After forcing a government shutdown to delay Obamacare implementation, there is now fresh sentiment among House Republicans to let the program take effect.
With reports of frustration nationwide as millions try to apply for coverage through healthcare.gov., this "don't-delay" sentiment is coming from seasoned Republican members of the House.
"We may have made a tactical error by linking the defunding or delaying of Obamacare to the continuing resolution and the debt-ceiling extension bills," Republican Rep. Howard Coble of North Carolina told Newsmax.
"Perhaps a better tactic would have been to allow Obamacare to go into effect, and as we are witnessing now, then collapse from its own dead weight," said Coble, a congressman since 1985. "The Obama administration can no longer blame the disastrous rollout of the poorly named Affordable Care Act on just some computer glitches."
Republican Rep. Jimmy Duncan of Tennessee told Newsmax, "We won't win this in the next few weeks, but after we win more elections and point out the problems. The more the problems in Obamacare are opened up to the people, the better the chances are of eventually repealing it."
Duncan, first elected to Congress in 1988, said he supports a "two-pronged approach: to use all these problems to our political advantages, but also to point out that this is only the beginning if Obamacare stays on the books."
"If there was a delay, and all the glitches were figured out, then Obamacare would still be law and it would lead to a lower quality of healthcare, waiting lines and perhaps rationing of services," Duncan said. "My concern is the bigger picture."
Republican Michigan Rep. Candice Miller, chairman of the House Administration Committee, told Newsmax that "the sentiment in our [House Republican] Conference now is that any delay would be good because it would save people from further pain. Many of my colleagues feel that anything you can chip away is a win and this is the most compassionate thing to do."
But, she added, "Perhaps I am not as compassionate as I should be. My own view is that the only way we'll get rid of this thing is for people to rise up. If Democrats totally own the issue in 2014, then people will get the full idea and totally rise up."
Miller said that in her district "people didn't rise up over the government shutdown but they are rising up as they are starting to feel Obamacare."
GOP political consultants are also starting to sense that letting Obamacare take effect will ensure that Democrats will have to defend it next year. With midterm elections around the corner, Democrats will "own the issue" of a healthcare plan gone haywire and pay a stiff penalty at the polls next November, they said.
"Enactment of a delay has a risk with it," Republican strategist Kevin Madden, press secretary in Mitt Romney's 2008 president campaign, told Newsmax on Thursday. "A delay could take Obamacare and the damages it carries off the table in 2014, and deny Republicans their most compelling issue."
The sentiment to let the law go into effect and let Democrats suffer the consequences is not shared by some key party leaders.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said on Wednesday that Republican would seek a delay in the requirement that Americans purchase healthcare or pay a fine.
"The rollout of Obamacare is nothing short of a debacle, and the American people are now fearful of their healthcare," Cantor said. "With so many unanswered questions and the problems arising around this rollout, it doesn't make any sense to impose this 1 percent mandate tax on the American people."
Sen. Marco Rubio on Monday will introduce legislation to delay Obamacare's individual mandate until the computer problems have been resolved. Republican Rep. Trey Radel of Florida is sponsoring a companion bill in the House.
Rubio, in an interview Tuesday on Fox News, said his bill would require "the Obamacare website has to be up and functioning for six consecutive months before they can begin to enforce this individual mandate on people."
"How you can punish people for not buying something that is impossible to buy because of the inability of this website to function because of government incompetence," Rubio said.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax
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