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Republicans Undermine ObamaCare, Then Claim It Isn't Working
The editorial board at USA Today has a great post explaining the Republicans’ cynical strategy for defeating Obamacare: “Having lost in Congress and in court, they’re now using the most cynical of tactics: trying to make the law fail. Never mind the public inconvenience and human misery that will result.”
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- First, Republicans limited the use of government money to spread the word.
- Then, when the administration reached out to the NFL and other major sports leagues for help in publicizing the new health care exchanges, the opponents resorted to intimidation.
- A companion tactic is fear-mongering, which dates back to inventing non-existent “death panels.”
GOP poisons ObamaCare, then claims it’s sick: Our view
Cynical tactics seek to keep public in the dark
The Editorial Board,8:04 p.m. EDT July 9, 2013
Making ObamaCare work was always going to be hard, which is exactly what you’d expect for a complex new program that affects one-sixth of the U.S. economy.
Remember the rocky rollout of the Medicare prescription drug program in 2006? There were glitches and stories about people who couldn’t navigate the system or get the help they needed. Eventually, however, goodwill, patience and sincere effort by just about everyone involved ironed out the kinks in Medicare Part D. It’s so popular now that no one would dare try to eliminate it.
That explains — but hardly excuses — Republicans’ latest assault on ObamaCare. Having lost in Congress and in court, they’re now using the most cynical of tactics: trying to make the law fail. Never mind the public inconvenience and human misery that will result.
Their assault is under way on several fronts. The most disturbing is a concerted attempt to keep the public ignorant about how to use the health care exchanges where uninsured people will be able to sign up for coverage beginning Oct. 1.
First, Republicans limited the use of government money to spread the word. Then, when the administration reached out to the NFL and other major sports leagues for help in publicizing the new health care exchanges, the opponents resorted to intimidation.
Sens. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, fired off a letter to the NFL, saying that the league had better not get involved with such a controversial program, as if the league would be taking sides on a debate in Congress, not doing public service announcements for a law soon to affect millions.
In a particularly smarmy warning, McConnell and Cornyn told the NFL to let them know whether the Obama administration retaliated against the league for not cooperating — the clear implication being that if the league did help inform the public about ObamaCare, Senate Republicans had their own methods of retribution. It is an appalling abuse of power, and the NFL meekly yielded.
A companion tactic is fear-mongering, which dates back to inventing non-existent “death panels.” In one of several recent examples, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas,suggested in a radio address that the new law could disrupt people’s cancer care, a scary but highly unlikely prospect.
More broadly, GOP governors have refused to expand Medicaid or to run state health insurance exchanges, making it harder to get the program up and running or to optimize it for regional differences.
ObamaCare could certainly use improvements, just as Medicare Part D did. But opponents have repeatedly blocked efforts to fix it.
There is a distinct line between fighting to turn your ideas into law and trying to wreck a law once it has been passed. The Republicans hope that the problems they create will be blamed on Democrats. Perversely, they might find that blame for any failings will now be shared.
USA TODAY’s editorial opinions are decided by its Editorial Board, separate from the news staff. Most editorials are coupled with an opposing view — a unique USA TODAY feature.
Read it at USA Today here.