Republicans Changing Strategy to Let Obamacare Fail

Image: Republicans Changing Strategy to Let Obamacare Fail A screen shows the Healthcare.gov website being down during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on Oct. 30.

Sunday, 03 Nov 2013 08:22 PM

By Greg Richter

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Just a month ago, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was leading the tea party wing of the GOP in an effort to defund Obamacare by allowing the government to shut down. Now, the mainstream wing is leading an effort to just get out of the way.

"It's its own worst enemy, and to some degree it is collapsing under its own weight," Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, told The Wall Street Journal.

During the shutdown, Democrats were fighting Republicans who wanted to delay for a year the individual mandate that requires all Americans to buy health insurance. But since the disastrous rollout of the program's website – in which people have faced trouble logging in to to sign up and insurance premiums for some have shot up sharply – it's Democrats now pushing for delays.

Some Republicans are saying to let the American people see the disaster for themselves.

"There are folks in my caucus who say just let the Americans face the pain," Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., told the Journal.

"It's nonconfrontational: Here's your law, have at it. And things aren't going very well," former Rep. Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio, told the Journal. LaTourette currently heads the Republican Main Street Partnership.

Meanwhile, the White House has its hands full as it awaits numbers in mid-November on how many people signed up through the state and federal health insurance exchanges in October, the site's first month. A memo obtained by the House Oversight Committee showed that only six people signed up nationwide on the first day.

And a new notice on the site https://www.healthcare.gov says, "The Health Insurance Marketplace online application isn't available from approximately 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. EST daily while we make improvements. Additional down times may be possible as we work to make things better."

Fox News reported that while some overnight site downtime was expected, it was only supposed to have been on weekends.

"The website hasn’t worked the way we want it to work," top White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer said Sunday on "This Week." "But we take responsibility for that, take responsibility for the errors, take responsibility for fixing it."

Pfeiffer admitted the initial numbers will be lower than were hoped for.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday she has asked White House chief of staff Denis McDonough to shut down the HealthCare.gov website until all the problems are fixed.

But that is unlikely, as the administration and most Democrats appear to be putting a positive spin on the issues facing the program, including calls from the right and the left for President Barack Obama to explain why he repeatedly promised people they could keep their current health insurance if they like it.

That hasn't panned out for many, and while existing plans were indeed "grandfathered" in, they lost that grandfather status if changes as small as a $5 difference in co-pays were made after the law passed in March 2010. Many people were under the impression they could keep plans that didn't change at the end of 2013.

The only exceptions to the grandfather rule were plans negotiated through union contracts, according to The American Spectator.





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