Obamacare battle heads to states
August 2nd, 2013
10:21 AM ET
9 months ago

Obamacare battle heads to states

(CNN) – Does this sound familiar? The summer before campaigning begins in earnest for midterm congressional elections, activists hit the road to wage war on President Barack Obama's health care ideas.

If August 2013 is starting to shape up like August 2009 – that steamy month of angry town halls fueled by the then-burgeoning tea party movement – it's because the Affordable Care Act remains in the crosshairs for conservatives, whose commitment to repealing the law endures.

Mindful of how quickly 2009's town halls sparked larger protests, Democrats aren't letting this year's conservative criticism go unanswered - Obamacare's supporters are also hitting the road in August to highlight the law's benefits, while criticizing Republicans for their attempts to stall it.

Sen. Ted Cruz, the tea party-backed Texas Republican who was elected to office last year, will headline an anti-Obamacare event in Dallas, part of a nine-stop Heritage Foundation tour pushing lawmakers to defund the health care law. Cruz's father Rafael will attend all nine events, along with former Sen. Jim DeMint, the tea party godfather who left the Senate at the beginning of this year to become Heritage's president.

The format for the Heritage events? Town halls, which in 2009 were the venue of choice for angry conservatives voicing concern about Obama's plans to overhaul the nation's health care system. Powered by video clips that made their way online, the forums fueled the tea party movement, which had formed earlier that year in response to the Wall Street bailouts and the federal stimulus.

The Heritage tour will start in Arkansas and swing through Dallas, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Separately, conservative and tea party groups are planning a three-month bid to convince lawmakers to end funding for the health care law. The "You Fund It, You Own It" push, backed by the Tea Party Patriots and ForAmerica, runs from August to October. And Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group, is running ads and planning action events pushing back on Obamacare.

While 2009's town halls attempted to convince lawmakers to block Obamacare from becoming law, the attempt this year will focus on ending funding for the Affordable Care Act, which was passed along partisan lines in 2010 and deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court last summer.

Some conservative lawmakers – including Cruz and fellow senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Mike Lee of Utah - are using impending budget battles as leverage, vowing to oppose any measure that provides funding for the federal government that includes funding for the health care law.

The current measure funding the government expires September 30 – setting up another Capitol Hill budget battle between Republicans and the White House.

Matt Kibbe, president of the conservative grassroots group FreedomWorks, said the issues mounting in the next couple of months that involve budget battles, health care, and the IRS will create “the perfect storm” ahead of the 2014 midterm elections and re-energize the right.

His group had a significant role in bringing attention to the 2009 town halls, and they plan to publicize them again this August with a crowd-sourced website that encourages constituents to post their representatives’ town hall schedules online.

While Kibbe hopes the town halls will be well attended, he doesn’t agree that the emotions displayed at the events three years ago could be classified as “anger.”

“I would call it righteous frustration,” he said.

But not all Republicans want to shut down the federal government over Obamacare.

Sen. Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican said on Tuesday that while he wants to defund Obamacare, threatening a government shutdown isn't the best way to the law.

"I praise my colleagues in what they're trying to do," Coburn said. "What we need to do is delay (Obamacare) and get it to a point where we can kill it."

Other senators who have voiced opposition to attempts to defund Obamacare include John McCain, Bob Corker, and Lindsey Graham – all considered more establishment politicians, compared to relative newcomers in Rubio, Lee and Cruz.

President Obama on Tuesday criticized Republicans in Congress who would "hurt a fragile recovery by suggesting they wouldn't pay the very bills Congress rang up, and threaten to shut down the people's government if they can't shut down Obamacare."

That sentiment will be adopted by Obamacare's supporters as they attempt to counter conservative efforts to vilify the law. A joint effort between Americans United for Change and Protect your Care will hit states to promote the benefits of the law though events and protests of conservative events.

They'll highlight the repeated efforts by Republican in Congress to repeal all or part of the law – the latest which was due to come on Friday.

"Republicans have made it all they want to do in Congress," Americans United for Change president Brad Woodhouse said. "They've overplayed their hand. They don't want to do anything on jobs, immigrations, or gun violence – just strip away millions of people's health care benefits."

Organizing for Action, the political advocacy group formed from Obama's campaign apparatus, will also hit the road in an attempt to counter conservatives over the August congressional recess. They begin on Sunday, holding house parties and community outreach events timed to coincide with Obama's 52nd birthday.

A CNN/ORC International poll taken in mid-May showed a majority of Americans – 54% - oppose the health care law, with 43% saying they favor it.

When the opposition to the law is broken down, 35% said they opposed Obamacare because it is too liberal, while 16% said it is not liberal enough.

CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Filed under: Health care • President Obama • Ted Cruz
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Data Driven

    Lightning rarely strikes the same place twice. Sorry, conservatives. Obamacare is coming.

    And after that? Federal health insurance for all. Smack it, flip it, rub it down all you want, but we're going to win this one.

    August 2, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  2. JAX FL

    I live in Florida. Recent news reports indicate that medical insurance rates in Florida are expected to increase 30% to 40% in 2014 because of Obamacare. Insurance costs in Georgia are expected to rise even more. We will see how this plays out in the 2014 elections. I would not want to be a Democrat running for office and be placed in the position of defending Obamacare.

    August 2, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  3. Scott

    Data Driven

    Lightning rarely strikes the same place twice. Sorry, conservatives. Obamacare is coming.

    And after that? Federal health insurance for all. Smack it, flip it, rub it down all you want, but we're going to win this one.
    __________________________
    Not going to happen if Congress does not fund it, it will not happen period. You lose.

    August 2, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  4. Just a thought

    Data Driven

    Lightning rarely strikes the same place twice. Sorry, conservatives. Obamacare is coming.

    And after that? Federal health insurance for all. Smack it, flip it, rub it down all you want, but we're going to win this one
    --
    @Data
    I love what you said....you missed the part about ....Conservatives "needing body bags" (with reference to the Silly Sarah's Death Panels diatribe LOL)....I think you said you're in SD, so am I...a new bastion of liberalism LOL

    August 2, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  5. sonny chapman

    It's better to die as a sick, under treated Free Marketer than to live a little longer as an Obamacare Socialist. So say the Repubs. who hate Obama & can afford good health insurance.

    August 2, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  6. MaryM

    Read and Learn. Research if Congress can defund Obamacare.

    August 2, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  7. Sniffit

    "Heritage Foundation tour pushing lawmakers to defund the health care law"

    LOL! Heritage Foundation...the very people who argued for the individual mandate as their response to Clinton's proposed health care reform laws in the mid 90's....using it as a platform to yammer their "personal responsibility" song and dance. This whole 5-years-and-counting temper tantrum from the GOP/Teatrolls, including the mindless demagoguery of the ACA, is just The Great White Freakout that was inevitable once demographic shifts hit the tipping point...nothing more, nothing less.

    August 2, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  8. Malory Archer

    JAX FL

    I live in Florida. Recent news reports indicate that medical insurance rates in Florida are expected to increase 30% to 40% in 2014 because of Obamacare.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Why don't you tell the WHOLE story? governor skeletor medicare thief and his merry band of rethug lawmakers passed legislation that allows insurers in increase the premium on any policies written after the 2010 passage of the ACA, and they did it FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF MAKING PEOPLE HATE "OBAMACARE"! And the irony is that those same thugs have determined that "Obamacare" won't even be enacted in Florida! Shame on them for their hatred of all things good for the middleclass, and shame on YOU for carrying their water!

    August 2, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  9. Al-NY,NY

    playing to the right wing sheep and getting them all to froath at the mouth....sounds typical.

    August 2, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  10. Sniffit

    "I live in Florida. Recent news reports indicate that medical insurance rates in Florida are expected to increase 30% to 40% in 2014 because of Obamacare"

    Wrong. It's because of how the GOP/Teatroll state legislature set up the insurance exchange and the plans under it. If NY can manage to do it in a manner that has them reporting that costs will drop upwards of 50% for people, then FL can too. HHS has yet to approve what FL has done...and I predict it won't...because it's a red state that's purposefully setting the exchanges up to fail in order to manufacture their "proof" that the ACA is causing costs to rise.

    August 2, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  11. Gunderson

    Aw,
    Maybe Obama Care come, jobs go. So, who pick up Tab? Data Driven, look at latest jobs report. You like? Very soon whole shooting match collapse. What? You just charge it? That what Liberal's do last 80 years. Now have 17 Trillion Dollar Federal Debt. Liberal's want do great things, they just want to do with other people's money. You send money Data? You and Sonny please send money soon, we broke.

    August 2, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  12. Marie MD

    @JAX FL, you idiots elected a governor who stole money from seniors and just let a murderer go free. Let's not even go to election of 2000 and 2008! Stop voting for teatrolls!!!
    I don't think Florida has a lot to talk about when it comes to brains and common sense.
    Once again, sorry that it is my home state.

    August 2, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  13. Bessy

    Malory Archer

    Why don't you tell the WHOLE story? governor skeletor medicare thief and his merry band of rethug lawmakers passed legislation that allows insurers in increase the premium on any policies written after the 2010 passage of the ACA, and they did it FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF MAKING PEOPLE HATE "OBAMACARE"! And the irony is that those same thugs have determined that "Obamacare" won't even be enacted in Florida! Shame on them for their hatred of all things good for the middleclass, and shame on YOU for carrying their water!

    -----------------------------------------------------

    It's always better for the uneducated to leave out the truth because then, hopefully, other uneducated folks will believe what they say. They just can't stop listening to Fox News and Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, etc for their daily fix of negativity.

    August 2, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  14. Wake up People!

    At least our Massa Snyder is allowing the ACA in our state, but boy is he facing strong criticism from his party...... The rich republikkkans in our state are quite angry with him right now and are threatening to support him if he decides to run for reelection. He also spoke out in favor of it but isn't doing much advertising of it.

    August 2, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  15. Scott

    Oh how you libeals believe anything Obama tells you. Never mind that even the staff for the Congressman and Senators as, well as them selves do not want to go under OBama care. In fact the IRS Chief himself said he would rather not have Obama Care. Something tells me Obama care is not going to happen -)

    August 2, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  16. Carly

    After 30 years in healthcare billing, I can tell you who is between your doctor and you right now. Insurance companies. Obamacare is an attempt to control insurance companies so they will no longer rip off citizens AND doctors. Any physician who has anything to do with billing will tell you that is indeed the current situation and physicians do not like it. There are so many leaches in healthcare and we must do something about it. Short of eliminating insurance companies all together, which is my first choice, Obamacare is a step in the right direction. Why should any of us go bankrupt just because some profit making company cares more about their own profit than an American?

    August 2, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  17. JAX FL

    We are glad you left. There are about a couple of million other losers left here that we wish we could send somewhere else.

    August 2, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  18. Scott

    Marie MD

    @JAX FL, you idiots elected a governor who stole money from seniors and just let a murderer go free. Let's not even go to election of 2000 and 2008! Stop voting for teatrolls!!!
    I don't think Florida has a lot to talk about when it comes to brains and common sense.
    Once again, sorry that it is my home state.
    ___________________________________
    You need a civic lesson young lady. He was found not guilty be the Jury. Govement had nothing to do with it. That is way the legal system work.

    August 2, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  19. Malory Archer

    JAX FL

    We are glad you left. There are about a couple of million other losers left here that we wish we could send somewhere else.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Yeah, and you're at the top of our list!

    August 2, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  20. Marie MD

    @JAX L, sticks and stones and all that nonsense. It's people like you who give the state it's gunshine crazy state reputation.
    @scott, he still murdered an unarmed child and as bad as Florida is for sane people he moved or traveled to texas.

    August 2, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  21. Malory Archer

    Carly

    After 30 years in healthcare billing, I can tell you who is between your doctor and you right now.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    No it isn't. My husband and I had to pay tens of thousands of dollars for our teen daughter to have surgery to repair a diaprhamatic hernia that had been repaired at birth and recurred nearly two decades later. She was being prepped for surgery when the surgeon came in and advised that the insurance company denied the surgery because THEY AND THEY ALONE determined it wasn't "medically necessary", although not repairing it was incredibly dangerous, and could potentially lead to life-threatening complications such as bowel obstructions. Shame on you for lying!

    August 2, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  22. Malory Archer

    Sorry Carly, I read the first sentence wrong. I agree with every word you wrote.

    August 2, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  23. Malory Archer

    Scott

    ___________________________________

    You need a civic lesson young lady. He was found not guilty be the Jury. Govement had nothing to do with it. That is way the legal system work.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    He was found not guilty because of SYG. Granted, his attorneys and supporters will say that he didn't claim SYG as a defense, but the jury said that is the reason they HAD to rule the way they did. Meanwhile, even defense attorneys in Florida will tell you that SYG is being used as a means to settle old scores, and gang members and other lowlives have used it to get away with murder. The Tampa Bay Times has an insightful article on their website about the topic.

    August 2, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  24. jboh

    As has now been proven. if the governor wants ACA to work it will. If the governor wants it to fail it will. In oregon, the day the insurance exchange went into effect, the insurers w/highest premiums lowered their rates. That's how competition is supposed to work. I thought TEA/GOP liked free enterprise. NOT! They only want to push the elitist agenda of their plutocrat puppet-masters at everyone else's expense. God's own party my backside.

    August 2, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  25. Rudy NYC

    "Why don't you tell the WHOLE story? governor skeletor medicare thief and his merry band of rethug lawmakers passed legislation that allows insurers in increase the premium on any policies written after the 2010 passage of the ACA, and they did it FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF MAKING PEOPLE HATE "OBAMACARE"! And the irony is that those same thugs have determined that "Obamacare" won't even be enacted in Florida! Shame on them for their hatred of all things good for the middleclass, and shame on YOU for carrying their water!"
    --------------
    Nice try, but Malory gotcha.

    August 2, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |