President Obama went to Maryland today to tell senior citizens that their new Medicare check is in the mail, and they have health care reform to thank for it. The Christian Science Monitor reports out the story under the headline "Why is Obama still pushing health-care reform?"
Really? That's so easy, a headline from the page's Related Links box answers it: "Republicans' new health care reform bill rallying cry: Repeal it."
Democrats think they can run on health care reform this year for the same reason Republicans unanimously objected to it: it creates a new entitlement. Republicans don't like entitlements (until they do). Voters flat-out love entitlements. So the bill is purposely designed to front-load the bennies and back-load the pain.
Beginning to fill the doughnut hole (the weird gap between where regular Medicare Rx drug coverage ends and catastrophic coverage begins) is a gimme for an election year. Medicare Advantage cuts, combined with higher Medicare payroll tax rates for the rich and an excise tax on expensive health care plans ... not so much the kind of thing you want to run on with unemployment near 10 percent.