Republicans will clobber Obamacare — until they hug it


The incomparable Ezra Klein offers a FASCINATING THEORY:

Republicans have done everything possible to keep Obamacare from getting up and running smoothly. They’ve refused to sign off on any budget that includes the necessary money for implementation. At a hearing last week where Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana warned of a “train wreck” if the rollout wasn’t effectively managed, Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, the ranking Republican on the committee, attacked Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for implementing the law with existing funds.

“A quick review of the HHS budget in brief seems to suggest that you are diverting funds from other areas of the department to put toward implementation,” Hatch said. “Would you describe the authority under which you believe you have the ability to conduct such transfers and whether or not you believe the Congress should be notified when these transfers occur?”

Consider the implicit argument there. The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, and the Obama administration is legally bound to implement it. Having denied the necessary funding to do so, Republicans now want to hinder the administration’s ability to transfer other funding, to ensure that Obamacare becomes the disaster Republicans have promised.

The more horrendous the rollout, the more effectively Republicans can run against Obamacare in 2014. That might work: I wouldn’t be surprised to see Obamacare end up as a net negative for Democrats in the 2014 election — much as Medicare Part D was for Republicans in 2006. But by the 2016 presidential election, it’s likely to be a law that Democrats brag about and Republicans scamper to get behind. And the final act of this depressing little political play will be Republicans embracing this policy that they did everything to destroy, and trying to build on it.

Don’t believe it? Some Republicans are already arguing that Ryan’s Medicare premium support plan simply brings Obamacare to Medicare. “The great irony of Obama’s triumph, however, is that it can pave the way for Republicans to adopt a comprehensive, market-oriented healthcare agenda,” wrote Avik Roy and Douglas Holtz-Eakin, two influential Republican policy advisers. They argue that “both Representative Paul Ryan’s ‘premium support’ proposal for Medicare and Obamacare’s exchanges are modeled on the Swiss system,” and that Republicans should push to have Medicare beneficiaries “gradually migrate into the exchanges’ premium-support systems.”

See? Republicans can go from arguing that Obamacare should be repealed to arguing that it needs to be expanded in a flash. But not until they’ve squeezed every political benefit from making its implementation disastrous.



  1. Neftali

    When Democrats decide they want to participate in ObamaCare, then they can talk. Until then, shut ‘yer yapper.


    “Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in high-level, confidential talks about exempting lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides from the insurance exchanges they are mandated to join as part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, sources in both parties said.”

  2. Neftali, I particularly find these other portions of that article very disturbing. The cost impact on us peaons doesn’t matter apparently.. these whores don’t give a damn about us pee on’s (sp). Shameless, absolutely shameless.

    “By removing themselves from a key Obamacare component, lawmakers and aides would be held to a different standard than the people who put them in office.”

    “The problem stems from whether members and aides set to enter the exchanges would have their health insurance premiums subsidized by their employer — in this case, the federal government. If not, aides and lawmakers in both parties fear that staffers — especially low-paid junior aides — could be hit with thousands of dollars in new health care costs, prompting them to seek jobs elsewhere.”

    “Plus, lawmakers — especially those with long careers in public service and smaller bank accounts — are also concerned about the hit to their own wallets.”

  3. ” But by the 2016 presidential election, it’s likely to be a law that Democrats brag about and Republicans scamper to get behind. And the final act of this depressing little political play will be Republicans embracing this policy that they did everything to destroy, and trying to build on it.”

    Klein tries to make this inevitable outcome sound like an evil or cynical play by the Republicans. It is no such thing. It is merely going to be consequence of such sweeping and ultimately damaging reform.

    Many (including me) have predicted that the sum total of the impact of the ACA will be negative and leave us in a situation with the vast majority of the population on a government run or sponsored health plan. Many will not like the new coverage that they have. Many will find the coverage more expensive than what they currently have.

    Health care will soon become (likely by 2016) the seminal issue for debate in any national election. The reform will have gone, and has likely already gone, so far as to be cemented in place. Therefore all politicians will be forced to “embrace it” so that they can try to manage it.

  4. kevind1986

    Neftali – ain’t that the highlarious part, though? Libs with blinders – like PC – believe it’s gotta be great because Dem leadership and the mighty O say so. But then the Dem leaders want to excuse themselves from the requirements and the effects. But it will be great for all of us little people. I know it will, cuz they said so.

  5. I stopped calling my elected reps with my opinions on matters like this and others.

    It was very apparent the snots answering the phones were more interested in those calls from lobbyist potential employers in the political industry, who might see them as an asset to their office staff, than taking calls from the constituents of their boss.

    That’s how corrupt our system has become with big money. Doesn’t matter if its a R or D. All the person taking calls wants to hear is some opinion they can either mark yes/no or for or against, in their little tally sheets.

  6. I think it will save us money in the long run. What is this Representative talking about?
    What is cost containment and why would a politician mention it? Well who cares we were promised affordable care and everyone will be insured, so what is the fuss?

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