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Republicans see 'Obamacare' issues as key to 2014

By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 07:45 a.m. HST, May 27, 2013

WASHINGTON » If Republicans were writing a movie script for next year's congressional elections, the working title might be "2014: Apocalypse of Obamacare."

The plot: The rollout of President Barack Obama's health care law turns into such a disaster that enraged voters rebuke him by rewarding the GOP with undisputed control of Congress.

But there's a risk for Republicans if they're wrong and the Affordable Care Act works reasonably well, particularly in states that have embraced it. Republicans might be seen as obstinately standing in the way of progress.

The law already has been a political prop in two election seasons, but next year will be different.

Voters will have a real program to judge, working or dysfunctional. Will affordable health care finally be a reality for millions of uninsured working people? Or will premiums skyrocket as the heavy hand of government upends already fragile insurance markets for small businesses and individuals?

"The end of this movie has not been written," said Robert Blendon, a Harvard professor who tracks public opinion on health care. He says next year's movie actually will be a documentary: what happens in states that fully put the law in place and those that resist — "a message of reality."

One of the most prominent doomsayers is Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who predicts "Obamacare" probably will be the biggest issue of 2014 and "an albatross around the neck of every Democrat who voted for it."

"This thing can't possibly work," says McConnell. "It will be a huge disaster in 2014."

Counting on that, House Republicans are busy framing an election narrative, voting to repeal the health law and trying to link it to the scandal over the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of tea party groups. It could help excite the conservative base.

But Democratic pollster Celinda Lake doubts reality will follow the GOP script. Next year, "we won't have to worry about the mythology laid out by the right wing about Obamacare: death panels and dramatic cuts to Medicare," she said.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said uninsured people in her state will have over 200 coverage options to choose from. "We have been hearing the fear, but in states like mine, people are seeing the reality," she said.

In just about five months, people without access to coverage through their jobs can start shopping for subsidized private insurance in new state markets. The actual benefits begin Jan. 1. But because of continuing opposition to the law from many Republican governors and state legislators, the federal government will be running the insurance markets in more than half the states.

Another major element of the law, the expansion of Medicaid to serve more low-income people, also has run into problems. With many legislative sessions over or winding down, it looks like fewer than half the states may accept the expansion. That means millions of low-income people are likely to remain uninsured, at least initially.

Other early indicators of how well the health care rollout might fare are mixed.

In a dozen or so states that have started releasing details of their new insurance markets, there's robust insurer interest in participating, according to the market research firm Avalere Health. That's a good signal for competition.

There still are concerns about a spike in premiums for people who already buy their own coverage, particularly the young and healthy. That could happen for several reasons.

The health care law forbids insurers to deny coverage to sick people, and it limits what older adults can be charged. Also, the plans that will be offered next year are more comprehensive than many bare-bones policies currently available to individuals.

Another big source of angst is the Obama administration. The Health and Human Services Department will be running the program in half the country while trying to fight off attempts by congressional Republicans to starve it financially. Unusual for a social program, the administration is largely operating behind a veil of secrecy.

Will Obama's underlings turn out to be the Keystone Kops of health care?

Frustration that he and his constituents couldn't get basic information from the administration led one of the authors of the law, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., to warn recently that he sees "a huge train wreck coming down."

Republicans loved it. Lost in the uproar was the fact that Baucus was referring to potential problems with implementation. He stills thinks the health care law itself is a good thing.

The administration official running the rollout, Gary Cohen, told Congress this past that he didn't agree with the senator's statement. "We are very much on schedule," Cohen said.

Republican pollster Bill McInturff says he's skeptical of what he hears from the administration as well as from his own party. McInturff, who has made polling on health care his specialty, says the launch of any national program is bound to have problems. President George W. Bush's Medicare prescription benefit went through several weeks of chaos before things got smoothed out.

"Life experience says to me there is not going to be some simple, clear narrative that is sitting here today," McInturff said.

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OldDiver wrote:
The only debacle will be to the Republicans as they continue to attack Obamacare.
on May 26,2013 | 10:30PM
64hoo wrote:
everybody will attack obamacare. lets look at page 50 line 152 healthcare will be provided to all non u.s. citizens illegal or otherwise. also page 170 lines 1 2 3 all non resident aliens is exempt from individual tax. you and I will pay for them. and Obama cannot makes changes by taking a lot stuff out of the healthcare bill because then if people go to the supreme court the supreme court can overturn obamacare because its a tax raising issue as they ruled. so they can't make changes. if you want to know more. google in healthcare bill hr3200 key-points you will not like what you see on the obamacare.
on May 26,2013 | 11:04PM
eoe wrote:
I love this. Just making stuff up.
on May 27,2013 | 06:52AM
pcman wrote:
IRT eoe on making things up. Here's one that was made up by the Secretary of Veteran's Affairs, Gen Eric Shinseki. In 2008 there was a backlog of 160,000 vets awaiting medical care. Today, there is a backlog of over 640,000 vets that are backlogged for medical care. Guess what? Vet Affairs is not on a high priority for this administration because there belief is that most vets are Repubs. No one wants to admit that there is a serious stress on medical care and doctors, mainly because of Obamacare. Proof is the first one to disagree.
on May 27,2013 | 11:18AM
eoe wrote:
I love it - when caught lying, change the subject.
on May 27,2013 | 11:19AM
64hoo wrote:
go watch the film its not making things up or are you scared of the truth those are key points on the 3000page obamacare bill,.you are in denial
on May 27,2013 | 03:19PM
eoe wrote:
on May 27,2013 | 08:50AM
peanutgallery wrote:
Obamacare won't be the only nail. Benghazi, IRS, or the AG's office scandal. They all point to how incredibly naive liberal loons were to have elected this guy in the first place.
on May 27,2013 | 04:39AM
tiki886 wrote:
Ripped from the headlines: "IRS Employees Union: Keep Us Out Of Exchanges" The National Treasury Employees Union, NTEU, which represents the IRS employees who harassed and delayed tea party and conservative groups, has come out against the proposal to put federal workers into exchange-based health insurance.

In other words, the IRS, the enforcement arm of ObamaCare wants an exemption from ObamaCare!!!!

on May 27,2013 | 06:05AM
tiki886 wrote:
Labor unions that pushed Obamacare through want out

Socialized medicine: good enough for us, but not them

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/feb/17/clancy-labor-unions-pushed-obamacare-through-want-/#ixzz2UVgoYDbZ

Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

on May 27,2013 | 06:14AM
tiki886 wrote:
on May 27,2013 | 06:41AM
lynnh wrote:
I will say this OldDiver, but you won't do it. And don't even try to tell me you have. READ THE HEALTH CARE LAW! Actually, with you it would not matter if you read it or not, because it is clear that your IQ is in the negative. How much are you paid to attack anyone who is not extremely left? You have o credibility at all in these forums, so why don't crawl back under whatever pile of @#$% you came from and shut the heII up.
on May 27,2013 | 08:49AM
Manoa2 wrote:
In order for the Republican strategy to work, they need to have their own new solution. Obamacare before it got renamed was and still is the Republican solution for many-- it was Romney's idea copied from conservative think tanks, now copied by Obama-- he is not a real original thinker. Republicans got congress to amend the law to provide for private insurance everybody has to buy-- that was their idea and pushed by conservatives. But like so many things in congress, once their idea was adopted by Obama, they turned against it. Another example, is after key Republicans sought to cut or limit medicare, Obama said the same thing-- suddenly it became something the Republicans were against.
on May 27,2013 | 10:07AM
palani wrote:
Nice try at diversion from the true threats to continued "Democratic" tyranny: (1) Benghazi, (2) IRS, (3) AP/First Amendment violations.
on May 27,2013 | 05:23AM
eoe wrote:
I feel like a broken record, but please do not use the word tyranny. Especially on memorial day, we might want to remember the true victims of tyranny - the people of the Soviet Union, Jews in WWII, the Cambodians under the Khmer Rouge. It is disrespectful in the extreme to equate garden variety politics with tyranny, and if you sincerely can't tell the difference, I would request that either you stop posting until you get an education, or consider mental health treatment. Call it bad government. Call it incompetence. But do not call it tyranny because on a scale of 0 to 100 the tyranny level in this country is pegged at probably .0002.
on May 27,2013 | 06:59AM
Pacej001 wrote:
Sad, really, the left's capacity for denial. For this person, using the IRS to suppress free speech and influence an election, or a President lying to the public for political purposes (Benghazi), or the suppression of press freedom amounts to "garden variety politics". Nixon would have been impeached for less and, yet, when our political hero (or those in his administration) commit these acts it's "just politics", let's move on. It takes a massive, willful failure of imagination to not be able to see the corrosive effects of this form of government "tyranny". ----------- And this prevarication about the definition of the word "tyranny". Merriam-Webster: 1. oppressive power ; especially : oppressive power exerted by government 2. a : a government in which absolute power is vested in a single ruler; especially : one characteristic of an ancient Greek city-stateb : the office, authority, and administration of a tyrant 3: a rigorous condition imposed by some outside agency or force 4: an oppressive, harsh, or unjust act : a tyrannical act
on May 27,2013 | 07:36AM
eoe wrote:
Please get back to me after the next election.
on May 27,2013 | 08:33AM
Pacej001 wrote:
Happy to because the "grarden variety" politics you describe have handed the Republicans three major scandals which, along with the messy implementation of Obamacare, will all but guarantee that the GOP will retain control of the house and possibly gain senate seats.
on May 27,2013 | 08:41AM
eoe wrote:
Exactly. But that doesn't sound like tyranny to me, that sounds like democracy.
on May 27,2013 | 08:46AM
Pacej001 wrote:
Democracy?! Using the IRS to win an election by shutting up the opposition is more fascists than democratic.
on May 27,2013 | 02:51PM
peanutgallery wrote:
Tyranny is exactly what it is. EOE, you're a Kool-Aid drinker. You elected a guy who had absolutely no experience, or leadership capabilities. If that wasn't enough, you re-elected this fool. Obamacare is administered by the very agency, the IRS, that is squarely in the middle of one of the most outrageous scandals in recent history. It surely makes the charges of death-panels a reality, and if you don't find that tyrannical, go find a 12 step.
on May 27,2013 | 07:48AM
eoe wrote:
The fact that you have to string together such tenuous garbage and call it tyranny tells me there is no tyranny. Please go grill a steak and enjoy the sunny day, the lack of checkpoints on your street, the fact that you can live where you want, associate with who you want, write what you want, you don't require permission to travel to the next town, the fact that your neighbor is not part of a vast apparatus informing on you, that you have all your toenails and fingernails, and that your mother is not crying herself to sleep every night because you have disappeared into a secret prison system.
on May 27,2013 | 08:39AM
hybrid1 wrote:
You must be referring to the criminal GWBush who forced the U.S. into the reckless, unwarranted $1.3 Trillion Iraq War where 3,000 U.S soldiers died. GWBush caused the greatest depression in history by enriching the rich and making the middle class poorer: Bush asked for “shared sacrifice in income taxes.” But when he did the asking, he spared billionaires like Buffet and all the mega-rich friends who were left untouched. ........... While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, the mega-rich continue to get their extraordinary tax breaks. Some of them are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors. Obama should have a special prosecutor to investigate Bush, Cheny and the republican leaders.
on May 27,2013 | 08:48AM
Kuniarr wrote:
hybrid1 if you take of your thick GWBush glasses, you can not help but notice that there are virtually not a single high paying job in consumer product manufacturing exists anymore .

The millions and millions of these high paying jobs have moved to China. And do you even know who is responsible for that? No, it is not GWBush but the US-China Trade Agreement that Bill Clinton entered into with China in 1999.

That is why most jobs available today are low paying jobs in Retail and Sales.

But the vanishing of manufacturing jobs is not only the harm Bill Clinton did to the US but also the flight of US factories to China caused China to acquire US technology, technological and manufacturing know-how for its military.
on May 27,2013 | 12:08PM
pcman wrote:
IRT eoe on tyranny. Tyranny is government-forced actions on its people. Obamacare fits the definition. When the majority of the people object to something like Obamacare it is tyrannical to impose it on the majority. Not only being undemocratic, but it was imposed as a tax by the judiciary (Supreme Court) and that by itself in unconstitutional, in my mind. Does the judiciary have taxing ability? I though only Congress can tax. Obamacare should be repealed.
on May 27,2013 | 08:34AM
eoe wrote:
Only by redefining and completely watering down the meaning of tyranny does Obamacare become tyranny. Is it coercive government policy? You bet. Just like the military draft, income taxes, the .08 alcohol laws, and a litany of other federal rules and regulations.
on May 27,2013 | 08:43AM
Pacej001 wrote:
I gave you the Merriam-Webster definition of the word. It broadly applies to lawless, strong arm tactics by a government against its citizens. The things you list above are done WITH THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED. The latest offenses by the Obama administration are the opposite.
on May 27,2013 | 02:54PM
Kalli wrote:
Medicare will be cut $700 Billion and that is done by reducing payment amounts to doctors. What Dr. in their right mind will accept a reduced medicare amount when it is all ready the lowest paying program? This is not a political battle this is a battle for the health care of all citizens. Obamacare does nothing to reduce costs, nothing to reduce lawsuits from greedy lawyers, nothing to reduce premiums, it actually raises premiums.
on May 27,2013 | 05:30AM
hybrid1 wrote:
Medicare cost will be reduced by $700 Billion due to the elimination of fraud by many doctors who order duplicate services. Information Technology use will be mandatory to eliminate the fraud and inefficiency of the system. Many doctors will retire early because they refuse to accept the use of technology reporting of all cases because of cost or that they lack the ability to implement the technological system mandated by Obama Care.
on May 27,2013 | 08:55AM
Pacej001 wrote:
CBO now estimates that Obamacare will now cost $6trillion more than estimated (longterm costs). Rather than the planned $1billion for implementation, the cost estimate is now $5 billion.
on May 27,2013 | 02:56PM
LanaUlulani wrote:

ObamaCare ObamaTax should be repealed immediately irrelevant of political affiliation. It is BAD medicine epitomized by its birth CONTROL mandate but it does NOT cover infertility treatment for women both gays and straights!

For example those women in Virginia and Washington state are EXCLUDED.

Reproductive RIGHTS for ALL WOMEN! Not just those who want birth CONTROL pills! Repeal ObamaCare ObamaTax NOW before it's too late !

on May 27,2013 | 06:21AM
honupono wrote:
Republicans will not beat Hilary. The crazies of the right will be its own downfall.
on May 27,2013 | 06:51AM
peanutgallery wrote:
Anyone who thinks Hillary should be allowed anywhere near a political office again needs to seek medical attention.
on May 27,2013 | 07:49AM
Kuniarr wrote:
Benghazi is Hilary's "Waterloo".
on May 27,2013 | 12:11PM
Maipono wrote:
You know a law is shibai when it was passed it's proponents said, "you have to pass it, to see what's in it..." Onerous and just plain sneaky, when at first the proponents first deny it is a tax, then when they needed it to pass the Supreme Court, they call it a tax. Obamacare is a huge tax on the middle class that Obama has denied repeatedly . When Americans wake up and see how much of a deception this whole thing is, they will be mad, very mad. That's all this is all about.
on May 27,2013 | 07:00AM
boshio wrote:
Obamacare will benefit all of us and the GOP knows this. The real problem they are having is that it was Obama's idea and not theirs. We all know the true benefits of Obamacare and congress should work together to" make it work", regardless of whose idea this is. They will sure to lose in 2014 if they keep this up.
on May 27,2013 | 07:22AM
Pacej001 wrote:
"Obamacare will benefit all of us". I don't think the facts support that statement. 1. Obamacare will not drive medical costs down. Many insurance companies are warning of much higher rates. 2. Many self-employed people will no longer be able to afford medical insurance. 3. The CBO now estimates the law will add $6trillion to our unfunded national liabilities. 4. Many employers are reducing work hours to avoid mandates under the law. 5. Obamacare discourages new hiring. 6. The implementation of the law is looking like a "train wreck" (democrat Senator Baucus) because of poor planning by the administration.--------- This thing is going to be a destructive mess. The only question is how big of a mess.
on May 27,2013 | 08:09AM
pcman wrote:
IRT boshio on Obamacare. For the 50% on the people who pay federal taxes, the tax has already been increased to pay for Obamacare. For those who already had health care, the cost has already gone up 15-40% over the past 2 years after Pres Obama said everyone would see their health costs go down $2500 a year. Without Obamacare 30 million people did not have health care, Now with Obamacare, there will be more uninsured because businesses can't afford it for their employees, unions can't afford it and independent contractors can't afford it. Even retired military over age 65 have to pay for their own insurance by 400% or higher. Medicare is already denying operations, treatment, and prescription based on a board's rules rather than between doctor and patient. What's going on? Medical care in the US is becoming a nightmare!
on May 27,2013 | 09:18AM
busterb wrote:
Headline 2008: Republicans see Obamacare as key issues to 2008. Headline 2009: Republicans see Obamacare as key issues to 2009. Headline 2010: Republicans see Obamacare as key issues to 2010. Headline 2011: Republicans see Obamacare as key issues to 2011. Headline 2012: Republicans see Obamacare as key issues to 2012. Headline 2013: Republicans see Obamacare as key issues to 2013. I can't wait to see what they will pick as a key issue in 2015! Boehner is worse then a one trick pony. He doesn't even pull off the one trick!
on May 27,2013 | 08:28AM
lynnh wrote:
This is the problem with you liberal supporters.... you don't read or comprehend what you read. If you did, you would know that 64hoo is not making things up. What his stated is in there, not word for word, and in a very "intentionally" confusing way, but it is in there. So just keep on following blindly along... nothing will ever sink in.
on May 27,2013 | 08:42AM
eoe wrote:
on May 27,2013 | 08:50AM
HD36 wrote:
It'll be alot cheaper to pay tne IRS fine than buy Obamacare. When you need medical care they can't deny you under Obamacare.
on May 27,2013 | 10:18AM
WKAMA wrote:
Who's going to pay for the medical care for those who rather pay the fine?
on May 27,2013 | 10:50AM
entrkn wrote:
The Republicans see a light at the end of the tunnel, but it is a freight train named Republican Sequester... they are doomed.
on May 27,2013 | 11:17AM
CEI wrote:
Health care, another leg of the smarter than everybody else progressive stool. Next comes the 2nd amendment, followed by amnesty for illegals, followed by higher taxes. I Don't know about the rest of you but I can't wait to pay higher taxes in return for the gov't providing more services. Little Barry the 44th white president of the US. Somehow doesn't sound as lofty as the 1st black president but both are equally true. I sure hope Barry's folks can't track me. I might be next on the IRS hit list.
on May 27,2013 | 11:48AM
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