Tags: Barack Obama | ACA | Congress | Healthcare Reform | Money

Will Obamacare Be Dwarfed by Other Issues?

Image: Will Obamacare Be Dwarfed by Other Issues?
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Monday, 11 Jan 2016 10:44 AM Current | Bio | Archive

By a vote of 240-to-181, the House on Wednesday sent a strong message to the president: repeal Obamacare.

The president, of course, will veto the measure and issue a veto message that explains why. So, more than five years after the controversial measure officially known as the Affordable Care Act went into law, the question of whether it should be repealed and replaced is poised to be on center stage in the 2016 election.

“I hope the reporters here will go out to our districts and interview from 10 to 100 small businessmen and ask, How’s it working for you?” Rep. David Brat, R-Va., said Wednesday at the monthly Conversations With Conservatives meeting on Capitol Hill, explaining why he feels “repeal and replace” will be a major issue this fall.

“No one likes it,” echoed Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.

But despite the hopes and intentions of conservative members of Congress that Obamacare will be a major issue, there is also a sense among many other Republicans and political pundits that issues such as the economy and Islamic terror have taken priority.

“Obamacare was passed as a partisan bill, much like the Kansas-Nebraska Act, without bipartisan support,” Donald Critchlow, director of the Center for Political Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University, told me, “Obamacare never enjoyed popular support and has meant the increase of Medicaid in 25 states of 6.1 million enrollees. Meanwhile the principle reason for passing Obamacare, the uninsured, remains high with 42 million Americans still uninsured.”

But Critchlow, whose forthcoming book “Future Right” examines the modern Republican Party, also noted that “Democrats are defending Obamacare. It's Obama's legacy and Hillary Clinton is stuck defending it. It sounds better than Hillarycare.

“Democrats see Medicaid under Obamacare as a way of building a class of dependent voters reliant on big government. Republicans, as the 2016 election approaching, are finally responding, not only with legislation to repeal Obamacare, but with legislation soon to come for healthcare reform.”

He quickly added, however, that “Reform might be too late to appease voters or repeal a program that has become entrenched. The issue in the election is going to be the economy and terrorism. Things appear so bad that Obamacare and rising entitlements and a national debt appear to be the least of the problems.”

G. Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College, and director of its poll — and considered the premier pollster in Pennsylvania — agreed.

In Madonna’s words, “Obamacare will be an issue but not a dominant one in vote choice. The war on terror, ISIS and foreign policy loom larger as do aspects of the economy. The Republican need a viable option that the voters buy into, given differences among House Republicans on what that might be. It remains to be seen how that will resonate with voters.”

“Obamacare continues to be an issue, especially with premiums rising 25 to 30 percent,” said veteran North Carolina GOP consultant Marc Rotterman, who has no favorite in the presidential race, “However events will supersede the Republicans’ efforts in this case. 

"Chaos in the Middle East, ISIS, North Korea's and Iran's continued provocative actions will dominate the news cycles in the upcoming weeks and throughout the presidential campaign.”


Noting that “polling shows most Americans oppose the Affordable Care Act,” Former Rep. Mark Kennedy, R-Minn., director of the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University, agreed that “putting a repeal on the President’s desk appeals to this sentiment and shows Congress can act.”

“But, still,” Kennedy added, “a sizable share of the population—namely, the core of the Democratic base, still supports so-called Obamacare. The effort to repeal will energize them.”

Former Rep. Bob Livingston, R-La., past chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said he felt “Republicans definitely have the edge on the health care issue, but it isn’t as clear cut as it was two years ago. There are too many other problems now.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.




 

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Despite the hopes and intentions of conservative members of Congress that Obamacare will be a major issue, there is also a sense among many other Republicans and political pundits that issues such as the economy and Islamic terror have taken priority.
ACA, Congress, Healthcare Reform, Money
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2016-44-11
Monday, 11 Jan 2016 10:44 AM
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