If health insurance isn’t important, why would receiving a letter telling you that you need to change your plan be a tragedy that can get you on Fox News nearly immediately?
Republicans have seized on the millions cancelations of current plans happening as a result of the Affordable Care Act remaking the individual insurance market, which currently offers the worst customer satisfaction of any type of health coverage.
By glorifying these “horror” stories, which have often turned out to be overinflated at worst and actual Affordable Care Act (ACA) success stories at best, Republicans are sending a clear message to Americans: We must defend the sanctity of health insurance.
This powerful theme is extremely opportune, as long as cancelation notices are contradicting a promise the president made, Healthcare.gov is flagging and the ACA’s paid enrollment numbers are low. However, it becomes much more complicated as the site starts working and 2014 begins with millions of people enjoying health care coverage and subsidies that the GOP would be voting to take away.
This would effectively doom the “repeal” strategy Republicans have fixated on for years, argues Salon’s Brian Beutler:
Obamacare is driving policy cancelations right now, but it at least creates a coverage guarantee for those affected. Repeal without replace would impose a greater burden without providing any counterweight.
If they pass the Keep Your Health Plan Act this week, House Republicans will see their stylized sympathy for people whose policies have been canceled come into tension with their explicit desire to take Obamacare benefits away from many of the same people, and millions more.
Becoming the party that opposes all cancelations of insurance policies also completely undermines any Republican “plan” that might be an alternative to the ACA. “Such a starting position would make true market-oriented reform impossible,” explains The Washington Examiner‘s Philip Klein.
John McCain’s health care plan, one part of his platform conservatives love, would have ended health care tax exemptions for employers and employees. This would have likely resulted in millions and millions of Americans ending up in new plans. The Republican Study Committee has offered a “serious” Obamacare alternative that would try to end the system of employer-based health care, disrupting the current health care system far more than the ACA does.