Republicans Seen Toning Down Criticism of Obamacare

Monday, 12 May 2014 08:20 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Republicans have reportedly shifted strategy on Obamacare in the face of recent rosier news on the law.

There've been no House votes or hearings scheduled on the law, campaign committees won't say if there'll be any new anti-Obamacare attacks, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's new ad launch barely mentions the law, Obamacare mentions are missing at news conferences called by House Speaker John Boehner, and there was hardly any talk about the law at last week's confirmation hearing for the next Health and Human Services secretary, The Hill reports.

Furthermore, the House has no plans to vote on Obamacare legislation in May, according to a memo from Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia released last month, The Hill reports.

In addition, Roll Call has reported the "size and scope" of a GOP alternative to Obamacare is unclear, though Cantor is keen to have something passed in 2014.

The supposed lull comes in the wake of news the federal insurance exchanges beat enrollment projections and that many of the new enrollees are paying their premiums.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is discounting any retreat in GOP criticism, releasing a memo last week noting how unpopular the law remains.

And Democrats uneasy about midterms aren’t exactly boasting about their support for the law either, the NRSC memo noted, The Hill reported.

Spokeswoman Brooke Hougesen told The Hill the GOP was not pulling back one inch on its criticism of the health care law.

“There is absolutely zero evidence that any Republican is talking about Obamacare less,” she said.

The Hill reports the GOP is broadening its message on other issues besides Obamacare.

“They are now recognizing that they need to be more than a one-trick pony,” Ford O'Connell, a veteran of Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign and chairman of CivicForumPAC, told The Hill.

Issues getting the intense focus of the GOP once trained almost exclusively on Obamacare include a select committee probe into the Benghazi attacks, and "pocketbook issues" related to past criticism of Obamacare, The Hill reported.

“The two go hand in hand,” GOP pollster Glen Bolger said. “[Voters] are just worried about the quality of their healthcare declining. They're also worried it’s going to cost them more money, and generally more money for less is not a winning proposition."

The Hill reports the dislike of Obamacare continues whether the GOP is on the attack or not: the latest Pew poll shows 55 percent disapproved of Obamacare.

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