The Jewish holiday of Chanukah begins at sundown this evening. In recognition, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement:
“Tonight, along with Jewish families across the world, my family will light the menorah in celebration of the first night of Chanukah. Each night we light another candle to remember the miracle that happened more than two thousand years ago and the power of hope and justice in the face of incredible adversity. We also appreciate the miracles that happen in our lives every day.
“For the first time in more than a generation, Chanukah begins on the same day as Thanksgiving. These two holidays give us the opportunity to come together, reflect, and be thankful for all the blessings in our lives. Both holidays also direct us to be mindful of those who are less fortunate, and recommit ourselves to the values of mitzvot and tzedakkah - good deeds and giving to others.
“However you are celebrating, I wish you and your family happy holidays, and may the bright light of Chanukah shine for all of us in this coming year.”
In honor of the holiday season, the Democrats launched a new guide to help you engage your Republican relatives. Check out the email below from Digital Director Matt Compton, and be sure to visit: www.yourrepublicanuncle.com
This time of year, the only thing more annoying than holiday traffic is an awkward conversation with family about politics.
Don't get me wrong -- I love the Republicans in my life. But nothing ruins a slice of pecan pie faster than talking through immigration reform with a cousin who spends too much time listening to Rush Limbaugh.
That's why we're launching YourRepublicanUncle.com. And if you want to make sure that the political debates around your dinner table this Thanksgiving stay tethered to reality, you should check it out.
We can't do anything about highway congestion, but we can make sure you have the information you need to answer a bonkers question about President Obama's record on jobs or the perfect fact to respond to a ridiculous argument about the Affordable Care Act.
And to make sure you get that information whenever you need it, we designed YourRepublicanUncle.com so that it looks great and loads quickly on your phone -- no getting ambushed when you go back for seconds on stuffing.
This holiday season, don't stress about the political debates. We've got your back:
Democratic National Committee
P.S. -- We're really thankful for supporters like you, so we're doing something special for the holidays. Chip in $10 or whatever you can, and you'll be automatically entered to win an expenses-paid trip to D.C. to celebrate a great year with us.
November is Native American Heritage Month. As a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians and an Executive Committee member at the Democratic National Committee, I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on what the Democratic Party has done to honor and provide opportunities to our communities and Indian Country as a whole.
Democrats have a long history of partnership with tribal communities, from the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934—nicknamed the Indian New Deal—to President Obama’s leadership on issues such as enhancing tribal jurisdiction and addressing Indian healthcare. Democrats have worked with and empowered tribes to address their challenges and have demonstrated a keen awareness of the critical importance to our nation and its cultural fabric to ensure the protection of the rich heritage and distinct cultures of the more than 500 tribes around our nation.
President Obama and Democrats, through both words and deeds, have demonstrated a true understanding that tribal nations themselves are in the best position to address the challenges they face. Accordingly, the role of the United States is to work in partnership with tribes to enhance the opportunities available and provide tools so that tribes can flourish politically and economically while meeting the challenges of the 21st Century. The Democratic Party is the party that lives by this approach.
The challenges facing many tribal communities are great. In too many places in Indian Country, Native people are disproportionately affected by the scourges of poverty, unemployment, lack of adequate health care, and high rates of suicide. Native women are more likely to be the victims of violent crimes than any other racial or gender category. But with the partnership and strong leadership of the President and many other Democrats, progress can be and is being made.
For example, when President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, he made certain that it included the reauthorization and enhancement of the Indian Healthcare Improvement Act, which will lead to better health outcomes in tribal communities. Moreover, at this month’s White House Tribal Nations Conference, he even called out the good work the Puyallup Tribe is doing in their health clinic in my home state of Washington. The ACA provided the Puyallup Tribe with increased flexibility to better tailor healthcare to the needs of its tribal community. There have been dramatic enhancements regarding access to hospice, assisted living, long-term and home- and community-based care. All of these things we desperately need and all of these things Democrats stood and fought for together with Indian Country.
In addition, Democrats and President Obama’s Administration have made jobs a priority and are working tirelessly to create more well-paying jobs that can support a family. In Indian Country, where unemployment often exceeds 50 percent, this focus on jobs is most welcome.
And, just a few months ago, President Obama established the first-ever White House Council on Native American Affairs. This working group recognizes the unique relationship between the United States government and our tribal governments, and strives to promote and sustain tribal nations for years to come. I can’t tell you how proud I was to see that Council at the White House Tribal Nations Conference, where it fielded town-hall-style questions directly from our tribal leaders on the difficult issues facing Indian Country. That shows a true commitment from our President to make that Council a working group for change in Indian Country and not just a symbolic gesture.
There is, of course, far more work to be done, but this record of achievement demonstrates that our President and Democrats get it. With this approach in place, the difficult and often seemingly intractable issues tribes have faced for far too long can and will be successfully addressed.
From the earliest days of our country’s founding, the contributions that Natives have made to the broader American story are immeasurable and often painful. Knowing that I get to work hand in hand with the Democratic Party and President Obama to help my community makes me proud. This month, as we recognize Native American Heritage Month, it’s important that we recognize the progress we have made, but also look ahead to the work we have yet to do together.
Last week, women state party Chairs, Vice Chairs, Executive Directors and staff gathered in New Orleans during a meeting of the Association of State Democratic Chairs to discuss the increasing role of women as leaders in Democratic Parties across the country.
This was the second time I participated in this event and wow! Not only has the turnout grown, but the programming - under the leadership of Louisiana Chair Karen Carter-Peterson and Idaho Executive Director Sally Boyton Brown - has excelled and given us the tools to improve how we promote women leaders in the states across the country. I was especially moved when both Chair Carter-Peterson, the first female Chair in Louisiana, and Maryland Chair Yvette Lewis spoke about what they each had to overcome in order to move into the top leadership position in their state Democratic Party structure.
Here's a few pictures from the event. I am looking forward to the next gathering!
Great turnout in New Orleans at the women's luncheon!
Maryland Chair Yvette Lewis moderates panel discussion about media coverage of women running for political office and what our national group of women can do to create change in our states.
Louisiana Chair Karen Carter-Peterson answers a question about women leaders in state parties.
One last pic from the ASDC & Louisiana Democratic Party welcome reception on Friday evening... an all women New Orleans brass band! They were incredible.
In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement:
“No woman should have her health care dictated to her by her boss. The overwhelming majority of American women use birth control to stay healthy and plan their families. This is basic access to health care and a decision that belongs to a woman, to be made in consultation with her doctor, not her employer.
“This isn’t just a health care issue, it is an economic issue. The decision to require insurance policies to cover full preventive care saves many women and their families hundreds of dollars each year. If the Supreme Court rules against this policy that is supported by the majority of Americans, it would expose other medical procedures to the whims of an employer, such as vaccines, surgeries and mental health care.
“We respect the religious views of employers but they should not be allowed to impose these views on their employees. That is why I fully expect the Supreme Court to side with the American people.”
This holiday season we want to take a moment to thank the supporters who stand with Democrats year round. In fact, that's something I'm particularly mindful of this week.
Because in preparing for the 2014 cycle, we decided to reach out to a few supporters to learn more about why they're standing with us. And in a nice change of pace from my usual work routine, I was the one who got to hop on the phone with a few Democrats from across the country and hear their stories.
The first person I had a chance to speak with was Bill -- a bus driver from the Minneapolis suburbs who couldn't say enough good things about the Affordable Care Act. Bill is one of the thousands of Americans who discovered that he will save hundreds of dollars by enrolling through an Obamacare health care exchange. He's also one of the millions of Americans with a pre-existing condition who — thanks to health care reform — can no longer be denied coverage. Here's how he put it: "Obamacare is the best thing going right now. As a person with a pre-existing condition, shutting down the government to the tune of $24 billion was offensive to people like me."
We also spoke with Vanessa, a teacher in Los Angeles who works hard every day to prepare her students for college and whatever careers they choose. Vanessa is also a first generation American. Her parents came to the United States from Mexico. She, like so many other Americans, believes in the importance of giving everyone a fair shot if they are willing to work for it. As she explained to me on the phone, Vanessa is a Democrat because she thinks it's our responsibility to make the world a better place. Here's how she put it: "Democrats should keep fighting for change because it doesn't happen overnight. The struggle is worth it."
My last call with a supporter named Judy was just as enjoyable. Judy is a mental health professional in Massachusetts who saw first-hand the devastating impacts of a broken health care system. She is a big fan of the Affordable Care Act because it will help many of the families she treats finally get the coverage they need to be healthy. Judy also thinks we need to raise the federal minimum wage to give low-income people a better chance at taking care of themselves and their families. She wants Democrats to be bold with their policies and to make sure everyone has access to the facts — despite Republican efforts to distort and confuse the public about President Obama's agenda.
As Democrats, we'll continue working for people like Bill, Vanessa, and Judy. We'll fight to create good paying jobs, provide access to quality, affordable health care, make education more accessible, and raise the minimum wage to strengthen the middle class. And we'll ultimately win those fights because we have people like Bill, Vanessa, and Judy in our corner. They help us make the change we all want to see.
Leading into the Thanksgiving holiday, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act continues to improve and sign ups continue to increase across the country. Here’s a sampling of what’s been going on in the states this past week.
In New York, “Health Insurance Exchange Reaches 76,177 Enrollments”
“State officials are starting to trumpet the success of New York’s health insurance exchange. In the first of what they say will be weekly updates, officials posted new enrollment numbers on the New York State of Health Website showing 76,177 enrollments as of Sunday. The figures also show 257,414 completed applications.”
In Kentucky, “Uninsured line up” to sign up for health care
“In a state where 15 percent of the population, about 640,000 people, are uninsured, 56,422 have signed up for new health-care coverage, with 45,622 of them enrolled in Medicaid and the rest in private health plans, according to figures released by the governor’s office Friday… Kids: five. Salary: about $14,000 before taxes. ‘You’re going to qualify for a medical card,’ she told Hudson. ‘Well, thank God,’ Hudson said, laughing. ‘I believe I’m going to be a Democrat.’ Lively printed out his papers. ‘RONALD’s Health Care Coverage Options,’ one of them read. ‘Oh, man,’ Hudson said.”
In California, “California enrolls 80,000 in health plans”
“The pace of enrollment in California continues to accelerate. The Covered California exchange got 30,830 health plan enrollees in October, its first month. By Nov. 19, it had enrolled nearly 50,000 more people in private health plans for a seven-week total of 79,891. The exchange said about 2,700 people are signing up for insurance coverage daily.”
In New Jersey, “Medicaid applications up 35 percent since Obamacare exchange opened”
“The number of applicants to the State’s Medicaid program — known as New Jersey FamilyCare — during October totaled 21,946, an increase of 35 percent from September when 16,339 applicants were reported, according to NJ Citizen Action Health Policy Advocate Maura Collinsgru. She said she learned about the information during a Medicaid Assistance Advisory Council Meeting today. . . . “Enrollment in NJ Family Care is up and shows New Jerseyans are eager to get coverage,” Collinsgru said. Calls to the FamilyCare telephone line rose 60 percent, she added.”
In Illinois, “More than 47,000” have applied for Medicaid in 2 months
“Thirty years after losing his job with the U.S. Postal Service, 61-year-old Kankakee resident Kenneth Faulkner will have insurance for the first time through Medicaid. More than 47,000 low-income people in Illinois have applied for Medicaid since October on the state-run website, abe.illinois.gov/abe/access/. Illinois also got 42,000 additional Medicaid applicants by sending a letter to the 123,000 people receiving food stamps in August. Another more than 100,000 people in Cook County, where an early Medicaid pilot program began a year ago, have already enrolled . . . . Illinois was one of 25 states plus the District of Columbia that chose to expand Medicaid after the U.S. Supreme Court gave states the choice to do so. The state estimates that 342,000 people in Illinois will enroll in Medicaid because of the change in the law by 2017.”
Washington State “outpacing others in enrolling residents”
“More than 55,000 people in Washington state enrolled in health coverage in October — most in Medicaid — and about 40,000 more applied for coverage, making the Evergreen State one of the brightest success stories in the rocky national rollout of the federal health law. Here in the home of online shopping giant Amazon.com, officials credit the exchange's success in part to the Pacific Northwest's high-tech bent. Colorado enrolled just over 37,500 people in the same period. New York state — with a population nearly three times the size of Washington's — had enrolled just more than 48,000 in health plans as of Tuesday, state officials announced. Kentucky enrolled more than 32,000 in its first month. California is expected to release figures this week. All are among the states that embraced Obamacare and crafted their own insurance exchanges rather than rely on the federal site . . .”
Also in Washington State, The Obamacare horror story that wasn’t, “totally uninsured” family gets insurance
“After Jessica Sanford was misquoted on her new health care rate, critics hammered the health care law for the injustice, Except there’s a key detail none of these media outlets mentioned. Which is: Sanford’s son was discovered to qualify for Medicaid coverage at a cost of just $30 a month. He has ADHD and, according to Sanford, it costs them $250 a month for prescription drugs alone. Which will now all be covered. It’s true the rest of her insurance won’t get a big discount, as she had first thought. . . . But a bronze-level policy for a 48-year-old woman making $49,000 can be had on the state exchange for $237 a month, and a silver-level policy for $313. So here’s a family that was totally uninsured for 15 years because it had always cost at least $500 to $600 a month for skimpy policies to cover them both. And what they can get now is full coverage for $30 a month for the son and scantier coverage in the $250 to $300 a month range for the mom. How is that a horror story?”
In Kansas, Eagle Editorial: “Medicaid expansion a lifesaver”
“But by neglecting to be among the roughly half of states expanding Medicaid under the ACA as of 2014 to cover those whose income is 138 percent of the federal poverty level, Kansas already is sitting out the first of three years during which the federal government will pick up the full cost of expansion. That’s dumb – a case of Kansas subsidizing other states while idly letting thousands of its own people remain not only uninsured but uninsurable under the ACA… Continuing to deny Medicaid expansion may hold a misguided political appeal, but it will do a grave and shameful disservice to Kansans and Kansas hospitals.”
In Indiana, community health center “receives ‘substantial grant’. . . allowing greater reach of services”
“There are exciting changes ahead for a local health center that for years has been providing health services to the poor in the Wabash Valley. A recent infusion of federal dollars will allow The Wabash Valley Health Center, commonly known as St. Ann Medical and Dental Services, to continue to provide health care, expand its services and reach more people in the Valley. The Wabash Valley Health Center (WVHC), sponsored by the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods, was awarded a $778,750 grant from the United States Health and Human Services (HHS). It is one of six health centers in Indiana recently awarded the New Access Point funds under the Affordable Care Act. . . On Sunday, Sister Lawrence Ann Liston, administrator of the Wabash Valley Health Center, told the Tribune-Star about the grant and the changes ahead. ‘Receiving this grant rewards the hard work of the citizens of Terre Haute, the clinic board and the staff of the health center. We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to expand access to primary care in Terre Haute.’”
In Kentucky, “Ky.'s health care sign ups going well”
“Kentucky's program, Kynect, has enrolled 56,422 Kentuckians as of Nov. 22, said Carrie Banahan, executive director the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange. An additional 22,000 have entered personal information through the website and have found they are eligible for subsidized insurance but have yet to pick a plan.”
The GOP Autopsy Report: “Be conscious of developing a forward-leaning vision for voting Republican that appeals to women. The Republican Party needs to offer that same vision and message demonstrating that our policies, principles and vision address the concerns of female voters.”
Yet just this week we saw:
In Kentucky - Mitch McConnell's allies at the NRSC tweet an extremely offensive and sexist photo of senatorial candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes
In Texas - Tea Partier Rick Atkinson referred to State Senator Leticia Van de Putte as "barrio boopsie," insulting both her gender and ethnicity.
In Louisiana - Senator Mary Landrieu’s main opponent, Bill Cassidy’s campaign manager tweet a photo of the Senator’s face superimposed on the body of Dictator Mussolini.
And Rush Limbaugh decided that a comparison to rape would be the best way to explain yesterday’s rule change in the Senate.
Women have already rejected the Republican Party in droves in recent cycles because of their extreme policies restricting women’s access to health care and their obstruction on laws like Violence Against Women Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act.
And if today’s GOP thinks insulting women leaders is the way to expand their appeal among female voters, they are very mistaken.
Finance Director Jordan Kaplan wrote an email to supporters congratulating them for a great year and encouraged them to enter to win a trip to Washington, D.C., flight and hotel paid for, during the holiday season. He would like the opportunity to thank a supporter in person for all their hard work. Here's what he had to say:
The holiday season is when I like to take a moment and reflect on all the great things I got to be a part of this year. For my family, the birth of my daughter makes the top of the list. And when I look back on what the last 11 months were like for our party, I can say one thing for certain: 2013 was a damn good year to be a Democrat.
We won huge, historic elections in races across the country, we reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act, we expanded affordable, quality health care options, and just this week we took steps to overcome Republican obstruction in the Senate by reforming the filibuster.
None of this would have been possible without supporters like you, so thank you for a great year.
And frankly, we'd all like a chance to thank you in person. So chip in $10 or whatever you can right now, and you will be automatically entered to win a trip to Washington, D.C. for our holiday party.
We'll put you and a guest up in one of D.C.'s great old, stately hotels, take you on a nighttime tour to make sure you see the sights decorated for the holidays, have lunch at the historic Mount Vernon estate, and meet with Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, communications director Mo Elleithee, and a whole bunch of other people who would like a chance to shake your hand and thank you for all your support throughout this year.
So cheers to many victories -- let's celebrate together, and get ready for another successful year for Democrats in 2014:
See you soon,
Democratic National Committee
P.S. -- Your flight and hotel are on us, so don't worry about any of that. Come to our party in Washington, D.C. and have a holiday experience you won't forget.
In response to the Senate’s move to reform the filibuster and allow most presidential nominations to be confirmed by a simple majority, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement:
“Today, in response to unprecedented Republican obstruction, the Senate made an important rule change, which will ensure that most judicial and executive branch nominees can be confirmed with a straight-forward and commonsense up-or-down vote. This change will help President Obama, and future Presidents of both parties, put their teams in place, and allow all of us to get to work for the American people.
“While today's vote is an important step forward in ending the gridlock that has unfortunately become a hallmark of today’s Republican Party, we have more work to do. The American people have made clear that they are not interested in rigid partisan obstructionism. Our constituents expect their elected officials to work together on the issues that matter to their families. I hope my Republican colleagues will join me and my fellow Democrats in prioritizing the needs of the people over blind partisanship.”
This has been a big week for data and technology in the Democratic Party. The DNC, our candidates, and state parties are now getting access to new data assets that the Obama campaign built to help win the 2012 election. This is great news and yet another way that our party is building on our technological lead over Republicans.
While we’re getting access to new data, the way we’ll apply it isn’t new. In both 2008 and 2012, the DNC worked hand-in-hand with the Obama campaign to create the tools that collected and analyzed information about volunteers, supporters, and donors, and helped them run the most data-driven campaign to date.
And our commitment to technology innovation didn’t begin with electing President Obama. In 2005, we committed to build the Democratic Party in all 50 states and equip everyone with the know-how, tools, and data needed to win campaigns. That’s exactly what we did in the run-up to 2008, and we haven’t taken our foot off the pedal since.
In the past year, we've been working overtime and making investments to adapt the tools and strategies used in 2012 to prepare for campaigns of all sizes for 2014.
We did a trial run with campaigns in 2013, and the results speak for themselves. We won the Virginia governor’s race, and will for the first time in more than forty years hold all five statewide offices in that pivotal battleground state. Bill de Blasio is the first Democratic mayor of New York City in a generation, and Cory Booker has already been sworn in and begun to serve people of New Jersey in the U.S. Senate.
These campaigns were able to hit the ground running with the tools and information they needed to make smart, data-driven decisions from Day One. And because they worked hand-in-hand with the DNC, the experience and lessons they learned will go into making those tools even better as we work to make them available to campaigns up and down the ticket in 2014.
We look forward to integrating the Obama campaign data into our systems and continuing to work with all our state parties to use information to run smarter, more effective campaigns.
2014 is going to be a great year to run as a Democrat. We have a winning message of fighting for middle class Americans and the cutting-edge tools to deliver that message to the voters.
Following the announcement of referendum results in Albuquerque, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released this statement:
"The rejection of an extreme abortion ban by voters in Albuquerque is a resounding victory for the right of women to make their own health-care decisions.
"The measure put before Albuquerque voters was unnecessarily restrictive, making no exceptions even in cases of rape or incest, and inserting government in a very private and personal health decision best left to a woman, her family, and her doctor.
"Forty years after the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, it's a shame that we must continue to fend off attempts to curb access to health care for women.
"This vote and its outcome is yet another reminder that we must remain vigilant and engaged, never taking our rights for granted and being steadfast in support of organizations that provide essential women’s health-care services."
What does it mean to have hope? For me, hope is about everyday people who want to bring change to American public policy. I believe in the progressive message embodied by the Democratic Party and President Obama. Barack Obama inspires me because he works to create a better America for people like me. In 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama promised that these people would no longer be ignored and that all Americans would have access to affordable health care. Today, that promise is coming true.
As the recipient of a heart and kidney transplant, I am one of the many Americans whose fight for quality, affordable health insurance changed when PresidentObama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. That moment proved to me that we have to make sure the right leaders are elected to bring the change that we desire. In 2008, I volunteered on the Obama for America campaign to elect Barack Obama and give millions of Americans like me the peace of mind health care coverage brings. Today I am no longer a hopeful high school student and campaign volunteer; now I am a Hope Fellow with the Democratic National Committee. I was encouraged to apply by a friend and little did I know how much this experience would change my life.
The Hope Institute began as an initiative to engage and train the next generation of political leaders who come from underrepresented communities. I met with young leaders from across the country, and we were all inspired to begin careers in civic service through political activism. Collectively, we learned that politics is not about winning an election but making a commitment to improving and shaping a better world for future generations.
The Fellows heard from leaders including Chair of the DNC, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, DNC Vice Chair for Voter Protection and Registration Donna Brazile, and former Obama Deputy Campaign Manager, Stephanie Cutter. In addition, we received trainings on effective community organizing from Democratic strategists. The education we received was priceless, and we left with a determination to become future change makers and political officials. Each of us will take the skills learned from the Hope Institute to initiate social and political change in our own communities. Change starts with young people like me, and the Hope Institute gave me the platform to change the world.
While the blame game continued inside the Beltway this weekend, Obamacare saw positive coverage in states across the country. From Louisiana where the winning candidate ran in support of Medicaid expansion to Washington State where exchanges are up and running to Iowa and Kentucky where Republican leaders are being taken to task for their gut, block, and repeal strategy, see below for a sampling of news coverage of ACA in the states.
In Florida…"No Apologies – Obamacare Works"
“Detractors ridicule President Obama's apology to people who are ‘losing’ their health-insurance plans. He had no need to apologize to my family. We are grateful for the Affordable Care Act. As for ridicule, consider the source: Most harsh critics are the same politicians who have fought every aspect of affordable health insurance for all. My husband and I buy our own health insurance. We're among those who don't enjoy employer-paid health or other coverage, and we represent only about 5 percent of the population. That's a small number, but you wouldn't guess that from opponents' vitriol or the headlines and TV they command. To these critics of the health law — especially those lamenting the botched implementation of it — spare us your crocodile tears. If there are any apologies, it should come from these unrelenting opponents hell-bent to repeal the reform but who never utter a peep what they would do to replace it.”
In Louisiana…5th District Chooses McAllister Who Ran on Obamacare Medicaid Expansion
“While some thought the all-Republican runoff would be marked by each candidate running to the far right of every issue, McAllister took leave of the usual party line during a debate last week by coming out in support of optional Medicaid expansion offered under the Affordable Care Act. McAllister said he disagreed with Gov. Bobby Jindal's decision not to accept the expansion because of the economic make-up of the 5th District. According to census data, the district is one of the poorest in the nation with nearly 25 percent of its more than 750,000 people living below the poverty line in 2010 and 21 percent without health insurance. Riser blasted McAllister for the admission, issuing an ad stating ‘a vote for Vance McAllister is a vote for Obamacare.’ He also claimed McAllister flip-flopped on the issue by telling Democrats he supported the health care law and Republicans that he did not.”
In New Jersey…"This is not a political game"…Obamacare Critics "lack credibility"
“This is not a political game. If the reform dies, we will be stuck with a health care system that is the most expensive on Earth by far, and still leaves nearly 50 million people without coverage, most of them in working families that rely on mediocre jobs without benefits. Not surprisingly, those lacking coverage and their children are far more likely to die from a range of treatable diseases, including cancer and diabetes. No other advanced countries tolerate that kind of social Darwinism. It is savage in a nation as rich as ours. And until the opponents of the Affordable Care Act suggest a better way to bring those millions aboard, their criticism will lack credibility.”
In Iowa…DMR Hits Branstad for Blocking Obamacare
“There are now 106,000 Americans who will have comprehensive health insurance coverage on Jan. 1. Hundreds of thousands more will sign up in the coming months as problems with the Website are resolved. Young people are allowed to stay on their parents’ insurance policies, which keeps them off the rolls of the uninsured. Newly created high-risk pools provided temporary relief to Americans who previously couldn’t find insurance anywhere. Some states have enrolled tens of thousands of new, low-income residents in Medicaid…Unlike governors in many other states, Gov. Terry Branstad refused to simply expand a 50-year-old government program to insure more Iowans under the new law. While elected officials in other states quickly agreed to expand Medicaid and then directed their energies to outreach efforts, Iowa’s elected officials spent months arguing about what to do.”
In Kentucky…Tough Questions for McConnell’s Promise to Repeal ACA “root and branch”
“When Sen. Mitch McConnell summoned reporters to his Louisville campaign headquarters last week to denounce the Affordable Care Act, he was asked which parts, if any, are worth keeping. McConnell insisted the law is a "monstrosity" that should be repealed, ‘root and branch.’ His response should make Kentuckians wonder: Does McConnell really want seniors to have to choose between medicine and food? What does he have against the 3 million young adults who have gained health insurance through their parents' plans? And why is he so dismissive of 600,000-plus uninsured Kentuckians — and the enormous expense shifted onto others when they can't get medical care until it becomes more complicated and costly?... Kentucky's exchange is working but it will take time to enroll all who lack preventive care and even more time to improve Kentucky's desultory health status. McConnell should spend a day with one of the navigators who are listening to his constituents and helping them secure health care coverage, many for the first time or at a lower cost. He might not need a health plan to discover he has a heart.”
In Washington..."Washington state is making health exchange work"
“Two years of worry about whether she could stay healthy without a safety net were erased in just 20 minutes Saturday — the time it took the 62-year-old to navigate Washington's online insurance exchange with a little help from "in-person assister" Pearl Rodriguez. Mansfield was one of 100 uninsured women and men who flocked to an aging community center here on a drizzly afternoon and signed up for insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, as Obamacare is formally known. They were part of the Washington Healthplanfinder's ‘mobile enrollment tour.’ More than 55,000 people in Washington state enrolled in health coverage in October — most in Medicaid — and about 40,000 more applied for coverage, making the Evergreen State one of the brightest success stories in the rocky national rollout of the federal health law. Here in the home of online shopping giant Amazon.com, officials credit the exchange's success in part to the Pacific Northwest's high-tech bent.”
"We will tattoo it to their forehead in 2014.”
That’s what RNC Chair Reince Priebus said this weekend about how the GOP would try to use Obamacare to beat Democratic candidates in 2014.
By tattooing it to our foreheads.
Well, I’ve got a message for Reince – bring it on.
You see, I’m a Democrat who – despite all the glitches -- is anxious, eager and proud to run ON the Affordable Care Act.
Because it’s working, and people are already getting better, more affordable health care than before.
People no longer have to worry about losing coverage for preexisting conditions.
Young Americans are able to stay on the parent’s health plan for longer.
People across the country are able to shop around and find better coverage for less money.
And 500,000 Americans have, so far, been able to sign up for health coverage through the federal exchange, state exchanges, and Medicaid expansion.
That’s half a million Americans who did not have health insurance, that now do. And one million more consumers are ready to get the plan that’s right for them. And that’s just in one month.
Has it been perfect? No. President Obama and Democrats are the first to admit the website challenges have been unacceptable. Would more people be able to enroll if the website was working properly – yes, of course. And they will.
But you know what else would help get more people enrolled? If Republicans would stop their concerted effort to block the law at every turn. If more Republican governors would set up state exchanges or expand Medicaid. If Republican lawmakers would stop holding ridiculous hearings to score political points, and help folks figure out how to fix the problems.
But they’ve never really been interested in that. They don’t want Obamacare to work. They are actually afraid of it working. Why? Because they know once people begin to enjoy the benefits that come with a better and more affordable health care system, they won’t want to give them up.
And that terrifies Republicans to no end. So much so, that they even shut down the government and risked us defaulting on our national bills in order to stop it.
Look, we’ve got some work to do to fix the glitches and get more people enrolled. We did that during the Bush Administration when Medicare Part D had a rocky rollout, and we can do it again now.
Will that stop the Republicans from trying to kill it? Nope. Ted Cruz has already signaled that he’s open to another shutdown in January to try to stop Obamacare. Just as President Obama unveiled some administrative fixes to the program, Marco Rubio said that, “by no means should we be exploring ways to fix this law.” John Boehner renewed his commitment to “targeted strikes” aimed at repealing Obamacare, regardless of its impact on the American people.
They are going to keep fighting this to the bitter end.
Talk about tone deaf.
This is what they want to expend their energy on. Nothing else. (Well, except for restricting women’s health care decisions. They’ll still keep trying that. Oh, and blocking commonsense immigration reform. That appears to be a priority as well.)
No wonder a poll this week showed Congressional approval at an all-time low: 9%!
So, yeah. I’m eager, anxious and proud to run on this in 2014.
Because under the Affordable Care Act, half a million people have signed up for health care so far, and that number is only going to get higher. The Republican plan is to try to take that away.
Because under the Affordable Care Act, being a woman is no longer a preexisting condition. The Republican plan would not only make it one again, but they would impose even more restrictions on women’s health care access.
Because every single Democratic member of Congress is committed to finding the solutions to make the Affordable Care Act work even better. The Republican Party? It shut down the federal government, delivering a $24 billion hit to our economy.
I’ll take that fight any day of the week.
Republicans tried to “tattoo” Obamacare to our foreheads in 2012. We won. They tried it in Virginia in 2013. We won.
Now they want to try it again in 2014?
I’ll buy the ink.
Following the Department of Health and Human Services release of the first wave of enrollment numbers for the Affordable Care Act, Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement:
“There are a half-million Americans who today have signed up for quality, affordable health insurance through Obamacare’s federal and state Marketplaces, Medicaid and CHIP. That is a significant achievement in the fight to provide every American with access to the health care that they deserve and it is only the beginning.
“It’s time for Republicans in Congress and in state capitols to stop obstructing the law and confusing consumers. It’s also time for Republican governors to put aside their own rigid ideology and do what’s best for people in their states by expanding Medicaid, allowing an additional 5 million Americans access to coverage.
“While we are encouraged by today’s numbers, we know there is a lot of work to do. President Obama and Democrats are committed to making sure that the glitches are fixed and the law works for everyone.”
Today, DNC Finance Director Jordan Kaplan sent the following email to supporters about a chance to meet President Obama in San Francisco. Take a look and enter today:
Let me tell you the favorite part of my job: It's every time I get a chance to introduce President Obama to a supporter who has stood with him for years. That moment never fails to be amazing. And I want you to get a chance to find out what that's like.
If you enter right now, we'll give you a chance to to fly out to San Francisco to meet President Obama at the end of the month. And you can be the one introducing the President of the United States to someone special.
Picture the look on your guest's face the moment President Obama shakes their hand (or gives them a fist bump). Pretty good, right?
Chip in $3 or whatever you can, and you'll be automatically entered for the chance to make it happen -- don't worry, the hotel and airfare for both of you are on us:
Democratic National Committee
P.S. -- Seriously, if you win this, you'll create a moment that neither you nor the person you invite to join you will ever forget. Enter today.
In honor of Veterans Day, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement:
"Generations of Americans have had their patriotism tested by war – and every generation has proved equal to the task. On Veterans Day, we recognize the heroism of the men and women who have risked their lives for the sake of our nation and the freedoms we hold dear.
"Among these brave Americans, some have made the ultimate sacrifice, perishing in battle. Others have suffered terrible wounds that left them with permanent disabilities. And still others are scarred by memories of the carnage they witnessed during conflict.
"On Veterans Day, they all deserve a place in our thoughts. In addition, we have an obligation to remember all those servicemembers who may never see a battlefield but whose work still helps minimize the harm to our soldiers. And we owe gratitude to the families who have raised courageous daughters and sons capable of protecting this nation.
"But let us remember that every day offers a new opportunity to express our thanks to servicemembers -- and that our actions must back up our words. I am proud that President Obama has made it a top priority to help veterans gain access to educational opportunities that will lead to jobs and a better quality of life for their families. Under his leadership, the Administration has worked to ensure that veterans are able to obtain health care, including treatment for mental health injuries. And of course it was this Administration that ended the war in Iraq and that continues to bring troops home from Afghanistan.
"To our servicemen and women, we salute you, and renew our promise to make our country a better place for you to return home after your dedicated service."
Deputy National Political Director Steve Walker sent this email to supporters asking them to call on Speaker John Boehner to bring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act for a vote on the House floor. Here's what he had to say:
In 33 states, it is perfectly legal for employers to fire their employees for being LGBT.
You read that right. For many of us LGBT members in the workforce, the fear that we could lose our livelihood because of who we are is all too real.
ENDA, which the Senate just passed, would make it illegal to discriminate against workers based on who they are. That probably sounds obvious to you. But Speaker Boehner has called lawsuits to prevent discrimination "frivolous." His colleague, Rep. Steve King, has said ENDA "is the homosexual lobby taking it out on the rest of society and they are demanding affirmation for their lifestyle, that's at the bottom of this."
There's nothing frivolous about equality. Tell Speaker Boehner that ENDA deserves a vote:
Deputy National Political Director
Democratic National Committee
P.S. -- John Boehner didn't want to go against the Tea Party, but thanks to calls, emails, and petitions from people like you, he finally called a vote on the bill that ended the government shutdown. Let's join our voices together again, and tell John Boehner that it's time for equality in the workplace right now.
Last month Republicans shut down the government and risked defaulting on our obligations trying to derail Obamacare. Despite the GOP going to extreme lengths to stop the law’s implementation, it is going into effect and is working for Americans.
A new Kaiser study found that millions of Americans qualify for a government tax credit that will help reduce the cost of their healthcare policy. See the below clips for more on how each state is highlighting these tax credits and those it will benefit.