Speaking at the National Press Club about the midterms and the Democratic party agenda on Tuesday morning, NY Senator Chuck Schumer sounded more like a Republican, admitting the Democrats made a mistake by passing President Barack Obama’s health-care law in 2010 instead of focusing more directly on the economy.
"Unfortunately, Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them,” Schumer said. “We took their mandate and put all our focus on the wrong problem -- health care reform.” Schumer still believes in Obamacare, but he thinks Democrats suffered politically by not first tackling the recession. Healthcare, he said, “wasn’t the change we were hired to make” in the 2008 election.
After passing the stimulus, Democrats should have continued to propose middle-class oriented programs and built on the partial success of the stimulus. But unfortunately, Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them. We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem -- health care reform. The plight of uninsured Americans and the hardships caused by unfair insurance company practices certainly needed to be addressed, but it wasn't the change we were hired to make.
Americans were crying out for the end to the recession, for better wages and more jobs, not changes in health care. This makes sense, considering 85% of all Americans got their health care either the government, Medicare, Medicaid, or their employer. And if health care costs were going up, it really did not affect them. The former care act was aimed at the 36 million Americans who were not covered. It has been reported that only a third of the uninsured are even registered to vote. In 2010 only about 40% of those registered voting. Even if the uninsured kept with the rate, which they likely did not, it would still only be talking about only 5% of the electorate. To aim a huge change in mandate at such a small percentage of the electorate made no political sense. So when Democrats focused on health care, the average middle-class person thought the Democrats are not paying enough attention to me.