Desperate Times, Stupid Measures, and Obamacare

Health Care, Obama Administration

Republicans in Washington are determined to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. This week already, Sen. Mike Allen (R-Utah) proposed a government shutdown if Obamacare isn’t repealed. Steve Benen lists several other ways Republicans are determined to either stop the law or make sure it doesn’t work.

Ed Kilgore:

It’s taken a few years, but the GOP has managed to talk itself into a very firm belief that this national version of Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health plan is a satanic abomination that will either, depending on which talking point they are following at any particular moment, crash and burn taking the entire U.S. economy down with it, or succeed in seducing Americans to sell themselves into the voluntary slavery of “socialized medicine.”

If they really believed it will crash and burn, I don’t think they’d be quite so frantic to stop it. If it crashes and burns, this would give the GOP a great issue for the 2014 midterms. If they really believed it will crash and burn, I think they would just step aside and let it. But if they can sabotage it …

Paul Krugman wrote a few days ago that Obamacare is the Right’s worst nightmare

Yglesias is right: there will be bobbles along the way, but this is going to become an immensely popular program. By the time Liz Cheney challenges Hillary Clinton’s reelection campaign, there will be signs at the rallies declaring “Don’t let the government get its hands on Obamacare!”

Conservatives are right to be hysterical about this: it’s an attack on everything they believe — and it’s going to make Americans’ lives better. What could be worse?

Byron York probably speaks for many righties when he says that once Obamacare is in effect, it will be too late to repeal it entirely. That’s because people will like it. He says,

When Washington conservatives gather to talk among themselves, and the discussion turns to Obamacare — it happens pretty frequently — it’s not unusual to hear predictions that the president’s health care law will “collapse of its own weight.” It’s a “train wreck,” many say, quoting Democratic Sen. Max Baucus. It’s unworkable. It’s going to be a big, smoking ruin.

So what’s the problem?

On the other hand, a lot of thoughtful conservatives are looking beyond Oct. 1 to Jan. 1, the day the law (except for the parts the president has unilaterally postponed) is scheduled to go fully into effect. On that day the government will begin subsidizing health insurance for millions of Americans. (A family of four with income as high as $88,000 will be eligible for subsidies.) When people begin receiving that entitlement, the dynamics of the Obamacare debate will change.

At that point, the Republican mantra of total repeal will become obsolete. The administration will mount a huge public relations campaign to highlight individuals who have received government assistance to help them afford, say, chemotherapy, or dialysis, or some other life-saving treatment. Will Republicans advocate cutting off the funds that help pay for such care?

The answer is no. Facing that reality, the GOP is likely to change its approach, arguing that those people should be helped while the rest of Obamacare is somehow dismantled.

What the GOP continues to ignore is that the rest of it can’t be dismantled without dismantling all of it. The program is about a lot more than subsidies. The many moving parts work together to make it possible for more people to get insurance. Even many who don’t get subsidies will be paying lower premiums.

So, yeah, it’s starting to sink in to some of them that they’d better kill Obamacare now, or they’re going to find themselves in a far more unfavorable political landscape.

See also Jonathan Cohn, Conservatives Brace for the Possibility Obamacare Won’t Totally Suck and Charles Pierce, Mike Lee’s Latest Great Plan.

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  1. Doug  •  Jul 23, 2013 @11:22 pm

    The great line by Mark Twain, that “reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated” applies here. The pundits who are writing the obituary for Obamacare in the hope it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy are ignoring the effect it will have on their credibility with moderates if Obamacare does what it was designed to do.

  2. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 24, 2013 @7:39 am

    A small quibble, maha: you mean Senator Mike Lee, not Mike Allen – the PoliticoClown with the frantic alien eyes.

    And yeah, Republicans are freaking out. And not because PPACA won’t work, but that it will.

    And they’re going to use the looming, formerly routine, debt ceiling situation, and try to use it to get President Obama and the Democrats, to defund PPACA – which there is ZERO chance of happening.
    What would the President say? “My fellow Americans, you know that law that we worked so hard to pass, and after 100 years of various parties trying, finally got passed? A national health care policy? Yeah, well, ‘NEEEEEEEEver mind…’ Forget it. Maybe someone will try again in another 100.”

    And I think the Republicans will again hurt the country in their efforts to accomplish what will not happen in the stand-off, this time by shutting the government down, and further damage the full faith and credibility of this nation.
    The Republicans no longer have this countries well being at heart. They “heart” their party more than their country.
    They have already done something no other party in our history has done – at least as far as I know – and tried to undermine the implementation of a duly passed law. As a party, the Republicans took it upon themselves to try to stop sports leagues from running PSA’s about PPACA, to better inform the people.
    And you know why they’re doing that?
    Because Obamacare is virtually the same as “Mittcare,” the state-wide MA health care program, and Romney used MA sports teams like the Red Sox, and the Bruins, to help inform the public, in PSA’s, about MA’s new law.

    PPACA, is not a “bill,” as they keep referring it to as – Mitch McConnell even got called out on that a few weeks ago, by David Gregory on “Meet the Press.”
    Arguably, the most obtuse of the obtuse and sheltered DC Village elite.
    Can you imagine if the Democrats had tried to do the same thing with W’s UNFUNDED Medicare expansion, back then?
    Can you imagine the outcry?

    Someone needs to explain to me, how one of the two political parties in the US is allowed to try to stop the implementation of a duly passed law, just because they don’t like it? And because its success will impact negatively on that party.
    This doesn’t quite meet the criteria for being treasonous. But I believe it can be called, “traitorous.”

    If the Republicans DO shut the government down for a while, and DO negatively impact the full faith and credit of this country, they may cause not just another national, but major world-wide, recession, or worse, – and they should face a terrible backlash. Hell, just threatening to do so, should be enough for there to be some serious ramifications.

    To get their way, like some sociopathic child, they’re holding a blowtorch to the house, demanding that it gets what it wants, or the house will be burned down.

    Today’s Republican Party:
    Party over country!
    PARTY UBER ALLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    They’d ‘rather rule in Hell, than serve in Heaven.’
    And if their actions destroy the country, as long as one of them is the last one standing on the smoking mountain of rubble, they can plant their parties elephant flag, and declare “VICTORY!”

  3. Tom_B  •  Jul 24, 2013 @4:55 pm

    “This week already, Sen. Mike Allen (R-Utah) proposed a government shutdown if Obamacare isn’t repealed.” Excuse me, I thought the gov’t has already been in shutdown, since about the disastrous 2010 elections.