U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the need for the President and Senate Democrats to explain the consequences of Obamacare to the American people instead of spending millions on a campaign-style P.R. blitz:
“Last year, President Obama was asked about the lessons he had learned from his first term. Instead of focusing on errors in judgment or policy, he seemed to indicate that he really just needed to do a better job of telling ‘a story to the American people.’
“In other words, the policy was fine. And if Americans didn’t get it, it’s because they had a listening problem.
“Well, that’s an attitude that has really come to define the Administration. And that’s why folks will be rallying on the Capitol grounds today. They, like a growing number of Americans, are losing faith in government – they think it’s working against them, not for them.
“For good reason. Take Obamacare. This law has been pretty unpopular for several years now. And it’s not like the American people haven’t been exposed – probably overexposed – to the arguments on both sides of the issue.
“Obamacare must have been discussed hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions, of times over the past few years. That includes political debates. More speeches than any of us care to count. Issue ads, both pro and con. And guess what? Americans still don’t like the idea of Obamacare. Not because they’re unable to understand, or because they just haven’t ‘seen the right messaging.’
“It’s because most of them like their health plan and want to keep it. It’s because they don’t want to pay more to the health insurance companies. And it’s because they just don’t think the law is going to work as promised. And yet, the Washington Democrats’ explanation for Obamacare’s enduring unpopularity still seems to be that the law is just too complicated for their constituents to understand. And the Washington Democrat solution seems to be not to actually change the policy, but to spend millions in a campaign-style P.R. blitz.
“News flash: If you still don’t think Americans are able to understand a law you passed more than three years ago, then there’s something wrong with your law – not with the American people.
“Instead of going around the country trying to convince Americans why they’re wrong, the Administration could actually listen for a change. I think they should start over on health care and embrace the types of common-sense, step-by-step reforms that would actually lower costs. But I won’t hold my breath for that.
“So, at a minimum, they at least need to do this: the President, members of his Cabinet, and the Congressional Democrats who voted for this law need to get out and explain to Americans what’s headed their way. Not feed them the sunny picture painted in the Obamacare ads that the President’s campaign team is running, but actually explain the reality of the situation to them.
“For instance, Americans need to know about the coming wave of premium hikes. We’ve already seen projected double-digit increases in some states. They need to know we’re likely to see even more Americans lose the health care they want to keep, just like the thousands of Californians who will probably have to look for new plans after Aetna pulled out of the individual market in their state – likely because of Obamacare. And they need to know that they could lose their jobs, or see their hours cut, or struggle to find work in the first place. In fact, a recent survey showed that about 70 percent of small businesses say the law will make it harder to hire.
“Americans need to know all of these things, because they need to prepare for them. And it’s supremely unhelpful when the President claims that those who already have health care won’t see changes, as he did a few weeks ago. He knows that’s not what many experts are saying. And he owes it to the country to be frank about that.
“So it’s time to get off the campaign trail. Call off the P.R. spinmeisters. Put down the communications plan. It’s time to level with the American people.”