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Jewish World Review
December 24, 2013/ 21 Teves, 5774
Can GOP avoid Obamacare trap?
2014 will be the year Republicans are forced to deal with the Obamacare Trap, helpfully set for them by the Democratic authors of the Affordable Care Act.
In 2009 and 2010, President Obama and his party took a health care system in which 85 percent had insurance coverage, and blew it up. Now, with Obamacare causing misery right and left, those same Democrats are screaming, "You can't go back!"
The national health care scheme they designed is so complex and has already embedded itself so deeply in the health care system, they argue, that it can never be repealed. The only course now is for lawmakers of both parties to "fix" Obamacare's problems.
The argument will be heard more and more as the burdens imposed by Obamacare -- canceled policies, higher premiums, higher deductibles, narrower doctor networks, restricted choices of prescription drugs and more -- become a reality for millions of Americans. The situation could become even more politically charged if, as many experts expect, the burdens that have so far beset those in the individual insurance market spread to the small-group market and ultimately to the larger universe of all people who receive coverage through their jobs.
In such a scenario, Democrats will ratchet up their demands that Republicans join them in "fixing" the law. They will condemn Republicans who declare Obamacare beyond repair and decline to go along. And at the same time, Democrats will steadfastly refuse to back down in their full support of the law they -- and they alone -- passed that is causing all the trouble. The blame, they will argue, lies with the GOP.
It's an astonishingly brazen strategy. And it might work.
Already, some Republicans appear to be wavering on the insistence that repeal must be the first step in minimizing the damage done by Obamacare. In a weird irony, the more serious the problems of Obamacare become, the less likely some Republicans are to demand repeal.
"It's so bad that you just can't let it happen," says one well-connected GOP strategist. "My sense is, at least at this point, it's gotten so bad that as much as you don't want to fix Obamacare, you just can't let the impact of this happen."
Says a House Republican aide: "Measures that provide Americans some form of relief from the most painful parts of Obamacare don't have to begin with repeal."
Of course, many ways Republicans would want to provide Obamacare relief -- Michigan Rep. Fred Upton's keep-your-health-plan proposal, for example -- won't win Democratic support. But the more fixes the GOP signs on to, the more incentive Democrats have to keep stonewalling all calls for repeal.
Other House Republicans are (finally) uniting behind an actual repeal-and-replace proposal. H.R. 3121 is the work of the Republican Study Committee, and, like another effort by GOP Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, would both repeal Obamacare and enact a package of Republican health care reforms. It would address the tax unfairness of purchasing health coverage for those who are not covered at work; the problem of pre-existing conditions; the purchase of coverage across state lines and excessive medical malpractice settlements.
So far, 117 House Republicans have signed onto the bill. But 115, including the House GOP leadership, have not. And it is not clear whether passing an Obamacare alternative -- one that begins with repeal -- is really a priority for Speaker John Boehner and other top House Republicans.
For example, on NBC recently, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan expressed satisfaction with the recent budget deal because Republicans "don't want to have shutdown drama so that we can focus on replacing Obamacare." That sounds like Ryan wants to pass an alternative. But while Ryan encourages Republicans to come up with "conservative solutions," there's no evidence he wants to throw his weight behind any one bill.
In fact, in private discussions, House Republicans stress their differences over the details of an Obamacare alternative. For example, there's no agreement on precisely how to fix the tax inequity for people who don't receive health coverage at work. There are similar disagreements over all sorts of other points of policy. "Getting unanimity is a tall order for a divided, leaderless party," says the GOP aide.
Meanwhile, Obamacare threatens to turn into an enormous, rolling disaster. While Americans suffer, Republicans could find themselves arguing with each other, hung up on details, divided over the next step and under pressure to endorse Democratic fixes to a law they never supported -- in other words, deep inside the Obamacare Trap.
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12/17/13 GOP rank-and-file quietly builds an Obamacare alternative
12/10/13 Little talk of affordable care in Obamacare PR push
12/03/13 Why voters are finished believing Obamacare promises
11/26/13 Republican governors' new target: Washington Republicans
11/19/13 To pass health plan, Obama and Dems kept mum about its downsides
11/05/13 'Affordable' care depends on the size of your subsidy
10/29/13 I.R.S. tax-credit scandal a bad omen for Obamacare
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10/15/13 Why immigration reform could spell doom for the GOP
10/08/13 Business pushes immigration reform even as it lays off American workers
10/01/13 Why should congress get special exemption on ObamaCare?
09/24/13 While Republicans squabble, obama plots path to victory
09/17/13 Clock ticking, house immigration reform stuck in neutral
09/10/13 How do we tell good guys from bad in Syrian opposition?
09/04/13 Conservatives ready another try to unseat Lindsey Graham
09/03/13 Why many Republicans won't support Obama on Syria attack
08/27/13 Republicans look to change structure of campaign debates
08/20/13 Fractured GOP struggles to expose Obama's weakness
08/13/13 No easy path for divided GOP in ObamaCare fight
08/06/13 Libs gear up for ObamaCare fight
07/30/13 Are Republicans fooling themselves about ObamaCare?
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07/09/13 White House determined to start ObamaCare money flow
07/02/13 Rubio's immigration strategy worked brilliantly, but disappointed many
06/25/13 Rise in illegal crossing roils immigration debate
06/18/13 Immigration debate is all about border security
06/11/13 On judges, Obama tells GOP: Don't do unto me as I did unto you
06/03/13 Looking to 2016, Iowa GOP gets excited about Walker
05/28/13 What is the real number of illegal border crossings?
05/21/13 Immigration fight moves to house with deep divide
05/14/13 Senate skips details in rush to pass immigration bill
05/07/13 Winning Hispanic vote won't be enough for GOP
04/30/13 Loopholes put many illegal immigrants on fast track to citizenship
04/14/13 New data on border crossings could change immigration debate
04/09/13 Will immigration reform kill Rubio's presidential chances?
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03/19/13 Don't blame campaign aides for GOP's woes
03/12/13 Obama resists simple fixes for sequestration cuts
03/05/13 Obama vowed to break GOP fever --- but have they broken his?
02/26/13 Budget hawks question doomsday scenarios
02/12/13 Legalization-first could scuttle immigration plan
02/05/13 GOP aims to ease bloodshed in 2016 primary debates
01/29/13 In some GOP circles, reform is already underway
01/22/13 Once a critic of deficits, Obama now goes for broke
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01/03/13 For Obama, the economy never comes first
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12/18/12 Get ready for the costs and chaos of Obamacare
12/11/12 Obama ups bid as GOP looks for way out of crisis
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11/20/12 Governors take power as balance shifts inside GOP
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10/16/12 Will Romney push Libya issue or opt for caution?
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10/03/12 Obama's problems multiply as GOP frets over Romney
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07/03/12 Roberts' dodge at heart of ObamaCare decision
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11/15/11 Newt's wonkish, unconventional campaign
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10/18/11 Lesson of Perry's candidacy: Think before you run
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10/04/11 Cain's 9-9-9 plan sounds good, but will it work?
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09/20/11 Obama plagued by Dems' ingratitude
09/13/11 Will immigration cripple Perry's bid?
09/06/11 Left paints the campaign as a religious war
08/30/11 Keep your health plan? Don't count on it
08/24/11 GOP operatives fear lasting Ron Paul problem
08/16/11 Michele Bachmann and the submissive question
08/09/11 Obama partisans ignore facts when bashing Bush
08/02/11 When partisans fling charges of partisanship
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07/19/11 Book casts doubt on Obama healthcare story
07/12/11 Controversial budget law begins to pay off
07/04/11 Anti-Mormon bias persists, notably among Dems
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06/06/11 Amid media circus, Palin lays out policy positions
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05/24/11 Eye-for-an-eye filibuster stops Democratic nominee
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05/10/11 Bin Laden coup won't help Obama in budget fight
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04/05/11 Jihadis Who Killed Americans Get U.S. Support in Libya
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03/28/11 Obama fails to grasp the gravity of going to war
03/21/11 Union equates lavish benefits to black civil rights
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05/03/10 How Obama could lose Arizona immigration battle
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04/12/10 GOP Obamacare strategy: Try repeal, then cut
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03/16/10 Marco Rubio and the Republicans who love him
03/15/10 GOP hopes town halls take health care off table
03/08/10 Dems turn risky health vote into manhood contest
03/01/10 Why Obama defies the public on health care
02/22/10 South Carolina mulls 2012: Romney? Palin? Huck?
02/16/10 GOP winning war over Miranda rights for terrorists
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01/05/10 GOP deserves blame for Democratic excesses
12/29/09 Dems' dreams of a blue West begin to turn red
12/22/09 Why Dems push health care, even if it kills them
11/30/09 Dems' kamikaze mission: Health care by New Year's
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11/16/09 Dems' slick fix: $210 billion of fiscal restraint
11/10/09 Obama can't be community organizer for the world
11/02/09 At key moment, Obama leaves health post unfilled
10/26/09 Fierce urgency' for jobs, not health care
10/12/09 Facts hurt Jennings in youth sex controversy
10/05/09 Amid terror threat, Dems chip away at Patriot Act
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09/21/09 Under fire, Democrats abandon ACORN in drove
09/14/09 Dems stifle Republican health care plans
09/08/09 For Dems, a serious Charlie Rangel problem
09/07/09 Obama's speech: Wrong setting for a sales job
09/01/09 What happened to the antiwar movement?
08/24/09 Why Dems may jam through health care plan
08/17/09 GOP thinks the unthinkable: Victory in 2010
08/10/09 The empty words of a journalist turned flack
08/03/09 Probe finds new clues in AmeriCorps IG scandal
07/27/09 Obamacare haunted by unkept promises of stimulus
07/20/09 Why the GOP failed the Sotomayor test
07/13/09 What the GOPers will ask Sotomayor
06/29/09 Serious questions remain for Mark Sanford
06/22/09 How GOPers can crack the AmeriCorps scandal
06/16/09 Worried about Sotomayor? Consider Andre Davis
06/08/09 Can Mitch Daniels save the GOP?
06/01/09 When the Dems derailed a Latino nominee
05/26/09 Why the GOP will defeat Obama on healthcare
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05/12/09 The Reagan legacy is the man himself
05/05/09 Sen. Specter, meet your new friends
04/27/09 Ted Olson: ‘Torture' probes will never end
04/20/09 Who's Laughing at the Axis of Evil today?
04/14/09 Congress needs Google to track stimulus money
04/06/09 Beyond AIG: A bill to let Big Government set your salary
03/30/09 On Spending and the Deficit, McCain Was Right
03/24/09 It's Obama's crisis now
03/17/09: Geithner-Obama economics: A joke that's not funny
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