During an afternoon event Tuesday with Madison County Democrats, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown said he expects Democrats will stop being badgered with criticisms about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) within five years.
Drawing comparisons to two other controversial pieces of legislation — creating Medicare during the 1960s and Social Security during the 1930s — the ACA is “of course going to be controversial,” but will soon be winning over the population, Brown said.
“Any big thing like health care is controversial,” he said to the room of supporters gathered at the Madison County Senior Center. “You can’t find anybody who says Medicare isn’t great. Of course they think that now, but they didn’t think that then.”
According to Brown, there are nearly 500,000 Ohioans with health insurance today who didn’t have coverage in December thanks to the Democratic-passed ACA, also known as “Obamacare.” Additionally, 1 million senior citizens in Ohio are receiving free physicals with no co-pay and no deductible.
“It’s clear this is working for the country and you’re going to hear less and less criticism of the existence of the ACA,” said Brown, a Democrat who has been in office since 2007. “Five years from now, it will be as popular as Social Security and Medicare.”
Despite short notice, a day-time agenda and a local conservative stronghold, Madison County Democrats were pleased with the turnout of about 30 individuals to hear Brown speak.
Madison County voters are registered Republican overwhelmingly.
“I look around this room, and I know being a Democrat in Madison County is tough,” Brown said to the crowd, as members shook their heads in agreement. “I know if you lived in Cleveland or Columbus it’d be a lot easier. You’re fighting and standing up.”
Brown was joined at the event by Scott Wharton, a Democrat challenging Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Upper Arlington) in the 15th congressional district, which includes Madison County.
Denise Worthington, a Democrat seeking the office of Madison County Commissioner, also addressed the crowd. Brown expressed support for both candidates, adding that he “could not believe” reports stating Worthington was the first female to run for commissioner in the county’s general election.
Prior to the party event, Brown toured Armaly Brands in London, a factory that produces Brillo Pads. Inside, workers make the soap-infused steel wool using a mix of new machines and some that date to the 1950s or earlier. The London factory began in 1921 and is now the country’s sole manufacturer of the cleaning pads.
The company is planning to hire at least eight new full-time employees as it prepares to launch a new product — an industrial wool soap pad, said Neil Parrish, plant manager.
Brown said many Ohio residents may not know the state is home to the largest yogurt manufacturer in North America and the maker of all V8 juice in Ohio, in addition to a manufacturer of cars and airplane engines. Ohio is third in the nation in manufacturing, he added.
While he declined to test local Democrats if they could name the eight vegetables in V8 juice — that would be a “really obnoxious thing to do,” he said — Brown quizzed others on the topic during the earlier tour at the factory.
The senator quickly named the first seven ingredients — tomatoes, carrots, celery, beets, parsley, lettuce and watercress — but was unable to think of the eighth until several minutes later, much to his staff’s surprise.
Walking down a flight of steps, he suddenly jerked backward, throwing his hand up into the air.
“Spinach!” he declared.
Andrea Chaffin can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 1619 or via Twitter @AndeeWrites.