This is such a delicious piece of video. I watched it twice, just to see Joe Heck stutter and stumble around his answers to this constituent, a small business owner who is already benefiting from the Affordable Care Act.
The constituent, a self-described “business person,” says the law has already saved him money and will save him more in the future, adding that it has already bent the cost curve. “Why would you oppose the ACA at every turn?” the man asks. “Why would you oppose something that’s helping me now?”
What this sort of encounter confirms, as another similar moment with GOP Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina did recently, is that we may now be heading into new political territory when it comes to Obamacare. Polls continue to show the law remains unpopular and that public confusion about it remains rampant. But now that the law’s concrete benefits are kicking in, it may be harder for Republicans to explain their continuing drive to repeal it, particularly to constituents who understand what repeal would take away from them. We’re a long way from the anti-Obamacare town halls of the magical Summer of ’09.
Yes, indeed we are, though that doesn't stop Rep. Heck from pulling out the same old boring and tired arguments about how it will cost employers with more than 50 employees more, or how it was "passed in the middle of the night" with no Republican votes, or how the rate band compression will end up being more costly. And so on. Yawn.
One of the more interesting facets of Heck's response was how quickly he was willing to toss small businesses under the bus in favor of large ones. In the video, he acknowledges the business owner is benefiting, but quickly follows that up with the warning that those poor large corporations will suffer so small business can benefit. This tracks closely with the US Chamber of Commerce and NFIB opposition to the ACA, but those organizations are now reaping the whirlwind they sowed.