RSS
How the GOP is unwittingly helping ObamaCare
Republicans have issued such dire warnings that any improvement could redound to the law's benefit
Republican scheming could backfire.
Republican scheming could backfire.
Pete Marovich/ZUMA Press/Corbis
R

epublicans are gearing up for an epic fight over ObamaCare, as the countdown winds down for the implementation of key elements of the health law.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) is vowing to shut down the government this fall to block the reforms. Twenty-one governors have declined to go along with the Affordable Care Act's Medicare expansion.

The Obama administration is mounting a massive public education campaign to expound the law's benefits, including the insurance exchanges where people, including those currently uninsured, will be able to shop for — and get — coverage. Republicans are gearing up for a counter-offensive with town hall meetings and protests to urge people not to obtain health coverage.

The unprecedented GOP push will aim to convince Americans that ObamaCare won't deliver the benefits Obama is promising, such as providing greater access to insurance and lowering costs. The way political analysts see it, Republicans hope public discontent with ObamaCare will help them expand their House majority and win control of the Senate in next year's mid-term elections.

However, Sarah Kliff at The Washington Post says the GOP vendetta against ObamaCare could backfire, and make it far easier for Obama and his fellow Democrats to tout it as a success. Republicans are warning the law will implode when it launches on Oct. 1, and GOP senators are telling people their premiums will skyrocket. What happens, Kliff asks, if their predictions of doom don't come to pass?

Republicans have set ObamaCare expectations so incredibly low that, if Godzilla doesn't march in on Oct. 1 and gobble up our health insurance coverage and legions of IRS agents fail to microchip the masses, that could plausibly look like a success. [Washington Post]

The flip side of that argument, though, is that stirring up opposition to the Affordable Care Act could make its implementation a nightmare, which would make it less successful than Democrats are promising.

In that sense, the GOP efforts might be bearing fruit. Meghan Foley at Wall St. Cheat Sheet points out that recent polls by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Fox News show only 42 percent of the public supports ObamaCare, down from 47 percent last July. That could spell trouble for the law's supporters.

Skepticism among the American people could harm the very success of the legislation, without Congress even using an ounce of legislative muscle. If the Obama administration's efforts to educate Americans about the benefits of the insurance exchanges fall flat, and if the exchanges fail to persuade uninsured Americans to purchase coverage on the exchanges, there will be problems. [Wall St. Cheat Sheet]

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami HeraldFox News, and ABC News.

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week