Republican leaders slammed President Barack Obama's announcement that he will delay the cancellation of insurance plans that fail to meet the standards of Obamacare within minutes of his announcement Thursday.
His changes don't "even come close to fixing the problems," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. "But it does represent the clearest acknowledgment yet that his oft-repeated pledge, 'if you like your plan, you can keep it,' was false all along."
"What makes this admission even worse is the fact that it was prompted not by the heartbreaking stories of millions of Americans, but by the private pleadings of a handful of endangered Democrats," the Kentucky senator added.
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McConnell's No. 2, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, was also quick to condemn the announcement. "The president is attempting to pick and choose more winners and losers," he said.
"Hard-working Texans are not the president's personal puppets whose lives and livelihoods can be yanked around to satisfy his big-government experiment," he added.
"Enough with temporary fixes and deadline extensions. We should dismantle this law, so Americans can choose the insurance plan that works for them, not President Obama."
Cornyn's Lone Star State colleague, Sen. Ted Cruz, was typically blunt. "We cannot 'fix' Obamacare. The damage has been done as millions of Americans have already been made to pay higher premiums and lose their jobs, wages, and healthcare plans," he said.
Cruz predicted things would only get worse as the Affordable Care Act is tampered with. If Obamacare continues to be enacted, Americans will continue to lose healthcare plans, premiums will continue to rise, and Americans will continue to lose their doctors.
"Obamacare is not working. It's time to start over," Cruz said.
"It must be repealed and at the same time, Republicans and Democrats should work together to adopt policies that will truly make healthcare more accessible by creating a true national market to make insurance more affordable, personal, and portable.
"The plan the president outlined today is not capable of undoing the damage; it is designed to mitigate his party's political pain."
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich claimed insurance companies are already saying the president's plan is "not workable," adding, "A million people in California is not a small problem."
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the president has to admit his healthcare reforms can't be fixed. "Pointing fingers and claiming ignorance is not leadership," he said.
"For four years, the president told the American people they could keep the plans they liked and costs would go down, and even he now acknowledges that was simply not true."
He said the House would go ahead and vote on Friday on Michigan Rep. Fred Upton's Keep Your Health Plan Act despite Obama's announcement. "But the only way to stop Obamacare-related cancellation notices from being sent this year or in the future is to fully repeal Obamacare."
Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming called the announcement "a political Band-Aid," rather than a permanent cure.
"Democrats' attempt to 'fix' one piece of a fatally flawed law that they all supported will not change the fact that Americans are losing their doctors, paying more for their coverage, and being forced to buy policies they don't want," added Barrasso.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, told Fox News there are still plenty of alternatives to Obamacare.
"Don't buy the Democrats' line that we're cold, heartless people," he said. "The president overstated, misled, and oversold this plan to the American people."
On the other side of the aisle, Mary Landrieu, the Louisiana senator who has introduced a rival bill to Upton's, said on Twitter she will continue with her measure.
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Democratic Rep. Steve Israel of New York defended the president even as he admitted the rollout was faulty, but added, "You can't go back in time, you can only go forward."
"People don't care about the politics of this stuff," Israel added. "What we should be focused on is, how do we get it fixed, how do we get it solved?"
"We need to be focused on those fixes, those solutions."
GOP chairman Reince Priebus also took to Twitter:
Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips said Obama was continuing to put politics before patients with his announcement.
"Instead of going to Congress to repeal this burdensome law, he is once again relying on administrative patches and attempting to delay the painful consequences of Obamacare until after the 2014 midterms," he said.
"The president is bowing to political pressure from congressional members within his own party, not from the millions of Americans who are losing the insurance plans they were told they could keep.
"President Obama has left a trail of broken promises in his fervor to advance his signature law. He repeatedly promised hardworking Americans that his law would be ready for implementation; clearly it is not. As we get further along in implementation, the deep, fundamental flaws in Obamacare will continue to be exposed," Phillips said.
CNN host Piers Morgan, a strong critic of Obamacare, lashed out at the president for admitting there had been a couple of fumbles, but the game was not over. He suggested the latest move was a last desperate attempt which was almost certain to fail.
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