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March 11. 2012 8:50PM

Democrats gear up to push health-care law benefits

MANCHESTER — With the two-year anniversary of President Barack Obama's health-care law coming up on March 23, the Obama campaign and Democratic National Committee are mounting a major effort to promote what they view as the benefits of the program and try to ensure it's a plus, and not a liability, for the President or Democratic candidates in this election year.

The U.S. Supreme Court is slated to hold oral arguments later this month on a challenge to the controversial individual mandate portion of the law. Republicans hope to use that occasion to whip up opposition, as they did in the summer and fall of 2010, prior to a mid-term election that went heavily GOP.

But the Democrats, in a preemptive strike, this weekend rolled out a major campaign program touting the benefits of the bill, with mailers targeting women and upcoming roundtables, phone banks and press conferences.

New Hampshire, as a swing state in the upcoming presidential and two congressional elections, will see plenty of action along those lines.

The New Hampshire Union Leader has learned that the Democratic National Committee will hit New Hampshire mailboxes with at least three mail pieces in the next several weeks.

“Wealthy families already get good health care,” says one mailer. “How will America's new health care law help you?”

The mailer says that first among “three ways America's new health care law is helping you and your family” is “preventing discrimination against women like you.”

Another mailer, with a photo of a senior woman on the cover says, “Mammograms and bone mass scans can save your life. Medicare must now offer them to you for free.”

It says that such preventive services “now have no co-pay thanks to America's new health care law.”

The third mailer has the same theme on free preventative services, citing breast cancer mammography, breast-feeding support and counseling, cervical cancer screening, contraception and other services.

The mailers will direct people to a new web site, NewHealthCareLaw.com, set up by the DNC. The Obama campaign's web site also will have positive information about the law at a new page, BarackObama.com/healthcare.

New Hampshire will see its share of events to promote the law.

Obama's campaign will hold more than 40 events in the coming weeks, from roundtable discussions to phone banks, said campaign spokeswoman Holly Shulman. The phone banks begin tonight in Lebanon and Nashua, with six slated for tomorrow night and more for later in the week and month.

On Thursday, March 15 in Portsmouth, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schltz will join local health care experts and women supporters to “discuss women's access to health care and the Affordable Care Act,” Shulman said.

The event, scheduled for 9:15 a.m. at the Portsmouth Obama campaign office at 125 Brewery Lane, is open to members of the public who RSVP to sscoggin@ofanh.com.

Appearing with Wasserman-Schultz will be Lindsay Hanson, who headed New Hampshire Women for Obama in 2005, long-time Obama supporter Mary Rauh and local health care professionals.

Several press conferences are also planned.

“In the two years since the President signed these important health reforms into law, millions of Americans have already experienced the benefits,” Shulman said. “Medicare is now stronger for seniors, and women can now get life-saving mammograms at no extra cost.

“Children who were born with pre-existing conditions like asthma won't lose their health care coverage and New Hampshire families are seeing how the Affordable Care Act is saving money but also saving lives,” she said.

State Republican Party Executive Director Tory Mazzola said his party plans its own campaign — for repeal of the law.

“We plan to continue to remind voters of this unpopular government-takeover of health care,” Mazzola said. “Although we have online and promotional campaigns planned, the facts remind voters every day as patients face more expensive health costs because of Obamacare. One of our goals is to get New Hampshire Democrats to admit that supporting it was a mistake, especially since it cuts to Medicare and creates a new board to further gut this important program for seniors.”


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