Skip to comments.GOP fear: Shutdown thwarted exposure of ObamaCare flaws [Becker and Baker Obama Show)
Posted on 10/13/2013 5:13:05 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
House Republicans, now seeking a way out of the current fiscal impasse, fear that the government shutdown robbed them of a chance to highlight the problems in ObamaCare's rollout.
Oct. 1 should have been a layup for Republican opponents of President Obamas signature healthcare law, who watched as new insurance exchanges were beset by a slew of technical snafus.
But in a harsh bit of irony for the GOP, that was also the first day of a government shutdown driven largely by their own efforts to defund ObamaCare a standstill that has dominated headlines all month.
To make matters worse, Republicans have taken a public relations hit for their strategy , a fact not lost on the lawmakers who along with GOP leadership opposed making government funding contingent on healthcare changes.
I think we have missed a big issue. I dont think theres any question that this whole shutdown episode has covered for the bad rollout of ObamaCare, said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), an ally of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). "A lot of us warned that."
Conservative lawmakers who lobbied for the shutdown strategy say that ObamaCare is such a disaster that theyll have plenty of time to publicize the rollouts problems.
But the fears from top Republicans that they missed a golden opportunity underscore that, while the GOP remains united on the need to roll back ObamaCare, they are deeply divided on the best strategy for achieving that goal.
"Ive never been for the government shutdown," Cole said Friday. "I dont think its an appropriate or winning political strategy.
On Oct. 1, the technical issues for the healthcare laws new exchanges made shopping for insurance nearly impossible.
Structural problems with healthcare.gov, the website to enroll in coverage in 36 states, combined with overwhelming traffic to the site, locked users out of the first step in the enrollment process. Visitors had trouble even seeing their options much less buy a plan.
In many ways, this was the "train wreck" that Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) was actually talking about a botched implementation that obscured the law's coverage options.
But Obama didnt receive a single question about the snafus at a news conference last week, despite an appearance before reporters that lasted more than an hour.
And instead of the GOP, the most vocal critics of the rollout turned out to be late-night comedians, including Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update" segment and The Daily Shows Jon Stewart.
"You can't campaign on the fact that millions don't have healthcare and then be surprised that millions don't have healthcare, Update anchor Cecily Strong said after the first week. "How could you not be ready? That's like 1-800-FLOWERS getting caught off guard by Valentine's Day."
Meanwhile, the GOP also saw its poll number plummet in recent days just as many opponents of the shutdown strategy had feared.
Even before the current stalemate, shutting down the government in an attempt to defund ObamaCare had consistently polled the lowest of every option for the healthcare law.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released last week then showed that support for the Republican party had fallen to a record low of 24 percent. At the same time, support for the healthcare law ticked up to 47 percent even as it hit the roughest patch yet in its implementation.
I think we can fight the problems with ObamaCare in a more intelligent way than we have, and actually get some success out of it, Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.), another leadership ally, told reporters. But we are where we are.
Not surprisingly, the conservatives who drove the train on the defund strategy dont see it that way. Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) said Friday that the terrible rollout would turn people off of ObamaCare in a way that no GOP-passed law could.
And Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who spearheaded an August letter seeking a defunding of the healthcare law, said he hadnt heard of any concerns from other Republicans.
The failures of the rollout speak for themselves, Meadows said. Ultimately, ObamaCare and the failure of the rollout will continue to dominate. The White House and Congress have, by many accounts, made strides toward a fiscal deal, even as Democrats and Republicans still have more than a few obstacles to overcome.
Boustany told reporters Friday that he hoped the way out of the current fiscal gridlock would include a chance for broader negotiations over ObamaCare and other structural spending issues.
Such a resolution to the shutdown and debt ceiling might give the GOP a chance to change their focus, but the glitches in the rollout are getting better.
The sixteen states that chose to establish their own insurance exchanges have had better luck than the federal government in getting their systems up and running. Several states including California, New York and Kentucky have already enrolled thousands of new patients. And though healthcare.gov still isn't fully operational by any means, more consumers have been able to begin the shopping process after the administration took the site offline to make improvements.
Still, even some of the Republicans who believe theyve missed a chance to score some political points think there are more opportunities on the horizon.
Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.), a member of GOP leadership, mentioned a Sebelius appearance in Pittsburgh last week where attendees had problems signing up for insurance online.
I also dont think its going to be resolved, Lankford said. Those kind of stories are just going to keep rolling.
Lankford added that, for many in the GOP, taking a last shot to stop the Affordable Care Act in September overshadowed discussion of any potential problems with the exchanges.
I think thats overthinking it for us. Its nice to be able to do in hindsight, Lankford said. But youre not going to also predict that.
ObamaCARE is unConstitutional, a tax which does not
apply to Moslems and Congress and their families and staff,
and was written in prison by convicts and never even
read by the dastardly, piggish, greedy, treasonous Congress.
But is was imposed first by the cowardly rat, Mitt Romney,
so the GOP is FOR IT.
They’ll have a year of implementation horror stories of this, told by the people, between now and election day. I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Let each congressional candidate build his campaign on how the people in his district were harmed by Obamacare and he’ll win to go to Washington to over-turn the law.
Do the people in DC live on the same planet as I do? Hello??? Lets see, with the Govt. Shutdown we have found that the site doesn’t work, insurance rates have gone up along with deductibles. Those who have managed to get through now know it is NOT FREE! It’s working exactly how it was meant to work! FAILURE!!!! Stand Tough!
They can't make the web-site actually work, but they can count the undocumented visitors who tried to access it?
Only the federal government has the tine, money and hubris required to calculate exactly what it does not know.
Now they want to HIGHLIGHT how AWFUL Obamacare is because OBAMA’S SHUTDOWN is getting too much press.
It is to laugh!
“Mr. Cruz goes to Washington” was absolutely essential. Cruz used the budget process to highlight the flaws of ObamaCare. Cruz was crucial.
All these RINO Republicans at Fox News said Mr. Cruz and his Tea Party allies were stupid. The polling and survey geniuses at Fox News and the Wall Street Journal said wait for Obamacare to collapse under its own weight. But suppose that it doesn’t? Suppose that there are problems (every large new program has glitches) and President O’Bummer generously steps in with financial and regulatory moves to solve the problems.
Instead, Republicans have to act now. We have to stand strong at every step of the way, highlighting our opposition and proposing solutions from day one and minute one. When President O’Bummer tries to “help” solve the glitches, we already have an alternative — the free market or state options or whatever. The last thing Republicans should do is stand idly by and let President O’Bummer roll over them in budget negotiations and then roll over them again by drowning the glitz problem with money.
if gop can’t spin shutdown in their favor do they really think they could spin obamacare in their favor with the democrat media? Fool’s errand mccain
I have to agree to a point...IT’S OBAMACARE STUPID!
He who frames the argument wins.
The only reason they're admitting flaws is because the flaws are too big to ignore.
An honest assessment would point out that these flaws were:
1. predicted by the GOP
2. Only the beginning of the coming disaster.
2. The reason for the current fight.
That wasn't originally assured. They could've pinned it on the 'pubs because of Romney.
The Republicans are stupid. It’s just too easy to turn this to their advantage by continuously pointing out that this train wreck is THE reason they want the delay.
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