LAS VEGAS — Here at a morning panel at the Netroots Nation conference, a representative of the liberal activist group Health Care for America Now (HCAN) said that there was a temptation among Democrats to run away from the health care issue because of right-wing attacks, but liberals had to fight back.
“August is crucial,” HCAN’s Melinda Gibson said. Last August, she explained, liberals lost the media narrative as conservative activists organized at town hall meetings, but next month, the left must “go on offense.”
She conceded that some liberal activists who are doing voter outreach on health care are running into problems because “people are defensive and afraid.”
With that said, she argued that health care’s poll numbers were improving. She joked, “For the first time, health care’s negatives are lower than Obama’s.”
The hardest group to reach continues to be those voters over 65, who are worried the new law will endanger the health care they already had, which is why as more people start receiving government checks as a result of the new law, the opposition to repeal will increase.
But to win the debate, she said, liberals couldn’t get drawn into an argument over all the nuances of the bill, but instead insist that someone is either with the American people, or with the insurance companies.
“We’ll never be able to match the other side on a dollar for dollar basis, because we’re the good guys,” she said. “We don’t lie, cheat, or steal.”
However, she said, if liberals could continue to attack the insurance companies, they could energize the public to demand further changes. She suggested following insurance executives around with cameras to all their fancy lunches so that they would become hated by America.
The ultimate goal of the members of the panel was the elimination of for profit insurance and the creation of a single-payer health care system.
Another panelist, Andrew McGuire of California One Care, was arguing for pushing single-payer at the state level, because he’s skeptical it could happen in Washington. He predicted that California would have single-payer health care in 10 years.