Republicans have hammered Democrats over ObamaCare for the better half of a decade, riding promises to repeal the law into majorities in both the House and Senate.
But now Democrats plan to turn the tables on the GOP, using the GOP’s failed attempts to repeal ObamaCare as a cudgel in the 2018 midterms.
“I think the message is really simple here: As long as Republicans control Congress, your health care is on the chopping block,” said Tyler Law, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), House Democrats’ campaign arm.
Democrats want to put that issue front and center, arguing that the GOP effort would cause millions more people to lose insurance and hurt sick Americans.
“The Republicans’ toxic health care agenda that spikes costs, strips coverage for pre-existing conditions, and imposes an age tax on older Americans will be the defining issue of the midterms,” said David Bergstein, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).
“It will drag down Republican Senate candidates in every state,” Bergstein added.
In early May, the House narrowly passed an ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill in a 217-213 vote.
On Tuesday, Senate Republicans decided against voting by the end of September on a last-ditch effort to repeal the health law, acknowledging the measure wouldn’t have passed. The announcement effectively killed the repeal effort for the immediate future, as the fast-track budget maneuver Republicans were using to gut ObamaCare can’t be used this year after Sept. 30.
Even without a new GOP-made health care system to run against, Democrats believe they have enough ammo to hit Republicans by pointing to the previous repeal attempts, all of which scored badly in approval polls.
“Every one of our targets in the midterms — every single vulnerable Republican — voters know that their health care is less safe if that person is re-elected,” Law said, “And that is an incredibly strong message that we will carry through the midterm elections.”
Twenty Republicans, many of whom are centrists hailing from swing states and potential Democratic targets, opposed the bill in the House.
The attack ads have already started.