Republicans making `Obamacare' their next target

In this photo taken Friday, Oct. 18, 2013, self-employed photographer Michael Weaver works the sidelines of a high school football game in Jerseyville, Ill. “We need to stop the arguing and move forward to make it work,” Weaver said of the health care overhaul. It took about a week and half, but he kept going back to the healthcare.gov website until he opened an account and applied for a tax credit that will reduce his premiums. He hasn't yet finished because he still needs to select an insurance plan, and is browsing the site for his options. It beats providing page after page of personal health information to insurance companies, Weaver said. (AP Photo/Michael Thomas)

In this photo taken Friday, Oct. 18, 2013, self-employed photographer Michael Weaver works the sidelines of a high school football game in Jerseyville, Ill. “We need to stop the arguing and move forward to make it work,” Weaver said of the health care overhaul. It took about a week and half, but he kept going back to the healthcare.gov website until he opened an account and applied for a tax credit that will reduce his premiums. He hasn't yet finished because he still needs to select an insurance plan, and is browsing the site for his options. It beats providing page after page of personal health information to insurance companies, Weaver said. (AP Photo/Michael Thomas)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- "Obamacare" escaped unharmed from the government shutdown Republicans hoped would stop it, but just as quickly they have opened a new line of attack - one handed to them by the administration itself.

While Congress was arguing, President Barack Obama's plan to expand coverage for the uninsured suffered a self-inflicted wound. A computer system seemingly designed by gremlins gummed up the first open enrollment season. After nearly three weeks, it's still not fixed.

Republicans hope to ride that and other defects they see in the law into the 2014 congressional elections. Four Democratic senators are facing re-election for the first time since they voted for the Affordable Care Act, and their defeat is critical to GOP aspirations for a Senate majority.

Democrats say that's just more wishful thinking, if not obsession.

Although Obama's law remains divisive, only 29 percent of the public favors its complete repeal, according to a recent Gallup poll. The business-oriented wing of the Republican party wants to move on to other issues. Americans may be growing weary of the health care fight.

"This is the law of the land at this point," said Michael Weaver, a self-employed photographer from rural southern Illinois who's been uninsured for about a year. "We need to stop the arguing and move forward to make it work."

It took him about a week and half, but Weaver kept going back to the healthcare.gov website until he was able to open an account and apply for a tax credit that will reduce his premiums. He's not completely finished because he hasn't selected an insurance plan, but he's been able to browse options.

It beats providing page after page of personal health information to insurance companies, Weaver said.

Under the new law, insurers have to accept people with health problems. Weaver is in his mid-50s, with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, but otherwise in good health. He says those common conditions made it hard for him to get coverage before.

Although Weaver seems to have gotten past the major website obstacles, he's still finding shortcomings. There's no place to type in his medications and find out what plans cover them. "I wish there was more detail, so you could really figure it out," he said.

Such a nuanced critique appears to be lost on congressional Republicans.

"(hash)TrainWreck: Skyrocketing Prices, Blank Screens, & Error Messages," screamed the headline on a press release Friday from House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. A House hearing on the "botched Obamacare rollout" is scheduled for this coming week. GOP lawmakers want Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to resign.

Administration officials, in their most detailed accounting yet of the early rollout, said Saturday that about 476,000 health insurance applications have been filed through federal and state exchanges. But the officials continue to refuse say how many people have enrolled in the insurance markets.

Without enrollment figures, it's unclear whether the program is on track to reach the 7 million people projecting by the Congressional Budget Office to gain coverage during the six-month sign-up period.

The president was expected to address the problems on Monday during a health care event at the White House. The administration has yet to fully explain what has gone wrong with the online signup system.

"To our Democratic friends: You own `Obamacare' and it's going to be the political gift that keeps on giving," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

"Irresponsible obsession," scoffs Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan, ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, which oversees much of the health law.

Democratic pollster Celinda Lake says she doesn't see how going after the health law rollout will help Republicans by the time of next year's election.

"Americans are technology optimists," said Lake. "You tell them the website has problems today, and they'll assume it will be better tomorrow. I mean, we're Americans. We can fix a website."

There may be a method to the GOP's single-mindedness.

Republicans are intent on making the health law an uncomfortable anchor around the neck of four Democratic senators seeking re-election in GOP-leaning states, weighing them down as they try to unseat them. Republicans need to gain six seats to seize the majority in the Senate, and any formula for control includes flipping the four seats.

Sens. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Begich of Alaska and Kay Hagan of North Carolina will be facing voters for the first time since they were among the 60 Democrats who voted for the health law in 2009.

More than a year before the election, Republican Rep. Tom Cotton is airing an ad that criticizes Pryor for his vote, telling Arkansans that Pryor "cast the deciding vote to make you live under Obamacare." The commercial's final image shows Pryor with Obama, who took a drubbing in Arkansas last year.

"The bottom line is these candidates will have to answer for why they voted for this bill," said Rob Engstrom, senior vice president and national political director for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

If the website gets fixed, other problems may emerge. Republicans can still try linking `Obamacare' to rising premiums, anemic job growth and broader economic worries.

Will the strategy work?

The chamber spent millions on ads in 2012 criticizing Senate incumbents such as Jon Tester of Montana and Bill Nelson of Florida for their health care votes, yet many of those candidates overcame the criticism and won re-election.

The economy, not health care, remains the top concern of voters. By putting opposition to the health care law ahead of all other priorities, economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin says tea-party conservatives may have overdone it.

"Obamacare was an effective campaign weapon," said Holtz-Eakin, and adviser to Republicans. "The question is, have they damaged it beyond its political viability?"

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Comments » 11

MIOCENE (Inactive) writes:

The Republicans are finally interested in fiscal responsibility?

Up to a year or so ago, all we heard from the GOP was anti abortion, prayer, GOD, creationism, anti Planned Parenthood, marriage amendments, personhood amendments, anti stem-cell research, planting the 10 Commandments on public property, family values; the bible; and in general saving the United States from the devil by evangelizing America.

-And while the GOP had its head buried in the ostrich hole of morality; the Liberals stole the government.

-So now; as the GOP continues with its latest obsession, that with Obamacare; our bridges, tunnels, levies, dams and highways will continue to rot into the ground.

MIOCENE

Konfuzius writes:

"Up to a year or so ago, all we heard from the GOP was anti abortion, prayer, GOD, creationism, anti Planned Parenthood, marriage amendments, personhood amendments, anti stem-cell research, planting the 10 Commandments on public property, family values; the bible; and in general saving the United States from the devil by evangelizing America."

They didn't realize that modern America changed to a better future without GOP.
Yesterday people for yesterday subjects.
Modern people for modern times.
America on the way to a better future!

MIOCENE (Inactive) writes:

Yes. The GOP seems to live with its feet in the present; and its head in the past.

August8 writes:

Yes yes, this bs must go as all the evidence now and always proves.
Crat's and Obama will look like totol fools by Cristmas Morning
Ho-Ho-Ho Everyone

26yearsonmarco writes:

This is what I predict once, if ever, the obammeecare web site is fixed so someone can get instant access without any concerns about pre existing conditions, etc.

Everyone will drop their present plans that are growing more expensive by the day, and wait to be diagnosed with a medical problem, and then sign up.

MIOCENE (Inactive) writes:

in response to August8:

Yes yes, this bs must go as all the evidence now and always proves.
Crat's and Obama will look like totol fools by Cristmas Morning
Ho-Ho-Ho Everyone

Perhaps; so if the program is doomed to fail; then why not let it fail on its own?

You see: If Republicans do all they can to sabotage Obamacare; and if the program DOES fail; guess who gets the blame?
The Republicans.

The GOP should step back from Obamacare and initiate programs such as to improve highways and flood zones. The GOP is now the party of NEGATIVE. They are always AGAINST something or someone.

If they want to regain power they have to begin to CREATE and show something tangible.

Actually, I am a Republican who left the party a number of years ago after the GOP was taken over by the evangelists and turned into a religion; a Jesus Cult.

The power block of the GOP votes according to their religion. That's why millions of evangelists didn't vote Republican. They couldn't vote for a man who believes that the second coming of Christ will be in the State of Missouri.

They're nuts. They're all nuts; and everybody knows it; except the evangelists who live in a manufactured make-believe world of hallucination and self delusion.

The only chance the GOP had in order to win the election of 08 was to put up Jon Huntsman.

-But the evangelists stopped that because Huntsman stated that "evolution is fact" and "the GOP should not be seen as the anti-science party".

So: Exit Huntsman, exit the GOP, and enter Obama, Obamacare, and probably Hillary in 2016.

MIOCENE

Captian_Cataracts writes:

President Personally Performs First Obamacare Euthanization

WASHINGTON—In a symbolic ceremony celebrating the signature legislative achievement of his administration, President Barack Obama personally euthanized terminal cancer patient Shirley Hunnicutt, 73, at George Washington Memorial Hospital Tuesday in what he promised will be the “first of many” physician-assisted suicides performed under the Affordable Care Act as promised. “Okay, that should about do it,” said the president as he injected Hunnicutt with a barbiturate followed by a heart-stopping muscle relaxant, holding the woman’s hand as she drifted toward a peaceful end. “Shirley is resting easy now, and I’m sure the American people will rest easy knowing my health care reforms will encourage thousands of ill or disabled patients just like Ms. Hunnicutt here to choose death instead of burdening our system with protracted hospice care or rehabilitation. Today was great. I enjoyed this.” Obama later confirmed to reporters that, as clearly indicated in section 1233 of his health care reform bill, he hopes to personally kill thousands of senior citizens in the next three years of his presidency.

Konfuzius writes:

in response to Captian_Cataracts:

President Personally Performs First Obamacare Euthanization

WASHINGTON—In a symbolic ceremony celebrating the signature legislative achievement of his administration, President Barack Obama personally euthanized terminal cancer patient Shirley Hunnicutt, 73, at George Washington Memorial Hospital Tuesday in what he promised will be the “first of many” physician-assisted suicides performed under the Affordable Care Act as promised. “Okay, that should about do it,” said the president as he injected Hunnicutt with a barbiturate followed by a heart-stopping muscle relaxant, holding the woman’s hand as she drifted toward a peaceful end. “Shirley is resting easy now, and I’m sure the American people will rest easy knowing my health care reforms will encourage thousands of ill or disabled patients just like Ms. Hunnicutt here to choose death instead of burdening our system with protracted hospice care or rehabilitation. Today was great. I enjoyed this.” Obama later confirmed to reporters that, as clearly indicated in section 1233 of his health care reform bill, he hopes to personally kill thousands of senior citizens in the next three years of his presidency.

Are you really believing this is a nice joke!
Just for historical information. Euthanasia was one of the most terrible and criminal subjects of the Third Reich. Your post is an insult of all victims of Dr. Josef Mengele!

Konfuzius writes:

Democrats could take back the House in 2014 because of voter anger owing to the government shutdown, a new poll finds.

Incumbent Republicans now lag behind generic Democrats in 15 out of 25 Congressional districts in a poll conducted Oct. 15-18 by Public Policy Polling. The poll was commissioned by the liberal organization MoveOn.org.

"Republicans will likely find this third round of surveys to be the most alarming yet, given that the new results show Republican vulnerability in many districts that were not even supposed to be close," said Jim Williams of PPP.

Konfuzius writes:

in response to MIOCENE:

Perhaps; so if the program is doomed to fail; then why not let it fail on its own?

You see: If Republicans do all they can to sabotage Obamacare; and if the program DOES fail; guess who gets the blame?
The Republicans.

The GOP should step back from Obamacare and initiate programs such as to improve highways and flood zones. The GOP is now the party of NEGATIVE. They are always AGAINST something or someone.

If they want to regain power they have to begin to CREATE and show something tangible.

Actually, I am a Republican who left the party a number of years ago after the GOP was taken over by the evangelists and turned into a religion; a Jesus Cult.

The power block of the GOP votes according to their religion. That's why millions of evangelists didn't vote Republican. They couldn't vote for a man who believes that the second coming of Christ will be in the State of Missouri.

They're nuts. They're all nuts; and everybody knows it; except the evangelists who live in a manufactured make-believe world of hallucination and self delusion.

The only chance the GOP had in order to win the election of 08 was to put up Jon Huntsman.

-But the evangelists stopped that because Huntsman stated that "evolution is fact" and "the GOP should not be seen as the anti-science party".

So: Exit Huntsman, exit the GOP, and enter Obama, Obamacare, and probably Hillary in 2016.

MIOCENE

"Actually, I am a Republican who left the party a number of years ago after the GOP was taken over by the evangelists and turned into a religion; a Jesus Cult."

You are a wise and straight man.

MIOCENE (Inactive) writes:

THANK YOU sir. :-)

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