Wednesday, May 30, 2012

When the dog catches the car

In about a month we're going to hear what the Supreme Court says about Obamacare. This has posed an interesting dilemma for Republicans who have spent the last few years trashing the reform and voting more than once to repeal the whole thing.

If they get what they want and its ruled unconstitutional...then what? The "replace" part of repeal and replace comes to bear and that puts them in the position of having to actually govern rather than simply demagogue the issue. They're not very good at that.

Over the last few weeks we've seen some Republicans come out in favor of the most popular parts of Obamacare - the ban on denials for pre-existing conditions, young people up to 26 covered by their parent's insurance and the closing of the doughnut-hole in Medicare prescription coverage. Even the seriously disturbed Rep. Allen West says he would favor continuing those reforms. And as TPM reports, that seems to be the strategy Republicans are coalescing around.
Senate Republicans are echoing the House GOP’s shift in favor of some of the more popular “Obamacare” provisions, a sign that the party is uniting behind the strategy ahead of the election.

With a Supreme Court decision looming next month, House Republicans are privately weighing a plan to reinstate three popular elements of the law if it’s struck down — guaranteeing coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions, allowing young adults up to 26 years old to remain on a parent’s insurance policy, and closing the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap known as the “doughnut hole.”
This strategy presents two problems for them. First of all, it totally pisses off their base. As much as anything, it was the Republican lies about Obamacare that helped them mobilize their most rabid supporters to their successes in the 2010 mid-term elections. These are the people who have swallowed the line about Obamacare being the end of America as we know it and believe that compromise is actually a 4-letter word. They will see this move as nothing short of treason.

Secondly, it puts them in exactly the same position President Obama was in 3 years do you pay for these kinds of reforms (especially the one about covering pre-existing conditions)? The only answer other than truly "socialized medicine" is the individual mandate.

What President Obama will have done is to box the Republicans in. He took their one and only solution to our health care crisis - the individual mandate - and incorporated it in with other popular reforms. Of course they wanted to make this his "Waterloo," so they opposed it, lied about it, and scared the beejeebers out of the American people about it.

Now, if their dog catches that car, they'll have only a couple of options left. Drop the popular parts of the bill and go back to the status quo or lie their butts off about some half-assed alternative. I don't know about you, but I'd bet on the latter.

The other brilliant thing the Obama administration did was to push up the timing of the Supreme Court decision so that, if its declared unconstitutional, all of this discussion will happen during an election season. That means that American voters will actually be paying attention when these lies are called out.

My hope still remains with the Supreme Court deciding this law is constitutional. Regardless of the political fallout - that remains the best option for those millions of people who have already been affected by it.

But should the Court decide otherwise, the issue of health care reform goes right back to the top of the agenda for this election. That would put the Republicans and their nominee - Mr. Massachusetts Mandate -  in a very uncomfortable position.


  1. You can catch a liar quicker than a thief.

  2. Sadly, the ones who vote Republican (and 99% of them can never really join the group they think they belong to,) actually like to be lied to. They enjoy soothing, hate-soaked lies, no matter how transparent.

    Cheery today, I ain't.