Outside a town-hall event in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday about 100 people waving signs including “Hands Off My Obamacare” protested the rally. Supporters say that efforts by the Heritage Foundation and others are designed to mislead and confuse people about the law.
While there were reportedly over 600 attendees inside the town-hall style event, this was not something for the general public. Funded by the Heritage Foundation, it was more a pep rally for the group's drive to gain support for lawmakers to defund Obamacare.
On hand were Jim DeMint, the former South Carolina senator who now heads the conservative Heritage Foundation and J. Kenneth Blackwell (Voter suppression, Diebold voting machines, anyone?), former Ohio secretary of state, and a senior fellow at the conservative Family Research Council.
"[The]Opponents’ goal is “to deny the security and affordability of quality health care to millions of Americans and obviously millions of Ohioans,” said Brad Woodhouse, president of the liberal Americans United for Change, at a news conference earlier yesterday in Columbus.
“These folks, they didn’t get their way, they lost legislatively, they lost electorally, they lost at the Supreme Court, and by God if they can’t defund Obamacare or repeal it, they are just going to shut the government down. They are going to ensure that Social Security checks aren’t delivered, that farmers don’t get help, that our borders aren’t patrolled, because they didn’t get their way on Obamacare.”
Locally, supporters also are stepping up efforts to educate people and get the uninsured covered.
Earlier this week, 21-year-old Ohio State University student Nina Dias was among a handful of advocates for the poor handing out literature Downtown during the busy lunch hour, talking about young adults being able to stay on their parents’ policies longer, free annual checkups and preventive care and no lifetime-coverage limits.
“Most people don’t take the time to read about it and stay informed. We’re hoping to spread the word,” Dias said. “We’re talking about the impact on younger people, like letting people know they can stay on their parents’ policy until 26.” Supporters say they are placing ads on the Facebook page of every user ages 18 to 35."
Even Republicans have tired of the Heritage Foundation's heavy-handed tactics. Just this week, the Republican Study Committee—a group of 172 conservative House members — barred Heritage Foundation employees from attending its weekly meeting in the Capitol. The conservative think tank has been a presence at RSC meetings for decades and enjoys a close working relationship with the committee and its members. But that relationship is now stretched thin, sources say, due to a series of policy disputes that culminated with a blowup over last month's vote on the the farm bill.
So while those people outside calling for lawmakers like John Boehner to stop trying to repeal their Obamacare may have been outnumbered by the select invites of the Heritage Foundation, those people more closely represent everyday Americans.
TPM reported on Thursday, that the Heritage Foundation was gobsmacked to discover that the majority of Americans don't support their efforts:
"The Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank that has been a leader in the Defund Obamacare movement, appeared to go through a small crisis in the last 24 hours over just what percentage of Americans support their cause.
Wednesday morning, Heritage debuted a poster asking if “you” were a part of the 57 percent of Americans who support defunding Obamacare. That same morning, the Kaiser Family Foundation, one of the most respected health policy think tanks, released a monthly tracking poll that found the exact opposite: 57 percent of Americans opposed defunding the health care reform law."
Obamacare advocates want DeMint and company to explain why they want to take away from women preventative care coverage, take away from kids the elimination of pre-existing conditions or from seniors eliminating the prescription drug donut hole, why is Heritage against their own ideas for an exchange? Why are they rooting against Americans by playing politics with their health care?