Prominent Republicans in the Senate and the House, in a surprising development, are touting elements of ObamaCare, the sweeping overhaul of the health-care system that the GOP has promised to overturn in its entirety. Rep. Allen West (Fla.), a Tea Party favorite, says he supports several key provisions of ObamaCare, including one that allows kids to stay on their parents' policies until they're 26, and another that bars insurance companies from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. Sen. Roy Blunt (Mo.) says he also is a fan of the provision for 26-year-olds. Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) is "quietly hatching a plan" to restore parts of ObamaCare if the Supreme Court strikes it down in June, says Politico. Is the GOP changing its mind about ObamaCare?
Yes, but only the popular provisions: The sudden shift is mostly one of face-saving. Republicans would "be caught in an election-year predicament if the Supreme Court grants them their wish and overturns the law," says Sahil Kapur at Talking Points Memo. The GOP would need some kind of health-care plan to present to voters, so it's coalescing around a proposal that is very easy to sell: "You can have all the popular provisions of health-care reform without the unpopular ones," most prominently the individual mandate that requires most Americans to buy insurance.
"Senate Republicans signal big shift on ObamaCare"
They can't support ObamaCare without the mandate: Totally absent from the GOP's political machinations is the "consideration of the law's economic viability without an individual mandate," says Jake Miller at NewsMax. Insurance companies forced to cover those with pre-existing conditions "will break the bank" unless there is "some mechanism forcing healthy individuals to buy insurance as well." In other words, "with the popular must come the unpopular," and the GOP can't separate the two without blowing up the system.
"Blunt: Republicans will retool parts of ObamaCare"
The conservative base won't even allow the GOP to cave: The GOP's conservative base "has demanded, in no uncertain terms, that every letter" of ObamaCare has to go, says Steve Benen at The Maddow Blog. The party, including presidential nominee Mitt Romney, has already pledged to repeal ObamaCare root and branch. It's unclear what will happen "when the dog actually catches the car," but "as a rule, Republicans don't ignore their base often."
"The dog that caught the car"
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