CROSS: GOP leadership is on a suicide mission

Republicans are now focused on fixing Obamacare rather than repealing it.

From In shift, GOP wants ObamaCare fix | TheHill

Republicans have shifted their strategy on ObamaCare. Weeks ago, many Republicans — including Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) — said ObamaCare was too broken to fix. But now, the GOP is drafting legislation that aims to do just that. The GOP wants to rebuild its political capital and public credibility by solving ObamaCare’s implementation problems. This pivot comes after Republicans took major hits in polls following the government shutdown. The House this week will vote on a measure called the Keep Your Health Plan Act. It aims to do what the president promised years ago: If you like your healthcare plan, you can stay on it. Senate Republicans, meanwhile, are pushing for a vote in their chamber. That measure has already attracted Democratic support.

Due to the insurance market and ObamaCare mandates, millions have recently lost their healthcare coverage. Many of these dropped people will obtain coverage through the new ObamaCare health exchanges, but some, if not most, will pay higher premiums. After their costly political strategy to defund ObamaCare, GOP lawmakers are more willing to support measures that will repair the president’s signature healthcare law, political science Professor Jack Pitney said. “Republicans took a look at the polls. They finally realized that defunding ObamaCare was unpopular, but a measure like this [is] very popular. They realized that, despite all the brave talk, that the shutdown did not work to their advantage, and now they are trying to get on the right side of public opinion,” he said.

[…]

Some Republicans believe that with full enactment of the law — and the inability to defund it — the party won’t be hurt politically with attempting to solve the problems arising from ObamaCare. “Before [ObamaCare] went into effect, the only goal is to stop it; now the goal is still stop it, but I don’t want to treat people harshly,” Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) explained. The House legislation that is scheduled for a vote this week is sponsored by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.). More than 100 Republican lawmakers have already endorsed it.

Of course, what they don’t understand is that they are playing right into the Democrats’ hands – the Democrats election strategy is to admit that ObamaCare has flaws, promise to repair them and argue that Republicans will only make things worse. (See link I will post in first comment). Once the public sees that both Republicans and Democrats accept Obamacare, acknowledge its flaws and seek to fix it, there will be no compelling difference between the parties this November and no reason to vote for Republicans over Democrats. And worse: Democrats will always club Republicans by saying or implying that Republicans’ secret desire is to repeal Obamacare, whereas the Democrats want to “protect” it and “reform” it.

The GOP leadership is on a suicide mission. — Ed Mazlish