- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 28, 2016

PHILADELPHIA — Even progressives are turning against Obamacare as health care costs and premiums skyrocket.

Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, said Wednesday there was strong support for a single-payer system on the Democratic platform committee, and one reason is that progressives blame the Affordable Care Act for rising costs.

“In a world in which people are facing rising costs and they kind of hear the ACA is over here, they’re blaming the ACA for their rising costs,” Ms. Tanden said during a panel discussion at the Democratic National Convention.

“Even progressives who fought for the ACA five years ago are really questioning the affordability issue, and it’s making them move in really dramatic ways,” she said. “Part of this lack of support of the ACA is from the left, not just the right.”

She disputed the widespread contention that Obamacare has driven rising health care costs, calling it the biggest “misunderstanding” surrounding the Obama administration’s far-reaching health care program.

“I think one of the most singular misunderstandings is that the ACA created exchanges for people who don’t have health insurance, and is not actually driving the premium everyone has in their employer-based plan,” Ms. Tanden said. “There’s some impacts there, but it’s not like the ACA is responsible.”

Ms. Tanden, a prominent supporter of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, served on the platform committee.

The panel, sponsored by Americans United for Change, featured former Sen. Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, and former Obama health care policy adviser Nancy-Ann DeParle.

The discussion included concerns that Republican Donald Trump would strike the ACA if elected, as well as issues for Democrat Hillary Clinton to address if elected, starting with affordability.

The push from the left for a “public option” has intensified amid the failure of two-thirds of the Obamacare web-based exchanges.

Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, advised Democrats to avoid mentioning the ACA by name on the campaign trail, and instead describe its benefits, such as preventing insurance companies from denying coverage based on preexisting conditions.

“African-Americans, you talk about the Affordable Care Act, and it elicits a very positive response, but even with the other demographic groups, Latinos, women, young adults, talking about the Affordable Care Act as your front language is not particularly helpful,” Mr. Pollack said. “Talk about the pieces of it that are in there. Because that is very popular and that is what will drive enthusiasm for people saying this is making a difference in my life.”

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