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Democratic Governors Want More From Obama on Healthcare Law

Image: Democratic Governors Want More From Obama on Healthcare Law From left: Govs. Deval Patrick, Jay Nixon and Jack Markell

By Melanie Batley   |   Tuesday, 25 Feb 2014 11:22 AM

Democratic governors are asking President Barack Obama to take more responsibility to sell Obamacare to the public in the run-up to the 2014 campaigns, insisting the White House hasn't done enough to counter the slew of negative advertising designed to hurt Democrats seeking election this year.

According to Politico, a number of Democratic governors say they have had little support from the administration as they grapple with botched enrollment sites and political fights at home with legislatures over Medicaid expansion.

Asked if the White House had done enough to win over the public on the Affordable Care Act, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said, "The short answer is no," Politico reports. He added he wanted to see the White House make more of a sustained effort to promote the new healthcare law.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon told Obama at a closed-door meeting of Democratic governors Friday that the president should do more to promote healthcare innovations at the state level.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell said he has advised senior White House officials to focus on efforts to control healthcare costs instead of simply focusing on the successes of getting coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions.

"They have to continue to tell the story around cost, because in that case we hear some good stories and some stories that are not as compelling," Markell said.

The administration, however, insists it has taken a high-profile role in promoting Obamacare, particularly among black and Latino voters.

The White House has also used social media to promote positive stories, and points out that First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have toured the radio and television circuit to reinforce positive messages about the new law.

"In the places where you have a high density of uninsured, you'd be hard-pressed not to find an active administration voice," said one senior administration official, according to Politico. "We're doing what we think works, and what we think reaches the most people."

Nevertheless, Democratic lawmakers are finding they must do it alone to persuade constituents to accept federal funds for Medicaid expansion, work through the problems with the healthcare marketplaces, and remain optimistic about the longer term benefits of the new healthcare law, Politico reports.

"Having the administration and others talk more about those reforms within the Medicaid system, I think would be helpful," said Nixon, who unsuccessfully battled the GOP Legislature to accept federal healthcare funds.

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