“Mike Bishop went from celebrating the repeal of the Affordable Care Act in the White House Rose Garden to completely running away from it,” said DCCC Spokeswoman Rachel Irwin. “Unfortunately for Mike Bishop, his record on this issue is crystal clear given the hundreds of thousands he’s taken from pharmaceutical and insurance companies while voting to raise healthcare premiums. Bishop clearly can’t be trusted to do right by his constituents if he’s desperately trying to re-brand himself in a tough election year.”
Republicans lose their favorite campaign message: Repealing Obamacare | Washington Post
By Paige Winfield Cunningham
Michigan GOP Rep. Mike Bishop’s campaign website doesn’t mention Obamacare, even though Web archives show it once prominently featured promises to vigorously fight the 2010 health-care law.
For the first time in nearly a decade, Republican candidates across the country find themselves bereft of what was once their favorite talking point: repealing and replacing President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act — and all the havoc they alleged it has wreaked.
That’s because the GOP failed dramatically in its efforts last year to roll back the ACA as its first big legislative delivery on the promise of single-party control of Washington from Congress to the White House. That defeat has quickly turned attacks on Obamacare from centerpiece into pariah on the campaign trail, a sudden disappearing act that Democrats are looking to exploit as they seek to regain power in the midterms.
“Yeah, we probably can’t talk credibly about repeal and replace anymore,” said Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), a key negotiator of the House-passed version of an ACA rollback that failed in the Senate.
The “repeal and replace” mantra was a mainstay of Republican campaigns for four straight election cycles, propelling the GOP into the House majority in 2010, the Senate majority four years later and in 2016, helping to keep Republicans in power and elect President Trump. Getting rid of Obamacare was a proud theme for GOP party and conservative groups, which spent hundreds of millions of dollars beating Democrats over the head with charges the law was unaffordable. Trump repeatedly touted permanent elimination of the bill during the campaign and his first year in office, but doesn’t often now mention it.
Eighty-four percent of Republican-affiliated health-care ads in 2014 attacked the ACA, while only 11 percent of Democrat-affiliated ads touted it, according to research by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Kantar Media. Out of 849 unique ads that referenced the ACA that year, 87 percent of them backed a Republican candidate and opposed the law.
But since the dramatic defeat of an ACA rollback bill in the Senate last July, many Republican candidates don’t have much to say about health care at all.
Instead, if they do talk about health care on the campaign trail, it is only to say they have been able to change pieces of Obamacare — repealing the individual mandate as part their 2017 tax overhaul, for instance, and the Trump administration’s push to allow plans to be sold that fall short of ACA standards.
GOP advisers say Republicans should promote their efforts to limit Obamacare, pitching themselves as the party that will lower health-care costs. But they stress that Republicans need to come up with a new health-care playbook.
“If you’re an elected official, you have to come to the table with more than just that 2016 messaging,” a GOP strategist said.
Stu Sandler, a campaign consultant for Michigan Rep. Bishop who no longer features a repeal promise on his website, dismissed those changes too by saying the new issues page reflects the congressman’s accomplishments. He said Bishop’s position “has not changed” on replacing the ACA.
“This new website reflects an update for a congressman who has served for two terms and has worked on several pieces of legislation that have been signed into law and are helping the community,” Sandler said.
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