It didn't take long after Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said last week that Obamacare could be used as an "advantage” in next year's election for the other side to issue a blistering reaction.
The national Republican party seized an opportunity to weigh in on the 13th Congressional District where two Republicans and three Democrats - including former Madison County chief judge Ann Callis - are competing for the seat that was won by Republican Rodney Davis of Taylorville last year.
The freshman congressman is seeking re-election and faces GOP challenger Erika Harold of Urbana in the March primary. Callis, a Democrat from Edwardsville, will face George Gollin and David Green, both from Champaign, in the primary just three months from now.
On Wednesday last week, Katie Prill, spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said that because of Wasserman-Schultz's remarks in a CNN interview, Callis is now "forced" to run as proponent of the unpopular Affordable Care Act.
“Thanks to her liberal friends in Washington, Ann Callis is now forced to run on her support for Obamacare, which has already caused Illinois families to be kicked off their health care plans,” Prill said. “Surely Callis is regretting taking tons of campaign cash from the liberal architects of Obamacare that are now forcing her to own this law.”
Requests for a statement from Callis went unanswered. But according to her campaign website, her stance on Obamacare is supportive but recognizes the law’s flaws.
“Ann Callis believes we need reforms that fix and improve the Affordable Care Act, not kneejerk partisanship that doesn’t solve problems,” the website states.
Green said he plans on running on the idea that America needs to "move quickly to single healthcare at the federal level" regardless of what Wasserman-Schultz said.
But when it comes to Callis, Green said she may be forced to support what the party supports if she were to win office.
"Money drives the political process in a lot of ways," he said.
Harold, a former Miss America, said a Democratic strategy supportive of Obamacare is a "lost strategy" and will put any candidate at a disadvantage.
“I think that choosing to run [on Obamacare] is a mistake,” Harold said, “because it conflicts with real life experiences. People in my district are frustrated with it.
“Any candidate that is not responsive to concerns of the voters is going to have a difficult time,” she continued.
However, she said avoiding the Obamacare completely could be just as risky.
“Healthcare will be a big issue,” Harold said. “People are concerned. Voters are looking for someone who can figure out what we can do to make things right.”
She argued that the campaign should focus on what the voters are saying.
“When you are running, you focus on things that will make the lives of your constituents better,” she said.
Davis, as the Democrats' prime target in the race, is continually attacked by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) for his stance on repealing Obamacare and other issues.
The DCCC released a statement on Dec. 4 arguing that Davis would end cost-saving and life-saving preventative care for more than three million people in Illinois.
“Congressman Rodney Davis’s obsessive attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act would end preventative health coverage that saves lives and reduces costs for 105 million Americans, including 3,047,000 people in Illinois,” the DCCC stated.
While requests for a statement on went unanswered, Davis’s campaign website offers a clear indication regarding his stance on Obamacare.
According to his website, more Americans received healthcare cancellation notices than have enrolled in Obamacare plans in the first 45 days after the law was rolled out on Oct. 1; which reveals problems exceed the technical glitches regarding healthcare.gov.
“I have voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act because I believe this 2,700-page law raises more questions and problems than providing answers," Davis states on his site. "By repealing this law, we can begin to build on some of the good provisions in the law like covering preexisting conditions and allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26."