Democrats in at least three tightly contested campaigns defended their votes for the Affordable Care Act last night, touting the most popular provisions of the law and insisting that the law represented a step in the right direction. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) has been the most vocal supporter of the law on the campaign trail, but Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-IN) — who is running for Evan Bayh’s seat — are also using their votes for the law’s consumer protections to distinguish themselves from their Republican opponents.
During a series of rapid fire questions about health care in the Colorado senate debate, Bennet’s challenger Ken Buck said he supported some of the popular provisions in the law, to which Bennet retorted, “until the very end, Ken Buck was for the health care reform bill.” Some other highlights:
ELLSWORTH: “I’m proud that we took it on. I think it does some great things. I think that it eliminates pre-existing conditions for children and then eventually for adults. It finally closes the doughnut hole for seniors… And I think that’s a very important step. Is the bill perfect? Absolutely not. Will it be added to and deleted from, it will? But it was a good first step and we should do it.”
FEINGOLD: “It’s really a compromise that’s sort of in the Wisconsin tradition…the bill is a good compromise that I think brings the country forward on the number one issue that’s been brought up to me over the years….I want this bill because I think it was the right solution. Yes, I would have preferred a public option because I think it would have made it even stronger.”
Watch a compilation:
Responding to Feingold’s strong defense of the health law, challenger Ron Johnson has softened his rhetoric on repeal, while Buck has conceded that the claim that the law would cut $500 billion from Medicare benefits is false.