The Obama Campaign Takes on Health Care

The Obama campaign has decided to make the case for the Affordable Care Act, with a series of videos and ads highlighting people who are being helped by the provisions already in effect. They are, unsurprisingly, expertly produced and extremely moving. Take a look at this one:

I'm sure Republicans will object that this is too emotional and manipulative. But guess what? There actually are real people's lives at stake. This issue isn't just about ideological principles, or about a political calculation of how the ACA will affect the two parties over the coming decades. Those things aren't completely irrelevant, but much more important are the costs and benefits to living human beings.

How persuasive will this be? Well, it isn't as though every voter is going to be sat down and shown John Boehner or somebody saying "If the government mandates that you buy health insurance, you might as well be living in the Gulag!" then get shown this video. If that were the case, it'd be no contest. But that's not how things work in the real world.

Nevertheless, the approach is a sound one. The videos do contain information about what's in the ACA, but they present that information through the stories of individual people. And Republicans can't play on the same field. It isn't as though they can tell a powerful story of a person who ... didn't want to buy insurance, then had to, and now he's insured!

Frankly, I don't think the Obama campaign really needs to win the debate about the ACA between now and November. Once he has the nomination sewn up, Mitt Romney is probably going to want to avoid talking about health care, since all that discussion does is remind voters of his flip-flopping and pandering on the issue. But the effects of the ACA will be an ongoing issue in a second Obama term, so they're to be commended for starting to make their argument now, and for putting the focus on real people who are affected by the law.

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