Have Liberal Columnists and Obama Staged an 'Obamacare Is Here to Stay' Campaign?

The Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," is here to stay, some liberal columnists recently argued in what may be a coordinated effort with the White House after an off-the-record meeting two weeks ago.

"R.I.P. Obamacare repeal movement: Crusade is officially dead," Brian Beutler, a columnist for Salon, a liberal publication, wrote Monday.

Beutler was one of several liberal journalists present at a Nov. 21 off-the-record meeting with President Barack Obama. His column almost exactly mirrors a new talking point from the White House – the ACA is here to stay and Republicans need to accept that fact.

When Congress returns from recess in January, Beutler wrote, "the hundreds of thousands of people who've already successfully enrolled will actually be insured, and their ranks will be swelling. I think Republican leaders will be extremely reluctant to hold votes to nakedly destroy the law, even if conservative hardliners try to use upcoming budget deadlines to replay the failed defund strategy."

This theme was also heard in a speech Obama delivered the day after Beutler's column was published.

When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was asked about the benefits of the ACA, Obama said, "he just repeated 'repeal' over and over and over again. And obviously we've heard that from a lot of folks on that side of the aisle. ... But we're not repealing it as long as I'm President and I want everybody to be clear about that."

The same talking point was repeated by Washington Post opinion writer Dana Milbank in a Monday editorial titled, "Obamacare is here to stay."

Interestingly, based upon the web address, the original title appears to have been, "Healthcare.gov is Off and Running Smoothly, But Can It Keep Up?" The title may have been changed to prevent the inconsistency of having it on the same page with an article titled, "Health-care enrollment on Web plagued by bugs."

Now that the ACA website, Healthcare.gov, is fixed, Milbank argued, "opponents of the Affordable Care Act have lost what may have been their last chance to do away with the law."

The arguments of both Beutler and Milbank (there is no indication that Milbank was at the same Obama meeting with Beutler) are based upon the notion that once people are able to get health insurance because of the ACA, it will be difficult for Republicans to take that away.

In defense of this argument, both editorials appeared to be working off the same set of notes by quoting a recent radio interview with Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), who is running in a Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat. Republicans, Kingston said, need to take into account the good that the ACA does for a number of Americans.

The theme was repeated again Tuesday by Jason Cherkis and Ryan Grim for The Huffington Post for an article called, "Here's Why Obamacare is Going to Work." The ACA will work, they argue, by simply getting a large number of people enrolled in a healthcare plan. In order to make sure a large number of people get signed up, they note, administration officials are visiting "uninsured hot spots" to tout the new law and aid the local efforts to get people enrolled.

"With the website now quasi-functional, there are good reasons to believe that the Affordable Care Act will catch on," Cherkis and Grim wrote. "Quite simply, there are tens of millions of uninsured people who want health insurance, a law in place to help them obtain it, and advocates on the ground making sure they know how to do it."