END OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD (41 states)

Time: D H M S

CNN confirms it: As far as the media is concerned, REPEAL!! is off the table

Yes, I suffered through most of the 4 hours-plus of both the "Kiddie Table" and the "Main Event" CNN debates tonight..and unless I missed something, everything I wrote about the first debate on FOX News last month was true of CNN this evening:

In short, from what I can gather, the Affordable Care Act …

… the law which has consumed 99 percent of the Republican Party’s attention for the past 6 years or so …
… the law which has survived over 50 repeal attempts …
… the law which recovered from an unprecedented epic technical meltdown …
… the law which survived a federal government shutdown designed specifically to destroy it …
… the law which survived hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Koch Brothers attack ads …
… the law which survived two major Supreme Court decisions …

… proved to be worth perhaps three minutes of total airtime and discussion out of nearly four hours of Republican Party Presidential debate.

Because FOX News – FOX NEWS – had consciously decided that Obamacare is no longer a top issue to spend time screaming about.

I didn't catch all of the earlier debate, but here's the transcript. "Affordable Care Act" or "ACA" isn't mentioned at all. "Obamacare" is mentioned 14 times...but 5 of those were just examples in a question about Supreme Court appointments (was John Roberts a mistake, etc), while the other 9 were Bobby Jindal and Lindsey Graham arguing over the best way to repeal the law (via government shutdown vs. electing a Republican as President). There wasn't a single question about the law itself.

As for the Main Event debate, I missed some parts of that as well, but to the best of my knowledge, again, the ACA only came up in the context of Supreme Court nominations or as a part of a generic "checklist" of "stuff I'll do if elected President".

Again, out of 4 hours of questions, none of the CNN panelists asked a single question about the Affordable Care Act itself, and beyond boilerplate "I'll repeal it if elected" responses from a few candidates, it barely merited any time at all.

Hell, according to a friend of mine who watched all of it, even John Kasich's expansion of Medicaid in Ohio was a non-issue this time:

@charles_gaba No and he even mentioned it unproblematically.

— emptywheel (@emptywheel) September 17, 2015

UPDATE: OK, here's the transcript of the 2nd "Main Event" debate...and as you can see, I was correct: "Obamacare" mentioned 10 times, and once again, every instance was either a generic checklist or in response to the SCOTUS appointment question. Even Kasich's single mention of Medicaid was actually part of a response to a question about defunding Planned Parenthood.

Medicare was mentioned exactly once in the first debate (by Lindsey Graham, pointing out that we need (legal) immigrants to keep the worker-to-retiree ratio up), and not at all in the second one.