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Labeling Logic: On Obama-Care, NYTimes Pits 'Conservatives' Against 'the Other Side of the Issue'

Given two chances, New York Times reporters Jonathan Weisman and Michael Shear couldn't identify the universal-health-care backers Families USA as liberal in their Friday piece on what happens after the Supreme Court's imminent ruling on the constitutionality of Obama-care: "Parties Plan Next Move Once Supreme Court Rules on Health Care." Yet they had no problem spotting conservatives on the other side.

House Republicans are not waiting for the Supreme Court verdict on the new health care law to plot their strategic response. If the measure is not thrown out entirely, House leaders plan to force a vote immediately to repeal the law to reinforce their deep opposition to the legislation, opposition that has become central to their political identity.

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Representatives of groups favoring the law from crucial political battlegrounds converged on Washington this week for two days of meetings to coordinate their political response at the behest of Families USA, one of the law’s most stalwart defenders. Democratic aides on Capitol Hill are readying a comeback intended to force Republicans to show their hand on the issue of the uninsured.

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Lawmakers, political strategists and activists are preparing for three contingencies: the court upholds the law, the court invalidates the insurance-purchasing mandate but preserves most of the law, or the court throws out the law, Mr. Obama’s signature domestic achievement. In the event that the law it is crippled or eviscerated, the contest will be to ensure that the other party is held responsible, not only for the popular provisions that are lost but what comes next for the 46 million Americans still without health insurance.

Philip Klein addressed "the myth of the 46 million" in the American Spectator back in 2009.

Just a quick look inside the Census Bureau data shows that 9.7 million of the uninsured are not citizens of the United States. Liberals can argue that we still have a moral duty to cover non-citizens, but this doesn't change the fact that as a matter of accuracy, the Census data only tells us that 36 million Americans are uninsured.

But this doesn't fully convey the problematic nature of the 46-million statistic. As even the authors of the Census Bureau report themselves acknowledge, "health insurance coverage is likely to be underreported" in the Current Population Survey from which the health insurance data is derived....

Given two chances to pin an ideological label on the left-wing backers of universal health care Families USA, the Times declined, merely saying the group was "on the other side of the issue" from the "conservative group American Crossroads."

Even before those moves, advocates are trying to seed the political battleground. The conservative group American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS began a $4.6 million advertising campaign against six Democratic Senate candidates on Wednesday, including an attack on Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota centered on “Obamacare.”

On the other side of the issue, Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, said advocates of the law from the most politically important states are gathering to coordinate messages for the week ahead. The most important task is to impress on voters that the court’s ruling will likely have no impact on the heart of the health care law -- health coverage to the uninsured, started in 2014, through the expansion of Medicaid, the establishment of state-run health insurance exchanges and tax subsidies for the purchase of private insurance plans on those exchanges.

The story was accompanied by a large chart from Lisa Waananen that was tilted toward how eliminating Obama-care completely would be a negative, causing "great uncertainty" in the health care industry and "be disruptive for health care providers."