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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Republicans hardly ever admit defeat, but that doesn’t mean they are always victorious. In their fight against the Affordable Care Act, they are losing and silently retreating.

The right has waged war on President Barack Obama’s health care legislation since well before the reform even took effect. And following the troubled launch in October, the GOP appeared confident that it had won.

In more recent months, however, increased enrollments and reduced numbers of uninsured Americans across the country have signaled a turning point in the fight over covering the uninsured.

As a new CNN/ORC International Survey poll released Sunday finds, even as the public maintains an unfavorable view of Obamacare’s success, an overwhelming 61 percent say they do not want the law repealed. And while 49 percent of those who say they want to keep it admit they would like to see some changes, 51 percent of Americans surveyed believe that the “current problems facing the health care law” will eventually be solved.

The White House shares Americans’ optimism that the law will eventually run more smoothly, touting the 8 million Obamacare enrollments by the end of April. Additionally, recent data released by several insurers finds that most newly insured Americans are, indeed, paying their premiums.

An obvious marker of this progress is, as The Hill notes, the House’s legislative schedule for the coming weeks. According to The Hill, House Republicans have not scheduled a single vote or hearing on Obamacare and not one House Committee has announced plans to continue attacking the law through hearings.

That’s not to say that Obamacare has suddenly found a new ally in the GOP. Republicans will certainly continue their assault ahead of the 2014 midterm elections. But the political barbs are becoming less frequent and less aggressive. Not that the GOP wants to admit it.

“There is absolutely zero evidence that any Republican is talking about Obamacare less,” National Republican Senatorial Committee spokeswoman Brook Hougesen told The Hill.

But the legislative shift makes it hard to deny that conservatives have been increasingly and uncharacteristically mum on the issue. It could be that the GOP has not stopped focusing on Obamacare, but merely has moved on to other issues. Or it could be that Republicans are, as Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Justin Barasky puts it, “beginning to abandon their failed strategy of wasting millions attacking Democrats on Obamacare.”

But fear not: Republican politicos still have plenty of talking points for the rest of 2014. Their current favorite “scandal” — Benghazi — will take over from here.

AFP Photo/Robyn Beck

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Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • John Pigg

    The public is still views the ACA quite unfavorably. But the GOP has not been able to propose a different solution because the ACA is essentially the Republican plan.

    A better question is how the Democratic Party will work to fix some of the large and systemic issues related to the ACA.

    • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

      Ironically, when you break down all the individual components of the ACA, the public loves it!

      • Bill Thompson

        Your statement is true unfortunately the deductible issue needs to be fixed. When serious issues arise the ACA turns into little more than catastrophic Insurance coverage. While better than nothing it can still saddle people with 12 or $13,000 in medical bills in one year.

        • JPHALL

          Compare that with the costs most policies, bought by individuals, left people open to.

      • John Pigg

        I would concede that there are some individual components that are attractive to certain demographics. But the ACA as a whole does not fundamentally change the largest healthcare complaint. And the primary complain/problem is one of cost.

        The Democratic Party and its supporters must begin to acknowledge the limitations and problems of the ACA if they want to run competitive elections in November.

        Voters are tired of hearing Republicans rail against Obamacare… but the public is still not sold on its viability.

    • Allan Richardson

      First there have to be enough SANE voters in the INSANE states to remove the obstructions.

  • howa4x

    The real issue for the GOP is the reality that the ACA is their plan, so it is difficult for them to come up with an alternative. Especially since certain parts of the plan are wildly popular like the prohibition to drop/deny coverage for pre existing conditions, removal of the 1 million cap, and keeping kids on the parents policy till 26. Republicans know they can’t change any of those provisions. They also know from Romney’s plan in Mass. that in order to keep those popular provisions of the law there has to be an insurance mandate, regardless of what the GOP promises. This known fact is that if you want the insurance companies to stay in control and be profitable, healthy people must buy insurance to counter the coverage costs of insuring sick people. This is economics 101. Where the GOP is soft on this issue is in the states that refuse to aid enrollment in the exchanges and refuse to expand Medicaid. So while lower end workers in blue states have coverage that same group in Red states don’t, resulting in 5 million uninsured. Recent studies have shown that out of that number at lest between 7 and 70k will die from lack of coverage. This puts the national GOP in a moral corner. How can they talk about the timidity of Obama not doing anything in Syria where 100K died, when by their own ideology could cause the deaths of 70k here. So the GOP can’t talk about repeal anymore since the only thing they could do is repackage the same plan. This is why only the stupid section(tea party) of the party is still adamant about repeal and the thinking part is silent.

    • jointerjohn

      Why on earth would they ever talk about, or care about poor people dying? They have already proven in the backward states that they don’t want them to have healthcare at all. Once you leave the womb you are completely on your own with those guys.

      • howa4x

        agreed a party of greedy mean spirited batards

  • Bud Friend

    A law of this magnitude will require change, some major and many minor changes. It is a fifteen to twenty year project. The longer it’s political the longer it will take to get it where t will benefit most people.

    The law is good because it is the law. It will be changed. Even if ever repealed, healthcare in ou country will be much better for all of us.

    Have some patience.

  • exdemo55

    With April 15 behind us, North Carolina taxpayers can look forward to a new era, because 2013 will be the final year of the state’s “progressive” income tax.

    Good riddance! For not only does research and sound economic theory demonstrate that progressive income taxes harm economic growth, but justifications of such a tax on “social justice” grounds are easily demonstrated to be without merit.

    A progressive income tax features rates that rise as one’s income rises. The more money you make, the less of it you are allowed to keep.

    Leftists are enamored with a progressive income tax, and as such mounted furious — but insufficient — opposition last year to tax reform that transitioned North Carolina to a flat income tax beginning with this year’s income.

    The progressive income tax is more “fair” because it is based on the taxpayer’s “ability to pay,” or so liberals argue. That is, those that earn the most income not only pay more in taxes in total dollars, but pay a higher share of their income in taxes. “The rich should pay more because they can afford it,” goes the argument. The ability-to-pay rationale has been elevated as unquestioned dogma in the realm of taxation justice.

    But the ability-to-pay doctrine falls short of providing a logical justification for progressive tax rates, for multiple reasons.

    Economist Murray Rothbard expertly laid out these reasons in his 1970 book “Power and Market: Government and the Economy.” For starters, the ability-to-pay doctrine fails to take into account an individual’s accumulated wealth — a factor that clearly affects a person’s ability to pay taxes. “A man earning $5,000 during a certain year probably has more ability to pay than a neighbor earning the same amount if [the first man] also has $50,000 in the bank while his neighbor has nothing.” Thus, using income alone as the metric to gauge one’s ability to pay becomes ambiguous and does not provide a sure guide on the concept. Moreover, an individual’s financial obligations such as medical bills and other debt obligations surely impair one’s ability to pay a hefty tax bill, but this is not taken into account on the liberal’s beloved progressive income tax schedule.

    Moreover, some apologists of the ability-to-pay doctrine defend it by comparing taxes paid to government with voluntary donations to charity. In private charity, they say, it is expected that people of greater means contribute a higher share of their resources than those with less. Comparing voluntary charity to tax payments to the government, however, is shameful.

    People get to choose which charities they support, and the amount of support each receives. If one believes a charity is no longer serving the community in a way that is appropriate, he can withdraw his support. The same is obviously not true of government. People cannot opt out of paying taxes. As Rothbard wrote: “Government is the very negation of charity, for charity is an unbought gift, a freely flowing uncoerced act by the giver.”

    Finally, the ability-to-pay doctrine fails because it harms society by more sharply penalizing the most productive. Those that prove most capable in serving the needs of their fellow man (at least in a free market economy) by efficiently creating goods and services that others value are those who will fall into the highest progressive income tax brackets. “Penalizing ability in production and service diminishes the supply of the service — and in proportion to the extent of that ability,” wrote Rothbard. The result will be greater impoverishment, felt most heavily by the low-skilled and low-income people who are always hardest hit by a stagnant economy.

    In spite of the protests from self-styled, left-wing advocates of “tax fairness,” the ability-to-pay principle fails to provide a logical coherent argument in favor of progressive income taxes. As Rothbard concluded, “Rather than being an evident rule of justice, the ‘ability to pay’ principle resembles more the highwayman’s principle of taking where the taking is good.”