The president claimed the cancellations are nothing more than insurance companies offering people the option to get on “better” plans. But “better” in this linguistic contortion doesn’t mean better, it means “more expensive,” “not what you need,” or “unattainable.” This is why Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who is facing re-election next year, is writing a bill that will allow Americans to do what President Obama promised: keep their health care plans. Likewise, there is a bipartisan push to delay the individual insurance mandate for one year so as to not penalize people left without insurance as a result of HHS’ incompetence.
After failing to abolish the ACA through legislative or legal means, Republicans have been given an opening. Blessed with such an opportunity, what is the proper GOP response?
First, until Election Day next November, the GOP must stress the non-political element of this story, rank incompetence. Regardless of how voters feel about politics, everyone understands incompetence, and no one votes for it. Nor do voters have patience for a president who increasingly appears to be a hapless bystander of his own bad policies. Leading from behind has apparently found its way into domestic policy.
Voters need to be reminded that the Obama administration had three years to construct the exchanges and the website portal. To accomplish this, the administration chose a Canadian company, CGI, which had a track record of large scale tech failures in Canada. The only explanation for this seems to be the fact that one of CGI’s heads is a former classmate of Michelle Obama. Competence was evidently not a requirement for getting the no-bid contract. It should be for getting elected.
Second, the GOP must focus on how the bill hurts ordinary Americans. Obamacare restricts their ability to choose their own health plan, leaving them paying more money for worse coverage they didn’t choose and don’t need.
Finally, the GOP must adopt the Hippocratic Oath as its own: do no harm. Get out of the way and let Obamacare and the second Obama term self-destruct. In practice, this means avoiding intra-party spats and focusing on points of agreement. For instance, not a single Republican voted for Obamacare; voters should be reminded of this constantly. Further, the party of healthcare.gov simply cannot be trusted to “reform” anything, including the immigration system.
Sometimes the only way to overcome an infection is to let it “run its course.” The choice facing the GOP is the same. The ACA will continue its path of destruction as its implementation progresses. The GOP gains nothing by futile obstruction of the inevitable. In the aftermath of the wreckage, voters will demand an alternative. Does the GOP have one?