The latest troubles inflicting the healthcare.gov website, the sign up site for coverage under the Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare, has given new ammunition to the Republicans. Even Democrats are concerned that the problems with the website could undermine the law. Rep. Richard Nolan, D-Minn., said "I think the president needs to man up, find out who was responsible and fire them."
Republicans at every turn have been opposing the law, and some would say they are out for sabotage, if necessary. The law can be an easy target. The Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, is too complicated.
Republicans at every chance are adding fuel to the fire in opposition, in spite of the fact that Obamacare is based on essentially a conservative idea.
The Affordable Care Act is complicated because there was no consensus to scrap the United States system where health care coverage, except for seniors (Medicare) and the poor (Medicaid), is through employers. If we were to provide a way for more coverage it would have to be through an ad hoc, add-on attempt to conserve and expand the current system of employer provided health care coverage.
Conservatives had the plan that could do it. It had been touted by conservative think tank, The Heritage Foundation. That plan’s main feature was the setting up of a market place, health care exchanges, where individuals without health care coverage could shop for insurance. The plan, with some modification, became enacted in Massachusetts under then Republican governor Mitt Romney.
McCarthy says, “But I don't imagine Ed Feulner [founder of the Heritage Foundation] would be complaining at all if a Republican president or a Republican Congress had passed a plan that deviated from the Heritage blueprint to the same degree that Obama's bill has.”
So conservatives got their wish, first in Massachusetts under Romneycare, and then nationally in the Affordable Care Act.
Efforts to sabotage Obamacare started early on. First the Republicans were resistant to agreeing to sufficient funding to implement such a far sweeping and complex law, and later when it became clear that many states would rely on the federal government to set up exchanges, Republicans resisted attempts to increase the extra funding that would be needed.
Second, many Republican governors have resisted expanding their Medicaid programs as called for in the Affordable Care Act. This would leave far more people uncovered by a health care package than was the goal.
The individual mandate in Obamacare is for individuals to be covered by a health care package or sign up for coverage beginning in 2014. Individuals, with some exceptions, who are not covered will face a penalty when they file their federal income tax forms. Republicans know full well that the individual mandate is the key for Obamacare to work, if it is to work at all. As the National Review, a conservative media voice, says,
“Obamacare cannot function without its individual mandate or its exchange subsidies, for example, so repealing those would amount to something close to full repeal while helping to ensure that result. Republicans should therefore take clear aim at such targets at every turn, whether targeting them for repeal or delay.”
So what lies behind this effort to sabotage Obamacare?
One cannot help to think that it isn't Obamacare, but President Obama himself that they after.
And the troubles and glitches with the health care website is giving Republicans plenty of ammunition. And even Democrats are getting anxious.