Republicans now have a solid formula for winning midterm elections. Hide your base yet keep them motivated by blindly attacking Obama and Obamacare for everything that’s wrong in the world.
When John Kasich — a Republican governor who had fought for Medicaid expansion by invoking Reagan — pointed out the reality that Obamacare is improving lives, he was forced to immediately repent.
The AP got it wrong. Ohio said NO to the Obamacare exchange for a reason. As always, my position is that we need to repeal and replace.
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) October 20, 2014
Republican states didn’t build exchanges for the Affordable Care Act for a simple reason. They hate states rights!
Nah, they were just willing to ignore their supposed belief in federalism because a right-wing conspiracy saw a loophole in the law that could help deny middle class taxpayers credits that would help them afford health insurance if they didn’t.
So Kasich and Chris Christie joined in a effort to cost their constituents insurance that could save their lives. The conspiracy claims this will help people avoid the mandate penalty — but that isn’t even true. This is a plan to undo a law that’s working, well.
The law could be working better, of course.
Bloomberg‘s Jonathan Bernstein points out how legislation is generally smoothed over as it’s rolled out. But the GOP — arguing that a law based on Republican proposals didn’t have any Republican support — has abdicated any responsibility to make the law work.
In order to deliberately make the law work poorly, regardless of the effects on real Americans (5/ ) — Jonathan Bernstein (@jbview) November 7, 2014
So 4 million Americans are being denied Medicaid expansion their states are paying for anyway. Mississippi obstructed the law so completely that the state’s uninsured population grew as the nation’s dropped by 26 percent. And now the Supreme Court could abet the right’s plan to gut the law completely by ruling that anyone who buys insurance through the federal exchange cannot get credits to help them afford insurance.
The Kaiser Family Foundation’s Larry Levitt told the Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent, “There would be tremendous pressure from the insurance industry, and the health care industry generally, to fix this.”
There was and is tremendous pressure on 23 Republican-led states that haven’t expanded Medicaid. But they’ve mostly managed that pressure just fine. There has also been tremendous pressure on the GOP to come up with an Obamacare Alternative. But that hasn’t even come close to happening either.
Republicans say over and over they want “patient-centered reforms” but the only “reforms” they can point to are malpractice reforms, which would have almost no effect on health care costs, and a national health care marketplace, another policy that reveals their true anti-federalism when it would allow insurers to sell the crappiest, least regulated policies possible.
The real GOP plans to replace Obamacare would likely include tax increases for millions of Americans, millions more losing coverage and/or a gutting of Medicare that could cost the GOP the senior vote.
If our activist Supreme Court/Death Panel decides to ratify a massive tax increase on the middle class by June, some Republican leaders will move to set up their own exchanges — including, hopefully, our Governor Snyder.
But far more won’t. Republicans now control two-thirds of all state legislatures. Are they going to bend to Obamacare?
Will Mississippi? Texas? Florida?
Republicans in these states, with some of the highest uninsured rates in the nation, will gladly inflict pain on their residents knowing Obama will be blamed for it and hoping that blame is transferable to the next Democratic nominee.
Do Kasich and Christie want to head into the GOP primary debates having just hugged Obamacare?
Republican obstruction in the Obama era is unprecedented. Not just in the record shrinking of public spending in the middle of a jobs crisis. Not just in filibusters and the record number of executive branch nominees blocked. Not just in the way it threatened to default on our debt, twice.
At every opportunity Republicans have savaged a law that has helped more than 10 million Americans gain health insurance while leading to hundreds in billions in long-term deficit reduction. After President Obama won a landslide re-election, they shut the government down in an effort to defund the law.
And it’s worked for them. Don’t expect that to change. And don’t expect them to propose any alternative until it’s too late.
[Picture via LaDawna Howard via Flickr]