Lashing out at Obmacare in Manchester, New Hampshire at a Koch Bros. sponsored gathering, a bevy of future GOP presidential candidates hinted at their 2016 campaign strategy. Gaining traction bashing President Barack Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Republicans have fresh ammunition with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stepping down yesterday. When the Obamacare website opened for business Oct. 1, 2013, Sebelius was blamed for the site’s malfunction. While the site was fixed in just over a month, the public continued to blame Sebelius. Where 65-year-old HHS secretary stumbled was in Congressional hearings where she couldn’t explain the health care law, let alone have any clue how to fix the problems. Armed with Sebelius’s resignation, the GOP opened fire with both barrels on the president’s health care law.
Some of Obama’s biggest critics took aim at his signature legislation that boasted some 7.5 million enrollees after the open enrollment period ended March 31. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Fl.) and former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-Ak.) all took aim at Obamacare, promising to repeal the law should they win their Party’s nomination. Hosted by Koch Bros.-funded Citizens United and Americans for Prosperity, the New Hampshire summit promises more bad publicity for Obamcare, still struggling to win over skeptical voters. Despite millions of uninsured folks now with health insurance, the GOP continues to hammer away at Obamacare. Already spending millions on negative ads, the Koch Bros. have helped advance the adverse publicity surrounding Obamacare, despite the fact that millions of previously uninsured people are now insured.
New Hamashire’s GOP summit becomes the first unofficial kickoff of the Republican presidential campaign. “It’s the unofficial kickoff o the 2016 process,” said Republicans operative Mike Biundo, who formerly managed Gov. Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign. Republican National Committee Chairman believes running on repealing Obamacare is the best way for the GOP to pick up more governors’ seats and win back the Senate in the 2014 Midterm elections. “What took so long,” said Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), referring to yesterday’s Sebelius resignation. “I have heard from people of New Hampshire, and the people of New Hampshire want us to work to repeal this law and replace it with common sense reforms,” said Ayotte, offering no viable alternatives. Rumors persist that if former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton runs for president, she’d be open to repealing Obamacare.
When Hillary talks or reforming or repealing Obamacare, she’s open to converting it Medicare-for-all, the original plan torpedoed by then Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) in 2009. When Medicare-for-all was no longer an option, the current version of Obamacare morphed into place. What’s wrong with the current Obamacare is the inability of Congress to work together to fix the major problem: The insurance industry’s propensity to hike rates and gouge consumers. All the cancellations and rate increase were defensive reactions by the insurance industry to guarantee the biggest profit margins in the industry’s history. If Congress legislated control on the price gouging and policy cancellations, Obamacare wouldn’t have gotten the notoriety that leaves New Hampshire’s GOP looking to repeal. Without any bipartisan cooperation, Obamacare remains flawed.
Making government-backed health insurance available to individuals unable to get insurance is a good thing for the uninsured. While the Koch Bros. and their anti-Obamacare lobby continue to rip the president’s plan, they offer no alternative to the millions of formerly uninsured folks now with coverage. Expanding Medicaid coverage for the poor has already given millions more new insurance. Where the insurance lobby has gone hog wild is gouging individuals and groups with unjustified rate hikes. Claiming their costs inevitably rise under Obamacare, the insurance industry has taken full advantage Koch Bros. brainwashing and anti-Obama lobby. Insurance industry profit margins and quarterly earnings have gone through the roof with Obamacare. While the GOP makes political hay with Obamacare, no one in the insurance industry wants to change anything.
Unable to change course like the Titanic, the GOP puts all its eggs in the bash Obamacare basket. With over 7.5 million voters now signed up for Obamacare, it’s a risky strategy running on repealing the biggest government entitlement since former President George W. Bush gave seniors Medicare Part D’s prescription drug coverage Jan, 1, 2006. Now that Obamacare’s website works and that millions of uninsured voters continue to sign up, GOP strategy will have to switch gears or face a backlash. “Republicans in Iowa and New Hampshire are supporting an agenda that hurts middle class families, hurts women and will benefit billionaires lie the Koch brothers,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), defending Obamacare, but, more importantly, ripping House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) new budget that eviscerates the nation’s social safety net.
About the Author
John M. Curtis writes politically neutral commentary analyzing spin in national and global news. He’s editor of OnlineColumnist.com and author of Dodging The Bullet and Operation Charisma.