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GOP Determined to Spoil ObamaCare’s Birthday

While Obama was out pushing his energy policy offensive, Hill Republicans have been pushing equally hard to put him on healthcare defense.

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

March 22, 2012 - 3:08 pm
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Hill speakers at the American for Prosperity Hands Off My Healthcare rally just a couple blocks from the Supreme Court on Tuesday will include House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), whose Path to Prosperity released this week repeals ObamaCare, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), and Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).

Some Democrats released statements of their own, praising the law. “I know that as key provisions of the health care law continue to be implemented, Americans will continue to see how they are personally benefiting from this landmark law,” Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) said..  “Although there are efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, we cannot move backwards.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) led her website with a photo of Obama signing the PPACA into law and featured text from a Tuesday press conference at which other women Democrats in the lower chamber praised the law for helping women’s health.

“The proudest day I’ve had in Congress was on March 23rd, two years ago when we passed the Affordable Care Act – establishing for the first time in the United States of America that health care is a right in this country,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). “And, of course, the Republicans have voted twice and will continue to support the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.”

The anniversary also comes on the heels of House Republicans stripping another provision from ObamaCare, the Independent Payment Advisory Board that would be able to make major cuts to Medicare. The PATH Act also implements medical liability reforms in an effort to cut down on frivolous lawsuits.

“We have a saying around Washington that things are DOA or Dead on Arrival,” Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) said. “Well, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) is DBB or Dead Before Birth.”

Such efforts are usually DOA in the Senate, but today’s IPAB repeal marked the 26 House vote to chip away at the healthcare reform law.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) voted “present” on the PATH Act to symbolize his opposition to taking ObamaCare apart piece by piece.

“We must pull ObamaCare out by the roots because it is an unconstitutional takings of our Liberty. IPAB is not distinct from ObamaCare, it is the essence of ObamaCare and for that reason the law must be repealed as a whole,” King said. “The American people continue to speak out against ObamaCare’s individual mandate, its attack on essential first amendment conscience protections, and its multitrillion-dollar price tag.

“Partial repeal only empowers this government takeover of one-sixth of the economy, and until full repeal is realized we will continue to muddle our message,” he added.

Republicans aren’t just marking an anniversary by decrying an intrusive law, but setting up the issue as a campaign vulnerability for the president. A Rasmussen poll this week found that 56 percent of likely voters favor repeal of the law at least somewhat.

That strategy could be a challenge if the nominee is Mitt Romney, given the former Massachusetts governor’s own state healthcare reform. But Thune told PJM on today’s conference call that Obama’s policy failures warrant an all-of-the-above strategy to hit at the incumbent seeking four more years.

“His main vulnerability is his policies,” Thune said. “Healthcare, of course, is one of those.”

It’s also in terms of college tuition, energy, dramatic growth in the national debt, and an increasing number of those now on food stamps, he said. “Every metric out there in the broader economy has worsened,” the senator said. “He’s got a real vulnerability on economic policies that connect back to Americans.”

And the ObamaCare anniversary coupled with the Supreme Court case gives Republicans a can’t-miss opportunity on messaging.

“There needs to be an intensity to our efforts because the stakes are incredibly high,” Thune said.

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Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.
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