Jonathan Chait

One More Reason for Dems to Welcome the Repeal Debate

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[Guest post by Noam Scheiber:]

On Sunday, Jon Chait cited one reason Democrats should relish the debate over repealing healthcare reform: public support for repeal appears to be dropping. Two days earlier, Jonathan Cohn hinted at another reason: Repeal is likely to divide the business community--a.k.a the GOP base--a significant portion of which prefers the health reform law over the GOP's nonexistent alternative.

Today, a piece in Politico highlights a third reason Democrats should be high-fiving themselves over the repeal effort: It unifies their party, whereas the initial healthcare push divided them in a lot of ways:

The Democrats’ message is also more cohesive now than the last time they voted on the legislation. Gone is last year’s contentious intraparty fighting over the public option, tax subsidies and dozens of other issues. Now, Democrats are united in defending the law.

Only four Democrats voted with Republicans in a procedural vote on the health debate this month. Nine other Democrats all “no” votes on the Affordable Care Act voted with their party this time on the procedural measure, arguing that there are at least pieces of the law that they support. They said they plan to vote against repeal.

Several groups that supported reform have followed their lead, unifying around defending the legislation from repeal and sharing personal stories to encourage support.

They, too, were divided at points in the debate, sometimes pushing competing agendas. Wednesday, many plan to hold a unity event in the Capitol to support the law and let consumers share how the law has benefited them.

And, of course, that's before you get to the basic behavioral proposition that it's much easier to frighten people about losing something  (say, the right to healthcare if they have a pre-existing condition) than it is to sell them on something new (as in the original health care debate).

I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to come up with reasons five, six, and seven, but you get the idea...

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