The perils of the GOP Obamacare strategy

by | Feb 2, 2014 | 2014 Elections, Editor's Blog, Health Care, Obamacare | 8 comments

Earlier this week, U.S. Senator Richard Burr and a couple of his fellow Senators rolled out a new plan to replace Obamacare. They claimed it would take the best of health care reform while scrapping all the bad parts. Now, just a few days later, the Senator and his colleagues are quietly backtracking after realizing it would be a major tax increase on most Americans.

The episode shows the problem with the GOP’s strategy of keeping Obamacare the central issue in the mid-term elections. They don’t really have an alternative. And anything they come up with is going to have serious flaws, because–Guess what?–health care reform is hard.

Any plan they are going to come up with has winners and losers. If they are going to keep the ban on pre-existing conditions and other parts of Obamacare that people want, then they are going to alienate insurance companies or doctors or some other group they need. If they scrap those provisions, they are going to alienate the rest of the country.

If they are going to keep Obamacare as their main target, their choices of how to handle it are limited. They can continue to call for repeal with no real alternative, but most polls show that’s not what Americans want. They can offer alternatives, like Burr did, but as I said, most of these plans will have elements that anger somebody. Or they can just continue to point out the flaws in Obamacare and not offer any alternative or fixes and hope that the voters are so frustrated with the program that they don’t ask for any.

The Republicans may have overplayed their hand on Obamacare. They’ve been warning Americans about its disastrous consequences for going on three years but now that the law is going into effect people aren’t seeing them. A Kaiser poll last week showed that while the law is still unpopular, 60% of the people say they haven’t been affected. If these numbers hold, there’s likely to be a collective shrug about the law, and the GOP may lose credibility for crying wolf.


  1. Good Rubbish

    You know, if someone wants to blame his unemployment on Obama shutting down the federal government, there’s no amount of facts that will dissuade him. Sorry you’re out of work, geek, and if believing in myths makes it more tolerable, go for it.

  2. Good Rubbish

    Well, I’ll bite. What happened to you? Were you a medicare advantage salesman or something?

    • geek49203 aka Bad Rubbish

      No, I am an IT guy whose projects dried up with the gov’t shutdown. I went from 2-3 calls PER DAY from recruiters for my talents to 2-3 PER MONTH by November. And they specifically cited the shutdown. Which of course was caused by Obamacare, not to mention a calculation by both parties that they’d benefit from a shutdown over it.

      It wasn’t just me — look at the major IT players in the area who have laid off massive numbers, and are gonna lay off more, due to cancelled IT projects. When 1/3 of our economy goes thru DC, it’s not hard to have lots of lingering effects of instability (aka “stupidity”) in the money flow.

      You saw Lanny Davis’ advice for Nan Pelosi?

      • Thomas Mills

        The GOP shutdown the government, not Obamacare and not the Democrats. Period.

        • geek49203 aka Bad Rubbish

          I will assume that I need to restate, since your reading comprehension test scores indicate at least a normal level?

          First, the effort was to defund Obamacare. When that didn’t work, the offer was to delay the Individual Mandate for a year — which on further review was a great idea — but it was turned down. That both the TEA people and the Dems said it was over ACA is kinda important here — betting guys like you used words like “settled law” during the thing.

          That the Dems were gloating is also obvious. In their world, the Dems won significant gains when “Newt shut down the government” and so they were eager to do it again. And yeah, for about 30 days, it looked like a great idea. HOWEVER, it was common knowledge (at least in the “Senate Coat Rooms” of DC) that Obamacare wasn’t ready to roll out. Or at least it should’ve been — I mean, Dems do keep track of ACA, right? Anyway, that the Dems turned down a deal that would’ve avoided the largest Dem electoral catastrophe since the Civil War is telling — they wanted a shutdown. And they wanted ACA.

          Or is that too complicated to follow?

          • Thomas Mills

            Geek, the shutdown was a Tea Party idea. No Democrats and most of the Senate Republicans opposed it, including Richard Burr, who called it “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.” Even a bunch of House Republicans, wanted to avoid a shutdown, but they didn’t have the numbers to vote down the Tea Party members of their caucus. For some reason, the Tea Partiers thought the shutdown was smart strategy. It wasn’t and you lost your job because of it. I’m sorry that happened but put the blame where it belongs.

          • geek49203 aka Bad Rubbish

            Thom —

            I doubt you care about me. Have I missed a post, where you call for the kinds of fixes that 1) would cover a guy like me, and 2) prevent the economic chaos that we’re seeing today translated into massive layoffs in the IT sector (IBM, HP, Cisco, Xerox locally)?

            I talked to a recruiter today. Worst he’s seen it in 8 years, but on the other hand companies are now looking to contract agencies for all their IT staffing. Care to guess why that is? This law has thrown the job market into an uproar,

  3. geek49203 aka Bad Rubbish

    Given the botching of the thing so far, I’m inclined to ignore anything any Dem has to say on the subject of health care. ‘Cause I am unemployed AND uninsured due to ACA, and quite frankly, the way that ACA treats unemployed people is just STOOOOOPID. As it, “Did anyone even think of a way to fix the largest reason people are uninsured” stupid.

    Given this author’s previous work, I’m inclined to heap derision on him. When ACA was being debated, I called up my Dem Rep and Dem Senators EVERY STINKING DAY. I pleaded… BEGGED… for them to think about things, ’cause I do have some background in the subject. I saw this coming. I saw it BIGTIME. What happened? Reasoned debate? HELL NO. I was told I was just being partisan. I was stupid. And when my pastor preached a pro-ACA sermon as part of a coordinated effort, I learned I was evil.

    So, Wear it dude. I’ve got plenty of time on my hands now to tell EVERYONE what happened to me, and millions like me. And I will. And I will NEVER forget how Dems were so arrogant back in 2008-2010 (and in reality, still are). I am owed an APOLOGY and all I get is more arrogance from the true believers.

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