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Hullabaloo


Friday, September 13, 2013

 
Republicans still in a vise over Obamacare

by David Atkins

Greg Sargent has a good catch today.

If you want to get a sense of the hardships the coming battle over Obamacare implementation could present for Republicans, check out this compelling local newscast out of Virginia that was flagged for me by a Democrat.

It reports that at least 200,000 Virginia residents could be in danger of falling into the “Medicaid gap,” i.e., they are too poor to qualify for the law’s subsidies, but also will not enjoy the benefits of the law because Virginia has opted out of the Medicaid expansion:



What you see here is another way in which we may be heading into new political territory in the battle over Obamacare, now that its benefits are set to kick in this fall. The media and political discussion is heavily focused on the problems implementation may bring. There’s no denying that there will likely be glitches. Those are likely to be hyped in the press — egged on by Obamacare foes — into proof that the law is a uniform disaster. But as more and more people have their own concrete experience of the law and its benefits, the Republican arguments about it could get harder to make...

The bottom line is that as the law kicks in, for many people, this will no longer be an abstract political debate that can be easily manipulated by lies and distortions. The debate over the Obamacare long depicted as a Kenyan Muslim Marxist plot to destroy American freedom will now be vying with the debate over the various ways the law expands coverage to real people while protecting living, breathing consumers and people with preexisting conditions.

Whatever the political difficulties Dems face — and there will be difficulties, to be sure — Republicans will also face formidable political challenges as Obamacare rolls out. Republican officials who are trying to sabotage the law will no longer be able to scream about death panels and jackbooted IRS thugs looking to turn ordinary Americans into Obamacare slaves. They’ll now be in the position of standing in the way of increased access to health coverage for their own constituents.
The media may not do a great job clarifying that intransigent Republicans in states they control are responsible for the "failure" of Obamacare, but one can be sure that no matter how clearly the media present the facts of the case, Democrats running against them in the next elections will make the fault line very clear.

Moreover, the differences between states where the program is working and the states where it isn't are going to be become increasingly apparent not just in the press, but also by word of mouth among friends, relatives and colleagues from one state to the next.

Obamacare isn't perfect by a long shot. It's a Heritage foundation plan first put into place by Mitt Romney. But even so, it is a step in the right direction that will benefit most people's lives directly, and Republicans will rue the day they called it "Obamacare" and called it the end of the civilized world.


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