- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 2, 2014

Rep. Jim McDermott said Thursday that Democrats should adopt a “two-pronged approach” to their agenda and for the midterm elections this year — with one of the prongs involving Obamacare.

“I think there clearly is an exciting thing happening today,” Mr. McDermott, Washington Democrat, said on MSNBC. “For the first time many people have health care and that’s going to be an issue that Democrats I think can run on and be very proud of, and the other side’s going to have a hard time explaining why it isn’t good for people to have health insurance and be protected against previous problems they’ve had and getting their children covered. That’s going to be hard.”

The White House this week touted figures that showed more than 2 million people have selected health care plans through state and federal insurance exchanges, and almost 4 million learned in the first two months of the health care law’s rollout that they’re eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

The administration did not say, however, how many people would be newly insured versus the number of people who are trying to sustain their health insurance after being kicked off an old plan — a development Republicans have seized on and plan to hammer Democrats with both on the Hill and in this election cycle as well.

“While there may be additional targeted legislative strikes, the heavy emphasis will be on oversight,” Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, told Politico. “The law can’t truly be ‘fixed,’ so we’ll be making the case for repeal by highlighting the endless negative consequences of the law.”

The second item Mr. McDermott talked about Thursday was “more money in the pockets of workers” as many Democrats are pushing to hike the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour when Congress returns next week.

“I think it ought to be a two-pronged, approach, really,” he said. “Health care and the money in people’s pockets. Without both of those, people will be healthier, but they won’t have any money to spend. And I think that’s really why you have to do both.”