While President Obama was out in the heartland pushing his energy policy offensive today, Hill Republicans have been pushing equally hard to ensure that the administration is on defense when the two-year anniversary of the healthcare reform law rolls around Friday.
In a double publicity boon for opponents of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court begins hearing arguments Monday on the constitutionality of the insurance mandate.
For a piece of signature legislation that was such a “big f—ing deal,” in the immortal words of Joe Biden, the White House is being decidedly low-key about the PPACA’s birthday.
White House spokesman Jay Carney confirmed today that there are no events on the president’s schedule to mark the day. “But I want to be clear that this was historic and important legislation that is already leading to significant benefits for millions of Americans,” he said, noting that the administration released a video “that features a lot of folks who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act already.”
“I found absurd some of the suggestions that the president or the White House, the administration was running away from or not interested in talking about the Affordable Care Act, because, as you know, and I have seen, the campaign has put out its own campaign video where the Affordable Care Act is featured prominently,” Carney added. “… I don’t think a week goes by where he doesn’t include remarks about health care reform in some form or another.”
The message from Republicans this week? Obama should be running away from the law.
“We want to take a look back at what we think is a terrible piece of legislation,” Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) said today. “The law really does represent one broken promise after another.”
He noted that the bill came with promises of 400,000 jobs “almost immediately,” and now the Congressional Budget Office predicts a loss of 800,000 jobs due to the law. This is on top of the CBO finding that the law will increase family premiums by an average $2,100 a year, the senator added.
“When this is all said and done… it will dwarf what the predictions were in terms of cost,” Thune said.
So all weapons in the arsenal are coming out. The Republican Study Committee caucus of House conservatives released “ObamaCare in 5 Pictures,” a series of charts taking fresh hits at the law.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a report on the law’s negative impact on jobs.
“Obamacare’s attempt at a wholesale remake of our health care system will have crippling impacts on businesses and job creators — at a time when we can least afford it,” Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said. “Our report documents job creators — in their own words — expressing very real and very personal concerns about what Obamacare will mean to their firm and their employees.”
Other members publicly renewed their mission to take down the two-year-old law.
“I ran for office in order to defund, dismantle, repeal, and replace Obamacare,” said Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), one of the freshmen swept into office in the 2010 midterms. “I will not rest until the entire law is repealed and today we are one step closer to fulfilling this promise.”