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Obamacare Wins? See you in 2014 Category: News & Politics Published on Saturday, 19 October 2013 17:39 Hits: 13
Bombshell: White House Planned Shutdown
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(POLITICO By David Nather) -- President Barack Obama’s signature health care law is now turning into a 2014 election issue, rather than the disastrous defunding fight that led the government to close for three weeks. With the shutdown out of the way, the health care law’s problems will take center stage in a way that they didn’t while Republicans were stepping on their own message. Obamacare was always going to be a major issue in the mid-term elections, since so many of its major pieces — the new health coverage, the online marketplaces where the coverage is available, the expansion of Medicaid, and the hated individual mandate — become real in January.
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But now, Democrats will also have to talk about a federal health insurance website that barely anyone can use. Even White House spokesman Jay Carney was reduced to arguing Thursday that Obamacare isn’t just a website — after Obama has been saying it would be as easy as shopping for flat-screen TVs online. That’s why, even though Republicans have been damaged in the short term by the Obamacare fight they picked, there’s no reason to believe the Obama administration and Democrats will have an easy time in the months ahead, according to health care analysts and political strategists from both parties. Republicans, they say, can just let the spotlight return to the federal Obamacare website that breaks all the time — and any other implementation oopsies that happen along the way. That process is already underway, as House Republicans plan hearings on the website issues and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida warned that there will be a “revolt ” over Obamacare in 2014. “Getting the shutdown-debt limit debate behind us allows the problems with Obamacare to resurface. Those problems haven’t gone away,” said Republican pollster Whit Ayres, who had warned GOP lawmakers that the shutdown would be a major distraction from those problems. That doesn’t mean the debate will be unchanged, though. Republicans now have to get it through their heads that the law isn’t going away. As one Senate Republican aide put it Thursday, “We’re past that existential question.” Democrats say they’ll always be able to remind Americans of the massively unpopular shutdown whenever
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http://whatsupic.com/news-politics-usa/3732-obamacare-wins-see-you-in-2014.html Republicans try too hard to fight the law. “Republicans thought that this was a winning issue for them and would trump public outcry over the budget and the debt ceiling … Republicans were dead wrong,” said Matt Canter of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “The shutdown showed that voters don’t want to continue refighting the partisan battles around the health care law.” And top GOP strategists say the party has to try harder to rally around an alternative, which they haven’t been able to do so far. Oh, and maybe don’t shut the government down again. “The challenge for Republicans is to make this a policy fight, not a political fight,” said David Winston, a top Republican pollster who advises the House GOP leadership. “It’s incumbent upon Republicans to come up with an alternative. For most people, going back to where we were is not an option.” There are a few GOP alternatives, including one by the Republican Study Committee and another by Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, that use more limited measures to solve problems like covering people with pre-existing conditions. But “you can’t say there are 18 different plans. That doesn’t define the choice,” Winston said. “They need to be able to say, ‘Here’s what you have, and here’s what you could have.’ ” Health care analysts who take the longer view play down the short-term damage of shutdown politics and the website crashes. The real bottom line, according to Drew Altman of the Kaiser Family Foundation, will be what people say when they finally get Obamacare coverage. “Do they think they got a good deal? That’s the single most important question,” said Altman. But that, by definition, means the White House and congressional Democrats have to make sure the early enrollment problems aren’t followed by other, more serious breakdowns when the coverage actually starts in January. Their challenge is to make sure the federal health insurance website becomes useable, just as some of the states that are running their own health insurance exchanges have largely solved their early glitches. They also have to find enough success stories — people who have gotten their health coverage and are pleased by the experience — to counteract the comments Republicans are circulating from people who are complaining that the premiums are too high. There are people who are successfully signing up, on the federal website as well as state-run marketplaces like the one in Minnesota. But they haven’t been able to overshadow the stories of people who can’t even log in. “Since at the end of the day, Obamacare is a marathon and not a sprint, the president and Democrats are well positioned,” said Democratic strategist Chris Lehane. But the only way to make the marathon shorter, Lehane said, is for the administration to be effective in telling the success stories. That will be especially important for four red-state Democratic senators — Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, and Mark Begich of Alaska — who are up for re-election next
http://whatsupic.com/news-politics-usa/3732-obamacare-wins-see-you-in-2014.html year and will need ammunition to counter Republican attacks on the law. So far, they’ve stayed silent on the implementation problems — but none of them broke ranks with Democratic leaders in the fight against the GOP Obamacare defunding and delay efforts. The National Republican Senatorial Committee is promising to go after those Democrats hard. “The Obamacare website is a disaster, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg – the real problems are with the law itself,” said the NRSC’s Brad Dayspring. “Costs continue to rise, many people are not able to keep the doctors they are comfortable with, and workers are seeing their hours cut and suffering the consequences.” Obama administration officials and congressional Democrats are confident that they’re in a better place, at least for the short term. They all cite a poll by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal last week that found that support for Obamacare actually ticked up a bit during the shutdown — though only 38 percent thought the law was a good idea, while 43 percent still thought it was a bad idea. Republicans have clearly damaged themselves by provoking the shutdown — and some strategists say the damage could hurt their credibility on Obamacare in the long term.
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Published on Oct 20, 2013