Cruz. But, they and their allies in the Senate pushing the “defund Obamacare or shut down the government” fight are wrong. One hundred and ten percent wrong. This is the exact approach Obama wants and needs Republicans to take and when they do it, they are playing right into the Administration’s hands.
Every time those of us on the Right start talking about shutting down the government we lose support for our cause, even when we are trying to stop the wildly unpopular Obamacare. This type of political posturing takes the debate away from the sheer awfulness of the President’s healthcare law and allows Obama to claim this is just Republican pettiness. We mustn’t look petty in this fight, we have lives to save. We must go out and warn people of how bad Obamacare really is and how poorly we will fare under this law.
To that, my fellow conservatives, your government shutdown approach has got to stop. In theory, should we defund Obamacare? Sure, but stop living in the theoretical! This is the real world and with a divided Congress there is no way legislatively to stop Obamacare unless the results of the 2014 election help Republicans keep the House and win the Senate. Therefore, Senate Lee’s approach, while principled, is bad politics that is giving cover to bad policy. Conservatives, don’t let that happen! There is a way to win against Obamacare and it is happening right here in Pennsylvania, right outside your door. The Left has already figured it out. Now you must.
Have you ever heard of the group Enroll America? If not, you soon will. This weekend they were out in full force in our Commonwealth knocking on your neighbors’ doors telling them what a great idea it is to enroll in Obamacare and helping them get started. At the same time splashed on the front page of many Pennsylvania newspapers was state Senator Vince Hughes, a Democrat; and the world’s worst Republican, State Representative Gene DiGirolamo, both pushing for the continued expansion of Medicaid at the state level.
In order to survive, Obamacare, the law, needs two things: an expanded Medicaid in every state and lots of young, uninsured people enrolling on the exchanges. Denying the law those two components is like denying a plant sunlight and water – pretty soon it will shrivel up and fade away. If you care about the health and wellbeing of your family, your neighbors and your fellow Americans, then stop talking about defunding Obamacare and start talking about how negatively it will impact people’s lives.
Medicaid is a bad deal for the poorest and sickest among us – with higher death rates and poor health outcomes. Politicians like Hughes and DiGiralomo want to pat themselves on the back for their good intentions while obviously caring very little about the results for the people they condemn to Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. Access to health insurance does not mean access to health care. Here’s the funny thing: while Hughes and DiGiralomo cry fake tears about expanding Medicaid and pointing to polls showing a plurality of voters want it – what they are ignoring is that those same polls show when people realize Medicaid expansion is part of Obamacare – they hate it.
So where are the warriors on the Right door knocking and letting people know that Medicaid is just another scheme under Obamacare? Guess who the biggest group of voters are that we can win over in this fight? People who identify themselves as moderate Democrats. Polls show that demographic is increasingly opposed to Obamacare. But rattle your saber on and on about defunding Obamacare and shutting down the government and we lose those moderate Democrats as allies almost immediately.
And let’s go back to this Enroll America group. As mentioned, Enroll America received tax exempt charitable status from the IRS, even though the board of Enroll America is headed up by former Obama campaign staffers and CEO’s and high level officials from Big Insurance, Pharm and hospital groups. Which means this so called charity is out pushing people to buy health insurance that directly benefits the people on its board. That’s called inurement and it is illegal. No wonder the citizen watchdog group Cause of Action filed a complaint with the IRS asking for Enroll America’s tax-exempt status to be revoked. Conservatives -get out there and talk about how unfair it is for big medical corporations to make money from a charitable front group! This is our fight to win!
Even the NFL won’t get involved with Enroll America. In 2012, the Obama Administration asked the National Football League to get players to make a pitch for Enroll America and encourage people to sign up for Obamacare. The NFL said no way – Enroll America was too politically toxic. Wouldn’t it be a good idea for conservatives to go out and continue to slam the corrupting relationship between this so-called charity and the big insurance companies? Wouldn’t it be best for conservatives to start going door to door telling the truth about Medicaid and encouraging people to protect themselves and their families by NOT enrolling in Obamacare?
The Obama Administration is about to unleash its most potent weapon in the Obamacare fight: the First Lady. You can love her or hate her, but when Michelle Obama hits the street advocating people sign up on the exchanges for health insurance, she is a formidable opposition. But we have the winning formula in our corner – Obamacare itself. All we need to do is take to the streets and tell the truth about this disaster law.
Conservatives, drop your defund saber and grab a plate of cookies and head to your neighbor’s house. Talk from your heart – as a mother, a worker, an elderly American – and tell people why this law is bad for everyone. Talk, like you’re human – and have a heart and want to help people – because anyone fighting Obamacare – does. In the battle over Obamacare, those of us warning of the dangers own the moral high ground. Continue to talk about the government shutdown and you have given the President his greatest opportunity to make the debate about something other then his policies and turn the tables on us once again. Instead, talk like you want to win. And then go out there and do it.
Jennifer Stefano is a political activist and the host of The Stefano Show on WNTP 990 in Philadelphia on Saturday nights from 9pm – 11pm. She is a regular commentator on Lincoln Radio Journal. To find out more go to www.JenniferStefano.com or follow her twitter at @stefanospeaks.
Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.