Congressional Republicans have passed a budget, raised the debt limit and punted on immigration reform with one goal in mind. They want to make the 2014 midterm elections about Obamacare.
The party seems to be so confident of this strategy that it doesn’t appear to have any “Plan B,” as The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent continually points out.
While going all-in on the Affordable Care Act makes sense inside the right-wing mindset, where the law is one Fox News interview from disappearing to wherever Mitt Romney was supposed to go, seniors — America’s most reliable voters — may end up leading a backlash against a post-government-shutdown Republican Party that is even less popular now than when George W. Bush left office.
Undoubtably, the poll numbers for the president’s health law remain low months after HealthCare.gov’s bungled rollout — even though it has helped lead the country to the lowest uninsured rate in five years.
But since the 2010 election, after which real, live Americans began gaining health insurance coverage due to the Affordable Care Act, has there been even one election that has been swayed by Obamacare?
Having been the godfather of the law didn’t cost Mitt Romney the 2012 GOP primary. Having signed the bill into law didn’t cost President Obama his re-election. It didn’t stop Democrats from picking up seats in the Senate and the House. Since 2012, Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) was re-elected after accepting Medicaid expansion and Terry McAuliffe won Virginia’s governorship with a jobs plan centered upon expanding Medicaid.
In Florida, Democrat Alex Sink narrowly leads Republican David Jolly in a special election to replace Rep. Bill Young (R-FL), who passed away late last year. As Jolly attacks Sink on Obamacare, Sink defends the most popular part of the law — the ban on insurers considering pre-existing conditions — and attacks Jolly on Medicare.
Republicans exploited seniors’ fears of Medicare cuts in 2010 — then voted for the same cuts when they took the House. They also went a step further by proposing a plan to radically remake the single-payer system that provides health coverage to every American 65 or older.
Jolly, a lobbyist, has never officially endorsed or voted for the plan created by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to turn Medicare into a voucher system. However, nearly every sitting Republican member of the House — including the likely GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate in Arkansas Rep. Tom Cotton — has.