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The GOP’s Next Strategy to Fight Obamacare

The repeal or defund caucus readies for another go, but the replace caucus has ammo for their strategy moving forward.

by
Bill Straub

Bio

October 24, 2013 - 12:02 am

WASHINGTON – Still sore after the whipping administered by President Obama and Senate Democrats over the government shutdown, congressional Republicans nonetheless insist they remain committed to shutting down the Affordable Care Act.

House Republicans, especially those with ties to the Tea Party, targeted what is popularly known as Obamacare from the outset of the raucous debate, refusing to support a temporary funding measure to carry the government beyond the federal fiscal year that began on Oct. 1 unless the healthcare law was defunded.

That effort famously went up in flames when lawmakers finally embraced a settlement that reopened the doors after a little more than two weeks without killing Obamacare. Now a question is plaguing a divided GOP caucus – how does the party accomplish the commonly held objective of bringing the ACA to a quick and bloody end since the Senate as presently composed would never go along? And, even if the upper chamber agreed, the president would issue a quick veto that could never gain the votes to be overturned.

In addition, Republicans must find some way to recover from the perception that the showdown over the shutdown was their Battle of the Bulge in the Obamacare fight – that last great shot at victory.

“This is our last chance and our last best chance to do something about this,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said back in July.

But those long odds aren’t stopping congressional Republicans, particularly conservatives, from ramping up the fight. Some, like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), argue that the law’s bitter critics will do whatever it takes.

Cruz said he is “optimistic” about the ultimate death of Obamacare.

“I am inspired by the millions of Americans who have risen up,” he said. “And if the American people continue to rise up, I am confident that in time the U.S. Senate will follow the lead of the House of Representatives and listen to the American people. That is our job. That is our responsibility.”

A public revolt, he said, will “turn this around.”

“We’re going to restore jobs, we’re going to restore economic growth, we’re going to restore the ability of people struggling to climb the ladder and achieve the American dream and we’re going to stop the number-one job killer in this country that is Obamacare,” he promised.

Appearing a convention of the Texas Medical Association in Austin on Saturday, Cruz said the cause was lost because “Senate Republicans declined to unify and declined to support House Republicans” in repealing the law. He remains “hopeful that in the future the Senate will listen.”

Cruz has not ruled out navigating toward another governmental shutdown to push the issue when the current continuing resolution expires on Jan. 15. But apparently he will have to maneuver around Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, if he intends to do so.

Like Cruz, McConnell wants to kill Obamacare.

“This law is ravaging our economy, killing jobs, driving up premiums, and driving people off the health care plans they have and like, in droves,” McConnell said. “Its disastrous rollout is sign of even worse things to come. And the Democrat refusal to delay it reflects a stubborn ideological obsession that will do untold damage to our country. And Republicans remain determined to repeal this terrible law.”

But they will have to accomplish that, he said, without closing the government a second time. Appearing on Face the Nation on Sunday, McConnell said, “There will not be another government shutdown — you can count on that.”

“A number of us were saying back in July that this strategy could not and would not work,” McConnell said. “And of course it didn’t.”

McConnell acknowledged that Senate Republicans “have a math problem” when it comes to getting rid of Obamacare.

“It’s the following math problem — 55 Democrats and 45 Republicans,” he said. “We only control a portion of the government, and so that limits our ability to get rid of this horrible law.”

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) concurs with McConnell, asserting that another government shutdown could prove disastrous.

“Every one of us has voted against Obamacare repeatedly,” Alexander said of Republicans. “Every one of us would vote to repeal it. But in my view the right tactic is not to shut down the government. It won’t work – Obamacare would just keep going and we would have shut down the government.”

Alexander suggested one way to end Obamacare – “elect more Republicans.”

“The best way to do it is to take over the government,” Alexander said. “Elect some more senators. Elect a president. Put in a bill. That’s our constitutional system.”

Unlike either Cruz or McConnell, Alexander, the ranking member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has a plan for replacing Obamacare. It includes providing governors with more flexibility in operating state Medicaid programs, strengthening workplace wellness programs, permitting small businesses to pool their resources and offer lower-cost insurance plans for employees, expanding opportunities for consumers to purchase insurance across state lines and providing greater access to health savings accounts.

Alexander said his plan offers “step-by-step reforms that would reduce the costs of healthcare.”

Alexander isn’t alone in advocating for a process known as “repeal and replace.” The House Republican Study Committee, a conservative group within the GOP caucus, also has offered an Obamacare alternative that it intends to continue pursuing.

“American families and businesses deserve and demand real solutions to the serious problems that exist in our healthcare system,” said Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the committee chairman. “The RSC’s American Health Care Reform Act is a common-sense bill that will lower costs using conservative, free-market solutions which give American families more choices without the unworkable mandates and billions in taxes included in President Obama’s healthcare law.”

The 200-page bill offers $20,000 in tax deductions to families and a $7,500 deduction to individuals to purchase insurance from vendors in any state — thus, supporters say, allowing people to save money by selecting lower-cost providers.

The measure also offers altered proposals to some of the more popular aspects of Obamacare – creation of a $25 billion fund to lower costs for those afflicted with pre-existing conditions, permitting people to carry their insurance from job to job and permitting coverage for adult children up to age 26.

“By allowing people to buy health insurance across state lines and pool together so small businesses and families can get the same buying power as large corporations, we can lower costs and increase choices while removing Washington bureaucrats from your healthcare decisions,” Scalise said.

But no one seems to have developed a strategy of repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a package of free market alternatives more to the liking of conservative lawmakers. Regardless, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee and 2012 Republican nominee for vice president, urged that the fight go forward.

“The way I see it, our job is to preserve our values in the 21st century,” Ryan said during an appearance at the recent Values Voters Summit in Washington DC.

“We need to completely rethink government’s role in healthcare,” he said. “That means we can never give up on repealing and replacing Obamacare.”

In an op-ed that originally appeared in USA Today, Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), a family physician for more than 30 years before entering Congress, insisted that “Obamacare is just the latest bad law needing repeal.”

“That’s why we fought Obamacare through this difficult debate, and that’s why this is just one round and why we must continue to fight on,” he said.

Washington freelancer Bill Straub is former White House correspondent for Scripps Howard News Service.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
The GOP Establishment insists that the only course of action to end Caesarcare is to elect more Republicans ... and will not support any other course of action.

This is beginning to go beyond blind faith in politics-as-usual. Sounds awfully self-serving to me ... in fact, it smacks of extortion.

Especially given how Democrats went around the rules, twisted arms, and bought votes to get this lipstick-smeared pig of a law to pass.

For the GOP Establishment, is it more important to advance the virtual-reality game of politics than it is to stand on sound principle?
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
"It includes providing governors with more flexibility in operating state Medicaid programs, strengthening workplace wellness programs, permitting small businesses to pool their resources and ......."

Blah, blah, more big government, blah, blah.... Why can't these republican nimrods get it? Just shut down obamacare and leave us alone! We don't need some frigging big government program, to replace a big government program. This is exactly the kind of talk that confirms my contention, that the current republican "leadership" only opposes obamacare, because they aren't the ones in charge of it. If they had their way, we'd be stuck with "republicare", and it would be just as big a disaster.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
Given the choice between a leader (Ted Cruz) who actually fights hard against Democrat outcomes and specifically fights to stop funding of Obamacare and a leader (Mitch McConnell) who doesn't ever fight but like to stage phony symbolic votes that have no impact, I will follow Ted Cruz. We are now five years into Obamacare and the Republicans who have power in Congress, have fully funded it every step of the way, choosing not to use their Constitutionally granted power. And so a law that is hugely unpopular and is destroying the American economy and American freedom is allowed to continue year after year, while Mitch McConnell and Lamar Alexander do absolutely nothing to fight it.

I am sick to death of being lead by losers like McConnell and Boehner. I will not follow them one step further. But I will do all I can to support Ted Cruz, financially and by supporting his cause, because he is willing to actually put his actions behind his words. And also, when I see John McCain fighting against Ted Cruz, I know I am on the right side.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (58)
All Comments   (58)
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my classmate's step-mother makes $61 an hour on the internet. She has been without work for ten months but last month her payment was $13315 just working on the internet for a few hours.......www.Bay95.com
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Republican Party has Rino-Virus. The Tea Party pledges to eradicate this fatal, debilitating illness next election.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
my classmate's aunt makes $66/hour on the laptop. She has been laid off for 8 months but last month her pay was $13215 just working on the laptop for a few hours. reference....WWW.Rush64.COM
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment

Stick to surfing. Government has no constitutional place in healthcare. All this insane communistic government takeover, beginning with the FDR, excuse the expression ,New Deal ,in 1933, ie, Social Security and its collectivist cousins, has brought us to bankruptcy by empowering the Tincuppers to subsidize their sloth and amorality with the tax monies of we workerbees. Well, with unfunded liabilities which are impossible to ever pay, the bubble is about to burst. The price of bread and circuses is far too high. The CFR plan is to kill off about 85% of the Tincuppers, who are not bright enough to see that they are being fattened up for the feast.One fine day their welfare credit cards just won't work anymore. When they riot in the streets Tianmen will look like a Sunday School picnic. Wait and see.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
up to I saw the draft 4 $5028, I have faith that...my... friends brother actually bringing home money part time at there labtop.. there mums best friend started doing this for only about six months and just now repayed the dept on there condo and got a great new Chevrolet. you can check here >>>>> http://x.co/2hNL1
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Macy, you are irrelevant, incompetent and immaterial. Go away!
The Gophers don't lose; they quit. If boehner, (low case is by choice), had not brought the bill to the floor we would have buried obamadon'tcare by now. They are in collusion with their fellow CFR members and supporters on the left side of the aisle. Ryan, Cantor, et. al, are also collectivists, anti-constitutional, liars and hypocrites. One suspects that we have but a handfull of Ted Cruzes and that they may be too few to save us. Perhaps all the Good Guys should emigrate to the South Pacific and let the tincuppers figure out how 150 million dependent personalities can care for another 150 million dependent personalities. BKolley has it right, but we are too few to get it done.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
up to I saw the draft 4 $5028, I have faith that...my... friends brother actually bringing home money part time at there labtop.. there mums best friend started doing this for only about six months and just now repayed the dept on there condo and got a great new Chevrolet. you can check here >>>>> http://x.co/2hNL1
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
We don't need to elect more Republicans. We need to elect more conservatives who are willing to put the country's future ahead of their own political future.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
Primary more Republicans. Elect more Tea Party Republicans. That's a winning strategy for voters.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
The 7 Republican Senators Most Vulnerable to a Primary
http://atr.rollcall.com/the-7-republican-senators-most-vulnerable-to-a-primary/
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Like Cruz, McConnell wants to kill Obamacare."

I judge a man by what he does, not what he says he wants to do. McConnell is supporting Obamacare by what he does. Ted Cruz is actually doing something to raise awareness and oppose it. Who is running against McConnell again?
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
Regardless of whom we support, Commander Zero is already hitting us with the cudgel of the next assault on the GOP: immigration. As far as he is concerned, 0care will "take care of itself" and no one in the slimestream media will criticize him on that subject, NO MATTER WHAT! So, look out for the next hammer. Could we, perhaps, be a little bit better prepared this time??? Probably too much to ask.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why doesn't the GOP just use laws to shut down obamacare?
Obamacare came from SCOTUS Constitutional as a tax. All new taxation must originate in the House which obamacare did not.
Why not just take the closing of obamacare to the courts?
If it's a tax, it's illegal. If it's a penalty, it's unconstitutional.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
Were I Emperor I would offer the Chief Justice job to y'all, fire the Collectivist Foursome and put "justice" Roberts in an institution for the criminally insane. He could room with obama. In answer to your question, it is because they are in league with the Demonrat communists and out to turn the USA into a totalitarian part of a New World Order. We have but one Party here, and its intent is to destroy our Constitutional Republic.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
When individuals/businesses are hit with the tax, especially if they cannot sign up for the exchanges, then a class action lawsuit can be initiated. Which was/is Roberts' plan from the beginning. He stated as clearly as he could that it is OUR choice to limit government, not his as one justice, even Head of the USSC.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
No! Our Constitution already limits government. Robert's job is to determine whether or not legislation accords with or violates the Constitution. He is despicable, cowardly and false to his oath of office. He does not support and defend the Constitution.He called obamacare a tax. Taxes must begin in the House. Obamacare began in the senate and is unconstitutional on its face. Roberts knows that, surely.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
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