Dan Holler

The big headline from USA Today says it all: Democrats beginning to support Obamacare delays.

Of course, what the article does not say is that a delay of Obamacare is exactly what conservatives have been demanding for months. The intrepid reporter also forgot to mention President Obama’s refusal to discuss even a miniscule delay caused parts of the federal government to shut down.

The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel proclaimed this week “a turning point” because “After 16 long days of vowing to Republicans that they would not cave in any way, shape or form on ObamaCare, Democrats spent their first post-shutdown week caving in every way, shape and form. “

That may be a bit of an overstatement, as most of these red-state Democrats are merely advocating a tweak that does absolutely nothing to prevent premiums from skyrocketing for those who already have insurance.

The Heritage Foundation’s Drew Gonshorowski crunched the numbers, and buying health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges is an expensive proposition. A 27-year old adult in Arkansas will see premiums increase by 171-percent. In Louisiana, it is 106-percent. North Carolina comes in at 90-percent. Adults over 50 fare slightly better, as do families – though higher premiums will still results in thousands of dollars in extra expenses per year.

Back to the politics and pundit spin.

Strassel continued: “With the GOP's antics now over, the only story now is the unrivaled disaster that is the president's health-care law.” The suggestion here is that the month’s long campaign to halt Obamacare before the disastrous open enrollment period began was nothing more than a political sideshow. Nonsense.

The defund campaign sparked a political dialogue that swept through the nation. In August, Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) said, “We hear it in our town halls, we hear it in our one-on-one meetings with constituents. We hear it when we’re at county fairs or events we’ve attended during the August recess, of which there are many.” The “message all over the country,” Lummis said, was that Obamacare was the number one issue. As part of that, concept of delaying Obamacare (properly done by defunding the entire law) was front-and-center in our political discourse.

Even National Public Radio (NPR) inadvertently acknowledged Obamacare was in the spotlight during the partial government shutdown. Host Audie Cornish said, “just after Republicans failed in their efforts to defund or delay the health care law through budget fights, the program's right back in the spotlight.”

“…right back in the spotlight.” That is to say, it was previously in the spotlight.

Say what you will about the effort mounted by conservatives stop this incredibly unaffordable and unfair law, but it is undeniable the debate focused the nation’s attention. And in many ways, it prepared our nation for the coming collapse of Obamacare and the notion this law is not sacrosanct.

So while these red-state Democrats are not yet clamoring for a real delay of the law, they are becoming increasingly comfortable with the very rhetoric used by “anarchists,” “hostage takers” and “nihilists.”

Victor Davis Hanson predicted, “If the rollout of Obamacare gets any more incoherent, soon Barack Obama may be echoing the same concerns of Ted Cruz and the former naysayers in his willingness to suspend or delay his own signature legislation.”

As the very real problems with Obamacare – problems that extend well beyond a dysfunctional website – continue to emerge, there will be little pro-Obamacare lawmakers can do to escape the blame. In 372 days, no voter will remember last week’s rhetorical handwringing; instead, they will remember multiple votes they have taken to defend an unworkable law that is destroying the family budget.


Dan Holler

Dan Holler is the Communications Director for Heritage Action for America. Previously, he held numerous positions at The Heritage Foundation, most recently he was the Senate Relations Deputy. A Maryland native, he is a graduate of Washington College.