There's plenty of polling that shows the Affordable Care Act doesn't enjoy overwhelming popularity, but this isn't stopping Democrats from celebrating 'Obamacare' at their national convention. On the contrary, the party seems to be using the convention to present a spirited defense of the maligned law.
Several months ago, Obama for America released a video featuring Stacy Lihn of Arizona, who explained that the health care reform law is saving her young daughter's life. It was a powerful clip, featuring a young family facing not only a gut-wrenching fear about their daughter's health, but also the fear that some politicians would destroy the law and take away their family's hope.
Last night, the Lihns addressed the Democratic National Convention. "Governor Romney says people like me were the most excited about President Obama the day we voted for him," Stacy said. "But that's not true. Not even close."
Lihn added, "Governor Romney repealing health care reform is something we worry about literally every day. Zoe's third open-heart surgery will happen either next year or the year after. If Mitt Romney becomes president and Obamacare is repealed, there's a good chance she'll hit her lifetime cap.
"There's no way we could afford to pay for all the cares needs to survive. When you have a sick child, it's always in the back of your mind and sometimes in the front of your mind. On top of that, to worry that people would let an insurance company take away her health care, just because of politics? One in 100 children is born with a congenital heart defect. President Obama is fighting for them. He's fighting for families like mine, and we need to fight for him."
This is, to put it mildly, powerful stuff.
But in the larger context of the national campaign, this was clear evidence that Democrats have decided to embrace the health care law with pride. As Greg Sargent noted overnight, "This doesn't really look like running away from the health law, does it? If Dems want to draw a contrast between what an Obama second term and a Romney first term would look like, this is not a bad place to start."
Note, of course, that it wasn't just Stacy Lihn making the case. I didn't literally count references, but I watched most of last night's speeches, and just about every speaker I saw touted the benefits and importance of the Affordable Care Act. "For us Democrats, Obamacare is a badge of honor," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. "No matter who you are, what stage of life you're in, this law is a good thing."
Democrats own this law; it's to their benefit to offer a spirited defense, explaining why it will make a life-saving difference in the lives of millions of American families, polls be damned.