GOP On ObamaCare: Goodbye Repeal/Defund/Delay, Hello ‘Let It Burn’?

The GOP seems to be shifting strategy on the Affordable Care Act.

republicans-elephant-flag-shadow In partial answer to the question I posed yesterday about whether or not we might have to worry about a new government shutdown fight in early 2014 the deadlines set as part of the deal that ended the Federal Government shutdown last month, it appears that the Republican Party has decided to shift strategies on how it will attack the President and Democrats in general, and the Affordable Care Act in particular, headed into the 2014 midterms. In short, the strategy can be summed up in three simple words, let it burn:

Republican lawmakers who pushed the government shutdown to stop ObamaCare say their new plan is to sit back and watch the law self-destruct.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and other Tea Party allies of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) say the threat of a shutdown is no longer necessary to defund the Affordable Care Act (ACA) now that the administration’s rollout is flailing.

While Cruz is not ruling out another attempt to use government funding as leverage, his allies think they already have the political support they need to repeal the healthcare reform law.

“Leverage is building every day,” said Lee. “It won’t necessarily require us to rely on using the [continuing resolution].”

Outside of the Cruz/Lee/Tea Party sphere, the GOP as a whole appears to be prepared to pursue the same strategy, with much emphasis being placed on what it believes will be the continuing negative impact of what has been, to date, a rather disastrous roll out:

WASHINGTON — The memo distributed to House Republicans this week was concise and blunt, listing talking points and marching orders: “Because of Obamacare, I Lost My Insurance.” “Obamacare Increases Health Care Costs.” “The Exchanges May Not Be Secure, Putting Personal Information at Risk.” “Continue Collecting Constituent Stories.”

The document, the product of a series of closed-door strategy sessions that began in mid-October, is part of an increasingly organized Republican attack on the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature legislative initiative. Republican strategists say that over the next several months, they intend to keep Democrats on their heels through a multilayered, sequenced assault.

The idea is to gather stories of people affected by the health care law — through social media, letters from constituents, or meetings during visits back home — and use them to open a line of attack, keep it going until it enters the public discourse and forces a response, then quickly pivot to the next topic.

For a House more used to disarray than methodical game plans, the success so far has been something of a surprise, even to the campaign’s organizers.

“Yeah, there is a method being followed here,” said Representative Michael C. Burgess, a Texas Republican involved in the effort, “but, really, these stories are creating themselves.”

First it was the malfunctioning website, HealthCare.gov, then millions of insurance policy cancellation notices sent to individuals with plans that did not meet the requirements of the health law. Earlier this week, the House aired allegations that personal data is insecure on the Internet-based insurance exchanges.

At a congressional field hearing set for Friday in Gastonia, N.C., the line of attack will shift to rate shocks expected to jolt the insurance markets in the next two years. Coming soon: a push to highlight people losing access to their longtime physicians and changes in Medicare Advantage programs for older people.

The effort has its roots in a strategy developed last spring, when House Republican leaders — plagued by party divisions that were thwarting legislative accomplishments — refocused the House’s committees on oversight rather than on the development of new policies.

(…)

Republicans are already looking ahead to next year, when they expect a raft of new issues as people start using their new health plans.

“We’re trying to stay as agile as we can,” said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Mr. Boehner. “We know what issues are coming. We know what the consequences will be. We can’t say when they will pop exactly, but we’re prepared to talk about them.”

As a political matter, this is certainly a smarter strategy than the one the GOP tried to follow over the summer and leading into the budget showdown in September that led to the disastrous and utterly pointless Federal Government shutdown in October. Even with all of the bad publicity that the PPACA has gotten over the past two weeks, the political dynamics have not changed on Capitol Hill. Republicans still don’t have enough votes in the Senate to repeal, defund, or delay the PPACA, and they don’t control the White House. As long as those two facts remain true, then anything they try to do in that area is doomed to fail. Additionally, it seems as though they’ve learned the lesson of the October shutdown and are smart enough not to try to tie a doomed strategy against ObamaCare to budget negotiations or the debt ceiling. So, for better or worse, the only thing that they can do is to continue hammering away on the negative news that seems to come out about the law on a daily basis and make the 2014 campaign at least a part a referendum on the health care law. The counter argument to this strategy, of course, is that it’s entirely possible that the problems we’ve been seeing for the past six weeks will clear themselves up and that, by the time people go to the polls the law will start to be seen as a big success. While I don’t dismiss that possibility, it’s also possibility that things will get much worse, and that Democrats will end up paying an electoral price:

Some of Obamacare’s most damaging political narratives will be getting a fresh look right before next year’s midterms, thanks to delays in the law’s implementation.

Canceled insurance plans are the most obvious example. President Obama said last week that insurers can un-cancel certain policies for another year, a move largely designed to appease nervous Democrats. But a one-year delay simply means that cancellation notices will resume next October—just weeks before many of those same Democrats will face voters for the first time since voting to pass the Affordable Care Act.

And that’s not the only political threat lurking just ahead of the 2014 midterms. The White House also delayed the law’s employer mandate until 2015. That means employers will be deciding in mid- to late 2014 whether they’re going to offer health benefits under the mandate—and whether to cut employees’ hours to avoid providing them with health care.

“They’re concentrating everything in the fall of next year, and that’s a very dangerous time to be doing it,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a conservative economist who leads the American Action Forum.

(…)

The biggest effect of the employer mandate, she said, will be on the roughly one-third of employers affected by the law’s definition of a full-time employee. Businesses must provide coverage to everyone who works at least 30 hours per week (not 40), a threshold most employers aren’t used to.

Republicans have already seized on anecdotal reports of businesses capping workers at 29 hours per week to avoid providing health care benefits. Mercer’s research suggests that’s not a common practice—only about 10 percent of employers say they’re considering capping workers’ hours instead of providing health benefits, according to the firm’s surveys.

“Most of them are planning to extend benefits to that segment of their workforce,” Watts said.

But Republicans surely will still attack Democrats over anecdotal reports of people having their hours cut. Some of the highest-profile anecdotes before the mandate was delayed came from partisan business owners who threatened to cut workers’ hours for political purposes, like the Florida restaurant owner who said he would cut workers’ hours and add an “Obamacare surcharge” to his customers’ bills.

Moreover, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is expecting deeper cuts than Mercer. The chamber’s surveys found that more than 20 percent of franchise owners said they have already replaced full-time workers with part-timers to avoid the coverage mandate.

Other insurance experts have speculated that, just was we saw a vast number of individual policies canceled in the later half of 2013 due to non-compliance with the provisions of the PPACA, we may end up seeing cancellations of the small group policies that most small businesses use to cover their employees. Or, as an alternative to cancellation, a massive increase in premiums or deductibles that will end up making the plans far less affordable for employers and employees alike. Given that there are far more people covered by these small group policies than there are by the individual policies that have been the focus of so much ire over the past several weeks. That would leave a much larger population faced with insurance problems next year than there are this year, and potentially a large population that would be receptive the GOP’s anti-ObamaCare message as Election Day approaches.

Again, much of this depends on how the ObamaCare rollout goes but, as far as plans go, it seems like the GOP is actually looking at something politically smart here. Whether it will work or not, of course, depends upon a number of factors that nobody can foresee. However, it’s something that just might help the GOP capture enough seats to take the Senate back. That won’t be enough to impact the PPACA by itself, but it would be a big start.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2014, Congress, Health Care, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Tillman says:

    Republican lawmakers who pushed the government shutdown to stop ObamaCare say their new plan is to sit back and watch the law self-destruct.

    Obviously they never had faith in their conviction that the Affordable Care Act was disastrous policy since they spent the years up to its implementation trying to stymie or sabotage it. This isn’t really anything other than watching the boulder you’ve been pushing for years finally start rolling on its own.

    Provided the law actually fails.

  2. al-Ameda says:

    the Republican Party has decided to shift strategies on how it will attack the President and Democrats in general, and the Affordable Care Act in particular, headed into the 2014 midterms. In short, the strategy can be summed up in three simple words, let it burn

    God forbid that the GOP would actually take an approach of “here are some reforms or measures that could enable implementation to move forward effectively.”

    Many Republicans in Washington DC and in Republican-dominated states did everything they could to delay, obstruct, or otherwise interfere with implementation of ACA, and now they’re content to watch and hope that their strategy has been successful. Frankly, I’m surprised that GOP leadership has not yet staged a photo-op at the Washington Monument with an unfurled banner reading “Mission Accomplished.”

  3. C. Clavin says:

    Liberal commentators here suggested the same thing months ago…if you are so convinced it’s unworkable…then let it crash on it’s own. Unfortunately Republicans are dumb and tried to repeal it 42 times before coming to the same conclusion.
    Go figure.
    Anyway…good luck with that…Obamacare is working.
    Sure the website is a hot steamy pile of dung.
    But the policy is working fine.
    Would single payer be better…maybe…but it is politically impossible.

  4. jib10 says:

    What is the repubs message on this during the election? “Elect me and ACA will remain a mess”? While the dems will run on the message of “Elect me and I will fix the ACA”?

    At some point repubs will have to have an answer to what to do with ACA. Repeal at least implies action, change, “elect us and we will do something about this mess” (in this case, kill it). If people are pissed off about ACA at election time, they will want it to change, either fix it or kill it but “elect us and nothing changes” is not going to work.

  5. C. Clavin says:

    @C. Clavin:
    And again you see the Republican answer for a replacement for Obamacare…DON’T GET SICK!!!

  6. David M says:

    Is “let it burn” technically be an improvement over their prior behavior of “burn it down”? Seems more like they are still complaining about the fire they set.

  7. Tim S says:

    The conservative alternative to Obamacare. Vastly more disruptive, no requirement for coverage, everyone’s at the whim of Congress, with adverse selection and information asymmetry ramped to maximum. What’s not to love?

  8. EddieInCA says:

    Kentucky.

    The gold standard for ObamaCare is Kentucky.

    Deep Red Ketucky.

    Home of Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell.

    Kentucky.

    Look it up.

    An unqualified, no excuses, smash hit. Enrollment is outpacing estimates. By alot.

    Kentucky.

    So if it can work in Kentucky, it can work anywhere. Assuming the GOP stops sabotaging it.

  9. Gavrilo says:

    I, for one, hope that small businesses cancel their group policies and force their employees onto the exchanges. Everyone knows that employer-based health insurance is a scam that doesn’t really cover you when you get sick. These people deserve to lose their “fraud” insurance policies.

  10. grumpy realist says:

    @EddieInCA: Well, that’s the other thing. Let’s say it works in Kentucky. Then I think people in other Red states, whose governors and party did everything to block the implementation of Obamacare–are going to get pretty pissed and look to elect someone who will fix the local system.

    And no, “we’re going to let you swing in the breeze on your own” is NOT an adequate policy for election.

  11. Gavrilo says:

    @EddieInCA:

    How’s the exchange working in Oregon?

    Have

    you

    looked

    it

    up

    ?

  12. al-Ameda says:

    @Gavrilo:

    I, for one, hope that small businesses cancel their group policies and force their employees onto the exchanges. Everyone knows that employer-based health insurance is a scam that doesn’t really cover you when you get sick. These people deserve to lose their “fraud” insurance policies.

    I too, favor a Single Payer Health Insurance system.

  13. David M says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Oregon’s exchange is having issues, but Obamacare is working fine in Oregon.

  14. Tillman says:

    @Gavrilo: Welcome to the experiment of democracy. This was the whole point of letting the states set up their own exchanges. Then nearly half decided, more due to the politics than the policy, to decline setting up an exchange at all.

    Having their state and local government more accountable would have been great. It would’ve increased turnout in local and state elections, made people more invested in their representatives. However, that’s too big a change in the status quo. Not to mention being able to complain later about the raw deal your state’s citizens got in the federal exchange.

  15. jib10 says:

    @Gavrilo: The point is the problem is the web site, not the policy Where the web site works, the law is very popular, even in deep red states where the opposition to the policy should be highest.

    And eventually the web site will work. Then the debate will be about a popular policy that the repubs want to take away. Kind of like social security. Good luck with that…..

  16. EddieInCA says:

    Oregon?

    You mean this Oregon?

    Yesterday I wrote about Oregon’s big success signing people up for Obamacare: The state had, in the course of 17 days, signed up 56,000 people for the health law’s Medicaid expansion. In one fell swoop, the state had cut its uninsured rate by 10 percent.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/10/18/the-other-side-of-obamacares-oregon-success-no-one-has-bought-private-insurance/

    Obamacare is doing FINE in Oregon. The Oregon website? Not so much.

    And, on a secondary note… What would you like to see done with Health Care in this country. Obamacare is showing how worthless so many “insurance policies” were. Now is your position really going to be “Repeal it. The old system was better!” ? Really?

    And if you don’t think Oregon will catch up to Kentucky at some point, you have never been to Portland.

    What will you do then? Seriously, what will you do when the website is up and running, and people realize they can get better insurance for less?

    What will you base your opposition on?

    Socialistic?
    Kentucky.

    UnAmerican?
    Kentucky.

    Marxist?
    Kentucky.

    To anything negative you can write about Obamacare, I can say “Kentucky”, and demolish your argument with one word.

    Kentucky.

  17. David M says:

    Do the GOP supporters even understand the difference between Obamacare and the exchanges? Or how the exchanges are a common part of standard GOP reforms?

    Problems getting exchanges running doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the policy behind Obamacare.

  18. Pinky says:

    “Let it burn”? As you noted, they can’t defund or delay the law on their own. There are no fixes on the table for them to vote on, yea or nay. Their choice is to either go around saying positive things about the policy, or go around saying negative things about the policy.

  19. David M says:

    @Pinky:

    They could expand Medicaid.

    They could build state-based exchanges.

    They could increase program outreach.

    They could allow insurance regulators to aggressively review rates.

    They could improve the law.

  20. C. Clavin says:

    @Gavrilo:
    Really?
    That’s just stupid talk.

  21. al-Ameda says:

    @Pinky:

    “Let it burn”? As you noted, they can’t defund or delay the law on their own. There are no fixes on the table for them to vote on, yea or nay. Their choice is to either go around saying positive things about the policy, or go around saying negative things about the policy.

    Actually, their choices could include actions to constructively work to implement exchanges and expand Medicaid to take on more uninsured.

    Here in CA (in terms of governance, a very liberal state) following passage of ACA, state officials set about implementing our ACA Exchange. Our officials brought in people with direct knowledge of how exchanges should work – many of them from Romney’s MA administration, people who had great knowledge of the MA Exchange system – and utilized their knowledge to build our CA Exchange. Is it perfect now? No, of course not, however we are up and running and the system will be modified based on experience and we will improve it on an ongoing basis.

    I have friends and associates who have already utilized the exchange to purchase health insurance policies that they would not otherwise have been able to afford. Also, because of ACA we have been able to keep a daughter on our policy while she seeks permanent full-time employment.

  22. Gavrilo says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Simply signing up people for Medicaid does not equal success. If you offer people free health insurance, of course they are going to sign up. The success of Obamacare depends on healthy, younger (lower risk) people signing up and paying higher premiums in order to subsidize older, sicker, poorer people.

    The success of Obamacare also entails that the program lives up to the promises. Insurance premiums have to fall an average of $2500 per family. People have to be able to keep their employer-based insurance, meaning employers must not drop health insurance plans. The deficit must be reduced.

    None of these things are happening. None are likely to happen.

  23. David M says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Insurance premiums have to fall an average of $2500 per family. People have to be able to keep their employer-based insurance, meaning employers must not drop health insurance plans. The deficit must be reduced.

    None of these things are happening. None are likely to happen.

    hahahahaha
    hahahahaha
    hahahahaha
    hahahahaha
    hahahahaha

    Man, the wingnut alternate universe is just ridiculous sometimes. And yes, this is still a more substantive response than your nonsense deserved.

  24. Pinky says:

    @al-Ameda: This article seems to be exclusively about House and Senate Republicans.

  25. EddieInCA says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Gavrilo says:
    Friday, November 22, 2013 at 15:54

    @EddieInCA:

    Simply signing up people for Medicaid does not equal success. If you offer people free health insurance, of course they are going to sign up. The success of Obamacare depends on healthy, younger (lower risk) people signing up and paying higher premiums in order to subsidize older, sicker, poorer people.

    The success of Obamacare also entails that the program lives up to the promises. Insurance premiums have to fall an average of $2500 per family. People have to be able to keep their employer-based insurance, meaning employers must not drop health insurance plans. The deficit must be reduced.

    None of these things are happening. None are likely to happen.

    Kentucky

  26. Gavrilo says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Congratulations to Kentucky! They, unlike the Federal government and most other states, were able to develop a functional website. However, more than 80% of the enrollments in Kentucky are in Medicaid. You cannot call that a success. Kentucky needs to enroll people who will actually pay premiums.

  27. David M says:

    @Gavrilo:

    You may not think that’s a success, but that’s hardly a consensus opinion. The mix of paid enrollees probably matters more than the absolute number. Anyway, wouldn’t a poorer state like Kentucky expect to see more Medicaid signups? Medicaid signups are expected to be much quicker than paid enrollees, so this complaint is completely meaningless right now.

  28. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    The original GOP motivation was compassion. They sincerely believed that Obamacare was going to be a huge disaster for many Americans, and wanted to protect Americans from that disaster.

    They failed, and were burned hard for their attempts.

    So now, the approach is more cynical. Enough people want this crap sandwich? Fine, let them have it. In fact, let’s ram it down their throats.

    Ever since the bill was introduced, a lot of people pointed out a lot of the flaws. Those flaws are now materializing, and those are hurting people.

    The position is now a bit more cynical, a bit juvenile, a bit spiteful. But it’s one I can understand and even support. Obamacare, despite our best efforts, is THE LAW OF THE LAND and will be enforced exactly as written and passed entirely by Democratic votes, without a single Republican vote. And that means that fixes, patches, or work-arounds for those problems predicted years ago get stopped. No more delays, changes, amendments, evasions, or whatever — because it’s THE LAW OF THE LAND and must not be altered.

    That, however, doesn’t prevent Obama from just unilaterally taking upon himself the power to make changes by fiat, by decree, simply re-writing the laws on his own, like he already did with the employer mandate. He’s a law unto himself, and has enough co-conspirators in Congress to give him cover.

    You wanted Obamacare. You pushed hard for it, and you won. You blew off all protests and objections and notes about its flaws. So now it’s THE LAW OF THE LAND, and live with it.

    You made this turd sandwich, and insisted that all of us eat it. You get to eat it, too. In fact, as the chefs, you get the first taste, and the biggest portions.

  29. john personna says:
  30. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You know, none of that bothers me in the least. I get, totally, that you are trying to crow while you can … but it’s only while you can.

    At the end of the day, America will have to fix its healthcare system (see above), and the Republicans have no path forward on that.

    Note that the “1 Remarkable Chart” isn’t new enough to have any Obamacare effects. It is totally the system Republicans want to go back to.

  31. rudderpedals says:

    @Gavrilo:

    You’re talking insurance and avoiding the intended beneficial health outcomes.

    What’s the moral basis for arguing against health care for the few who are medicaid-qualified needy?

    WRT the individual market the intergenerational transfer is oversold – community ratings are segregated by age ranges. Intragenerational transfer is to be expected. Sort of the point.
    of social insurance is. And until you can remove chance from disease processes social insurance is the only way to rationally spread the costs amongst all of we beneficiaries.

  32. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @john personna: We had a system that worked for most people.

    In the name of fixing it for those people, Obamacare wrecked it for even more people. And it isn’t even that good at fixing it for those who were on the outs in the old system.

    So the end effect of Obamacare will be to wreck the health system for a lot of people, and maybe help some. At that point, do you really believe that we should trust the fix to the people who turned the somewhat-flawed but still largely workign old system and turned it into a smoking crater?

    On the one hand, I can see the appeal of “the people who totally effed it up probably know how to un-eff it,” but considering how many people approvingly said before, during, and after the debate that Obamacare was a Trojan horse to wreck the old system and then fail itself, leaving no other alternative than single payer, I don’t see a great well of trust in those people.

  33. john personna says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Before Obamacare the US had about 18% uninsured adults. Some of those where healthy risk-takers, and some were ill and denied coverage. It certainly spreads costs to get more of those healthy risk-takers on-board. But we are talking about a minority here to start with.

    No, as that “1 chart” shows, our problems are in total system costs, and Obamacare is only an incremental change in that regard.

  34. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The GOP made the choice not to participate when health care reform was being passed in Congress. Since then they’ve made the choice that they will not fix any routine problems with the health care law, but loudly complain about said problems they will not fix.

    They have nothing besides opposing a health care plan simply because the other political party supported it. Not surprisingly, they have plenty of fools willing to lie for the greater good. I’m specifically referring to you and Gavrilo, but you’re by no means the only useful idiots out there.

  35. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    We had a system that worked for most people.

    Did you even read the article?

    We spend more than four times as much as the Czech Republic does per persona, and live about just as long.

    If you think that is “working fine” you can hang it up now.

  36. jukeboxgrad says:

    The GOP made the choice not to participate when health care reform was being passed in Congress.

    Nevertheless many of their requests were incorporated. Link:

    Senate Dems adopted [in Obamacare] 161 amendments and key GOP planks

    Also: pdf.

  37. David M says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    My mistake, I should have said they made the choice to stop participating in the process and oppose it as a group, rather than work towards a bipartisan solution.

  38. jukeboxgrad says:

    Fair enough. I just wanted to clarify the point since claiming the GOP was not consulted re Obamacare is an extremely common right-wing lie.

  39. jukeboxgrad says:

    C. Clavin:

    And again you see the Republican answer for a replacement for Obamacare…DON’T GET SICK!!!

    The GOP cannot present a GOP alternative to Obamacare because Obamacare itself is the GOP alternative.

    In 2007 DeMint described Romneycare as “something that I think we should do for the whole country.”

  40. al-Ameda says:

    @Pinky:

    @al-Ameda: This article seems to be exclusively about House and Senate Republicans.

    Yes, and so it is definitely related to efforts to support (or to not support) the implementation of ACA. Republicans have moved to discontinue or deconstruct ACA, what – 42 times? – since its passage in 2009? It seems to me that Republicans “let it burn” strategy is petulant at best, and irresponsible in fact.

  41. Tillman says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    We had a system that worked for most people.

    That same system would have slowly consumed U.S. GDP over the next two decades if left unchecked, and reform of the system was only going to get harder as time went on.

  42. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @jukeboxgrad: If Obamacare is so awesome, and the GOP says they want nothing to do with it, why do you (and so many others) keep trying to give them “credit” for it?

    I have an idea: let’s re-introduce legislation requiring racial segregation. After all, that was a key element of Democratic policies for most of a century, and some of its biggest proponents are still honored by today’s Democrats — Woodrow Wilson, Hale Boggs, Robert Byrd, William Fulbright, Russell Long, John Stennis, and so on. So the Democrats should be all over the idea, right?

  43. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Tillman: And Obamacare is going to make things better?

  44. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    We had a system that worked for most people.

    Well yes – if you consider that: (1) we spend 40%-50% more per capita on health insurance and health care than the next most country, (2) we end up with lower health outcomes for many health indicators, and (3) we still end up with over 15% of the people uninsured (which the rest of us pay for through our insurance premium rates) – if that is success, then the bar is low.

    Also, since ACA passed health insurance and care costs – for private insurance and Medicare and Medicaid – have increased at their lowest annual rates since those statistic have been kept.
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/11/20/health-care-spending-growth/3650243/

  45. Tillman says:

    @Pinky:

    There are no fixes on the table for them to vote on, yea or nay.

    The Republican party controls the House of Representatives. It is (and has been since January 2011) perfectly within their power to present legislative fixes to the ACA. They could have marketed these fixes, kept the basic (mostly erroneous) message that the healthcare reform was forced down American throats, and come out like statesmen. They decided otherwise.

  46. jukeboxgrad says:

    If Obamacare is so awesome

    It’s not “awesome.” It’s only better than what we had before.

    The main reason it’s not more “awesome” is that the Dems made the mistake of thinking that adopting a Republican idea would be a good way to get Republican support. Fool me once etc.

  47. Tillman says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: You force people who wouldn’t normally buy insurance to get it, subsidize the poor who can’t normally afford it, and in theory it does. The pool of insured gets wider and lowers costs per individual plan. You increase the bargaining power of insurers over the prices of drugs and medical device usage, lowering those costs as well.

    You act like you don’t know how insurance works.

  48. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    If Obamacare is so awesome, and the GOP says they want nothing to do with it, why do you (and so many others) keep trying to give them “credit” for it?

    Mainly to point out that the common “not bipartisan” complaint reflects badly on the GOP rather than the Democrats. Also, to remind people that it’s a moderate, incremental reform and the hysterical GOP whining isn’t meant to be taken seriously.

  49. anjin-san says:

    @ Gravillo

    However, more than 80% of the enrollments in Kentucky are in Medicaid.

    Well, blue states are already use to subsidizing red states, so it’s ok.

  50. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The original GOP motivation was compassion. They sincerely believed that Obamacare was going to be a huge disaster for many Americans, and wanted to protect Americans from that disaster.

    Compassion? They wanted it to fail from the beginning, and in fact obstructed and interfered with implementation of the Act at all turns.

    I believe that they were, and are now, sincere in their efforts to obstruct this president, even to the point of shutting government down, causing a downgrade in the rating of American debt securities, and leveraging their desire to obstruct into a possible default. They are not compassionate, they are passionate – there is a difference.

  51. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    You folks keep trying to persuade, when there’s nothing left to persuade over. Obamacare is THE LAW OF THE LAND. At this point, the arguments aren’t about persuasion, but rationalization.

    Congratulations, you won. And what have you achieved so far?

    1) Most of a billion dollars and three-plus years to build a web site that not only doesn’t work, but is woefully insecure.

    2) Millions of insurance policies canceled on people who were content with those plans.

    3) A “medical devices” tax that will likely cripple a vital industry and delay (at best) future developments.

    All this will be enforced by the IRS, which has already been exposed as a willing tool for punishing political opponents and managed by “navigators” already exposed as encouraging applicants to lie and who undergo no background checks.

    But it’ll all get better, promise the same people who got it passed by lie after lie after lie.

    How the hell could it go wrong?

  52. anjin-san says:

    We had a system that worked for most people.

    Hmm. I’m a college educated 10%,er, and the system has often been a pain in the ass for me. The standard of care here is excellent (if you have decent insurance) but insurance companies have tried (sometimes successfully) to rip me off so many times I have lost track.

    I am pretty well equipped to fight back, but why the f**ck should I have to? I pay my premiums in good faith every month. Just give me what I pay for. I have everything going for me, and it’s a lot of work to make sure I am getting the value I pay for. I hate to think of the BS that people who are less able to look out for themselves put up with.

  53. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Most of a billion dollars

    That is a right wing myth from someone that doesn’t understand federal procurement contracts.

    three-plus years to build a web site

    States had until last December to make a decision on building their own state based exchange.

    that not only doesn’t work

    How are people are signing up every day if it doesn’t work?

    Millions of insurance policies canceled on people who were content with those plans

    Yes, the insurance industry needed regulation, your point being what?

    A “medical devices” tax that will likely cripple a vital industry and delay (at best) future developments.

    Not a consensus opinion.

  54. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Shorter Jenos: “We fight any change, and since Obamacare is the new status quo, we fight any improvement to it.”

    Why? American exceptionalism, we’re the best.

    We spend four times as much as Czech Republic and achieve the same life expectancy as people born under the boots of the Soviet Union, but we’re the best. Honest.

  55. Tillman says:

    Someone bookmark this comment. I want to revisit it in a couple of years from the postapocalyptic hellscape that the medical insurance market will be due to Obamacare. It’ll be the only glimmer of hope when the death panels come to get me.

  56. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Some people can’t take yes for an answer.

    I’ll repeat myself: you won. So there’s no more persuading. Now you’re just rationalizing.

    And you won, so enjoy your victory in a constantly-crashing web site, scam-artist navigators, and Obama’s private Brute Squad as enforcers. Just sit back and gloat. Just emulate Obama when he was discussing things with Republicans: “I won.”

    You’ve fed the nation your crap sandwich. Do you so desperately need to hear everyone say “yum?”

  57. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    As I say, you have no interest in a better, cheaper, US healthcare system.

    You just want to dance in the comments section, while you can.

  58. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Tillman: Someone bookmark this comment. I want to revisit it in a couple of years from the postapocalyptic hellscape that the medical insurance market will be due to Obamacare. It’ll be the only glimmer of hope when the death panels come to get me.

    Lots of people pointed out at the time what a bad idea the medical device tax was when it was passed, and were blown off. Now it’s suddenly self-evident that it needs fixing. Well, screw that. It’s THE LAW OF THE LAND and an essential part of Obamacare, so just leave it as it is — passed by Democrats and Democrats alone.

  59. David M says:

    Seems relevant:

    The myth of the medical device tax

    And why should anyone believe this different from all the other nonsense the GOP has pushed?

  60. thomm says:

    Hey guys, be nice to jenos…he is just following orders. As you can see by his new, “you won” rhetoric, he is following the let it burn strategy and isn’t about to respond substantively at all about any possible improvements he’d like to see.

  61. Tillman says:

    …did I say anything about the medical device tax?

  62. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I’ll repeat myself: you won. So there’s no more persuading.

    So you want to be able to regurgitate the standard GOP nonsense without any pushback? That seems like a very generous offer, but I see no reason to accept it.

  63. anjin-san says:

    @ john personna

    You just want to dance in the comments section, while you can.

    I don’t think he’s getting invited to any other dances 🙂

  64. anjin-san says:

    You’ve fed the nation your crap sandwich.

    You mean people with pre-existing conditions are not doomed to go without health coverage now?

    The horror. The horror.

    a constantly-crashing web site

    I called Covered CA recently. They were quite helpful. I don’t know what you do for a living, but around here, if one thing does not work, we try something else and get the job done. If a website is buggy, I pick up the phone.

    The website will get straightened out, and you will have one less thing to cry about. Think of it as something to look forward to. Unless you just enjoy crying.

  65. anjin-san says:

    45,000 Americans die every single year because they cannot afford treatment, are you ready for that? That is 15 times the amount of people that died during the September 11, 2001, attacks, or perhaps for you Righty’s out there you would rather see it put this way, 11,250 times the amount of people that died in the Benghazi attack. That equals 5 Americans that die every hour, of every day, of every year because of a preventable illness that was not taken care of due to lack of access and means.

    http://www.occupydemocrats.com/vermont-makes-promise-people-video/

    The woman who manages the boarding house my kid lives is probably going to die of cancer due to poor access to the system. By the time she found out she was sick, it had already spread. She really helped us when he first went to live there, he had been in an institution for a few years and the transition was difficult. She smoothed over the rough spots and he still has a decent place to live thanks to her help.

    But, she is poor. And to a lot of people in America, that means her life is worth nothing.

  66. Barry says:

    @EddieInCA: I think that the real GOP strategy, which they’ve been doing, is to have the state governments f*ck it up as much as possible.

  67. Barry says:

    @Gavrilo: Why don’t you tell us?

  68. Tony W says:

    The GOP is absolutely not driven by compassion – their anti-healthcare motivation is based primarily on maintaining the power position employers have over employees. I firmly believe that fear of wage inflation and competition from ones own employees are the bogeyman Republicans truly fear.

  69. James in Silverdale, WA says:

    Sitting back and hoping for the failures of one’s fellow citizens is not a policy position, and is the primary reason the GOP continues to fail.

  70. An Interested Party says:

    The original GOP motivation was compassion.

    What a steaming crock of horse$hit…very little, if anything that the GOP does is motivated by compassion…anything the GOP does regarding ACA is simply meant to hurt the president…quite the opposite of compassion…

    I have an idea: let’s re-introduce legislation requiring racial segregation.

    I’m sure many Southern Republicans would be all for that, especially considering their lily-white gerrymandered districts…

  71. anjin-san says:

    We had a system that worked for most people.

    I have to go back to this one.

    Now we have a system that works for even more people. What’s the problem?

    Unless you are a God-fearing Christian Conservative with a message to share. A message like “Hey poor people, kindly f**K off and die. You are poor, and no one cares what happens to you. I certainly don’t.”

  72. bill says:

    @C. Clavin: you must be a descendant of the guy who played violin on the titanic- aca is crap and the website is even worse. it’s a huge embarrassment for the country to be floundering in this disaster when we saw it coming years ago. but in here it’s “all’s well-full speed ahead”.

    @john personna: more bad news, aca relies on these kids to pick up the slack.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2013/11/05/243192110/tuesday-political-mix-young-invincibles-skip-obamacare-for-now

  73. al-Ameda says:

    @bill:

    @john personna: more bad news, aca relies on these kids to pick up the slack.

    More bad news, you don’t know how insurance pools work.

    Pools have always worked that way – younger more health people alway ‘pick up the slack’ for those who are not as healthy and who have regular visits to the clinic or doctor. Many employer health plans have one-size-fits-all health insurance plans – that is, if you are single, no mater what the age there is a rate, and so on for employee+spouse, or family.

    At my firm we had such a plan and costs were going up at an annual rate of over 15% for 3 years and we had to do something because of costs – we priced out a change from pricing based on the type of coverage (person, spouse,family), to one based on age. We found that a heathy 25 years old would pay about $250/mo and the rate for a healthy 45 year old was about $400/mo. In a traditional group coverage plan the young always subsidize older employees.

  74. anjin-san says:

    @ al-Ameda

    No fair bringing actual business experience to the table. bill is still trying to figure out his Fox News Junior Capitalist Secret Decoder Ring.

  75. anjin-san says:

    Boehner Fails to Fail on Obamacare

    Late last week Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) made a big show of trying but failing to sign up for Obamacare because of the notoriously buggy website. (Actually he appears to have been using the DC exchange site.) He even did a special tweet noting his hopeless situation. Not terribly surprising given the frustrating experiences so many have had.

    Actually, it turns out he had successfully enrolled and got a call confirming that about an hour after his tweet. But it gets better.

    According to Scott MacFarlane, a reporter for the local NBC affiliate in Washington, reports that a DC Health Care exchange representative actually tried to contact Boehner by phone during the enrollment process but was put on hold for 35 minutes, after which time the representative finally hung up.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/boehner-fails-to-fail-on-obamacare

  76. al-Ameda says:

    @anjin-san:

    He even did a special tweet noting his hopeless situation. Not terribly surprising given the frustrating experiences so many have had.

    Actually, it turns out he had successfully enrolled and got a call confirmi

    What a sleazy greaseball he is. He may well be assessed by historians as the least effective Speaker of the House in the post WW2 period.

    I guess we should not be surprised that he really really is a hack, after all, back in the 1990’s Boehner was seen passing out Tobacco Lobby checks to his colleagues on the floor of the House.