News today of yet another "campaign style" undertaking from the White House designed to convince America of the goodness of Obamacare. Every day until the 23rd of December, some kind of singular messaging emphasis will emanate from the White House through its friends in the Bought and Paid For Media to the waiting ears of an American public who has apparently not yet been lied to enough.
Apparently, lefty commentators have been ramping up the din that the Obamacare website is beginning to work, gleefully predicting a wave of support from the public when they are finally able to grab hold of the brass ring of Affordable Care through the flow orifice that is the website. Yet the website was never THE PROBLEM with Obamacare; it was really just a problem of corporatism run amok with sweetheart contracting, ridiculous timelines and insufficient specification. No, the problem with Obamacare is Obamacare. And I need to hear Republicans saying it over, and over, and over again.
Let's face it. Many of the "uninsured" were uninsured by choice. They looked at what was available on the individual healthcare market and determined that it was economically unwise to buy insurance given their financial state. Now, the decision is made for them. They will have to get insurance. Whatever they were paying for their healthcare before will increase--as they will now have to buy actual insurance or pay their fine. If they choose the fine, they still have to pay full price for whatever care they receive at the point of sale. These folks will now have to go online to the apparently working better site, in order to do what they deemed economically unwise to do last year, now at the point of a government gun (metaphor alert).
Next are the folks who already HAD individual policies, the ones we've heard so much about, the one's whose policies have been cancelled (or not subject to renewal) because they are "noncompliant" with the standards of the ACA. We have been hearing some of their stories. They liked their old coverage. They can't understand why they need maternity or mental health coverage. They don't like the premiums, or the deductibles, or the premiums and the deductibles.
Next year, we will see a wave of unhappiness that makes this year's individual market stories look like a pittance by comparison. This is when employer based plans begin to drop people because 1) it is cheaper to drop them (and pay a penalty) and send them to the exchanges 2) the plans are non-compliant and will therefore be more expensive. In either case many more millions will find that their premiums and or deductibles have increased, and their choice of doctors has disappeared.
All of this sets the stage for Republicans to capitalize; not only by continuing to pound home the fact that this monster was created by Democrat Dr. Frankensteins (only), but also by coming forward with a series of legislative proposals that are conservative and market based that help make things better. It will not be sufficient to simply sit back and watch the house burn. Republicans will pay a devastating price if they are seen to be playing this game. No matter how many times the Senate fails to vote on House Republican measures, they should continue to vote for them. The American public needs to see Republicans TRYING TO SOLVE PROBLEMS in order to trust that they CAN solve problems. We cannot simply repeal Obamacare--we must replace it with something better.
But this is not what is happening. What is happening is the legislative calendar, wherein our House Republicans scooted out of town for an extensive Thanksgiving break, followed by a scant few legislative days, followed by an extensive Christmas break. All momentum is being lost, and the vacant playing field is being occupied by the President as amplified through his media. The plain truth of the matter is that whatever Republican leadership there is in this country has to stop acting like a run-of-the-mill Congressman and more like a leader. They need to stay in Washington, where the press is, and where the action is. This is where the battle is being fought and right now, there is only one Army in the field--the President's. The RNC has got to get WHITE HOT in supporting leadership with a countercampaign that shows Americans EVERY SINGLE DAY what a mess Obamacare is. Not the website. The program.
This is an existential moment for the Republican Party. If we seize it, we can increase margins in the House and even take the Senate. Every day that Mr. Obama squirms on his own petard is a day that plays to the advantage of Republicans in 2016. But we are blowing this. We are blowing this by not being active, and by not relentlessly pursuing better ideas.